Wednesday, August 31, 2016

My Rules of Writing by J.Q. Rose, Back to School

Are you a writer?

Welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog. It's Back to School time, so I decided to put on my writerly hat and get serious about talking writing. Well, as serious as I can be anyway. 

This summer I have been working on my memoir. (I love that word, memoir. It sounds so writerly and serious.) And to tell you the truth, enjoying it very much. 

The major rule in memoir writing is telling the truth. But what other rules do I follow as a writer? How do I write in order for my readers to have a satisfying experience in reading? Here are a few Rules I have discovered when I put pen to paper. I bet you can add some of your own to this list. Feel free to do so in the comments below. I'd love to know.

My Rules for Writing by J.Q. Rose

In no particular order of importance--

1. Grammar--To allow readers to enjoy the story or information I provide, grammar, also referred to as sentence structure, is important. Too long, too short, too rambling? I would also include spelling and punctuation as something that has to be correct for anyone to make sense of the sentence. (Maybe my background as a teacher influences my obsession for correct spelling and punctuation.)

2.  The story or article must make sense--If a reader is scratching her head trying to understand what I am writing, then I have broken this rule. The sentences must flow together to develop the idea, the setting, the characters, the plot in such a way that the reader can picture all of it without needing an interpreter to explain everything. This takes a lot of time and practice to accomplish.

Writing quote from Nathaniel Hawthorne
John Steinbeck makes this point about writing--“If there is magic in story writing, and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another. The formula seems to lie solely in the aching urge of the writer to convey something he feels important to the reader. If the writer has that urge, he may sometimes, but no means always, find the way to do it. You must perceive the excellence that makes a good story good or the errors that makes a bad story. For a bad story is only an ineffective story.”

3.  Just do it--The only way a story/article will be written is if the writer really wants to do it and sits down at the keyboard or writing pad and empties her heart and brain on the paper. Talking about the story or reading books on how to write does not reach your goal of having a finished piece of writing.  Even after starting the writing project and the author perceives it to be trash, at least there is something on the page to revise. 
Writing quote from Anne Lamott
I could go on and on with wonderful quotes about writing. I love them. Do you?

Do you have rules for your own writing? Maybe you were never aware that you do follow your own rules. Please share if you are willing. Your thoughts might inspire another. Thank you.

Please take a minute to sign up to follow the blog. Fill in the box at the top of the sidebar so you won't miss updates from J.Q. Rose. It's going to be an exciting Fall on the J.Q. Rose blog!

UPDATE: The Kickstarter funding for Carol's coloring book was a success! Look for the book this fall! 

Find out more about this unique project featuring women who fought for equality through our history at the Girls Succeed blog.

Click here to go to the Girls Succeed blog

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Happy 100th Birthday National Park Service, National Parks Tour, Carol Simon Levin's Coloring Book Project

Get out the balloons and flower bouquets, load up the table with birthday cake, candles, and ice cream, grab a horn and noisemaker and hat, and don't forget to turn the dance music up real loud! 

Time to celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service!
YouTube Video: A Centennial Invitation

If you can't make it to a park right now, please join me on the J.Q. Rose blog as I take you to National Parks I have visited. Just click the park's name to take you to the blog post.

Thank you National Park Service! Wishing you another hundred years plus!
Remembering the Ladies: From Patriots to Petticoats to Presidential Candidates
Unique Coloring book 

On my blog for girls, Girls Succeed!, I am featuring my friend, author, speaker, librarian,  Carol Simon Levin. Carol has created a fantastic coloring book about 50 courageous, trailblazing women who have fought for equality throughout the history of the USA. 

This book will invite readers to literally color in the remarkable contributions of founding mothers whose efforts aided the American Revolution, generations of abolitionists, suffragists, feminists, labor and civil rights leaders who fought for the vote and other rights for women, and women who sought and sometimes achieved elective and appointed office. 

Find out how you can be a part of this project at the Girls Succeed blog post.


Girls Succeed! by J.Q. Rose
To inspire and empower girls
Available at Amazon.
I have supported Carol's coloring book project, Remembering the Ladies, because I feel this book will empower and inspire girls--my missionwhen I wrote Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women. 

Thank you for your consideration.

UPDATE: The Kickstarter funding for Carol's coloring book was a success! Look for the book this fall!
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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

VIDEO: The Grand Canyon National Park with J.Q. Rose, Celebrating the National Park Service 100th Birthday

Happy 100th Birthday National Park Service!

Happy 100th Birthday to the National Park Service. I've been crowing about this birthday party for a few weeks now. Probably because I admire the work of the National Park Service members for being the caretakers of our national treasures both in the past and into the future.
I thought I could add to the celebration by sharing a video with you of the Grand Canyon National Park. My husband and I visited a LOT of National Parks while we were in the Southwest this summer, but this one is the Granddaddy of them all in my opinion. Evidently a lot of people feel the same way as evidenced by the 5 million visitors every year to the park.

Please put on your traveling gear, hiking boots, and brimmed hat to join me on the trip through the park. Oh wait, you can just watch the video in the comfort of your chair wearing your jammies. I hope you'll take a 10 minute break from your busy day to sit back and relax while you take a peek at the highlights of our trip to the Grand Canyon National Park!

VIDEO: The Grand Canyon National Park 

with J.Q. Rose

Photos by J.Q. Rose
Transcript follows

Grand Canyon National Park
Video slide show

1—Title slide-- Grand Canyon National Park

2—Hello and welcome to the Grand Canyon National Park. I’m your tour guide, J.Q. Rose. Thanks for joining me for a very quick peek at this historic and amazing place.

3—My husband and I toured the Southwest this summer for two weeks. We had never been to the four corners area. We saw vistas very different from our Michigan lakes and trees. We flew into Las Vegas at a toasty 111 degrees or 44 celsius to begin our adventure through AZ, NM, CO, and UT. On the map, you can see the Grand Canyon National Park is located in AZ’s northwestern quadrant.

4—This is our trusty rental car, a Mazda 2. Before the trip, I worried about driving a rental car through the desert and mountains, but I shouldn’t have. The car’s AC carried us through the heat of the desert and the 4 cylinder engine climbed up and down and around the mountains with no problems.

5—Now sit back in your armchair and join me for a short tour of some of the highlights of our trip through the Grand Canyon NP.

6—Five million visitors make the trip to the canyon each year. Most go to the South Rim, the most accessible place which is 7000 feet above sea level. The one mile deep canyon is quite an attraction.

7—It is 277 river miles or 446 km long and up to 18 miles or 29 km wide.

8—This is just one of the regal elks we saw in the park. Just look at the size of the rack. That would give me a headache! These elk families were all over the park and ignored all of us tourists. In fact one morning, a family of elks grazed next to McDonald’s while we were eating breakfast across from our hotel.

9—This national park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. I can verify that judging by the crowds of Americans and citizens from all over the world enjoying the natural beauty surrounding us. But the huge amount of visitors was never a problem. Free park shuttles offer excellent, timely service to sites throughout the park.

10—The Grand Canyon had a long road to becoming a national park until President Theodore Roosevelt made multiple visits to the area, then declared the Grand Canyon an national monument in 1908. The bill to grant national park status was passed in 1919 and signed by then President, Woodrow Wilson.

11—When I stepped off the shuttle bus for my first glimpse of the Grand Canyon, something I have looked forward to my whole life, I was disappointed when I tried to see the canyon from the bus stop.

12--But as I made my way along the path to Maricopa Point overlook, the canyon jolted me with all its glory. In fact, I was terrified to walk to the end of the pont overwhelmed by the vastness of the canyon and dizzied by the depth of it even if a haze blanketed the deepest parts of the canyon. Then, once my heart stopped rattling in my chest, I calmed down and appreciated this ancient creation.

13-- If you’re interested in geology, you’ll especially love having the opportunity to see the exposed ancient layers of rock. No need to dig up the ground to see these normally buried formations. The colors were spectacular.

14—We returned to the hotel in the pm to escape the heat. Then on that beautiful evening we explored the drove through the park in our car rather than take the shuttle. The crowds had thinned and there was no problem finding parking places throughout the park. One of the places we discovered was the Native American Arts and Crafts Building, Hopi House.

15—Hopi House is the first of eight architectural projects at the Grand Canyon designed by Mary Colter, a creative trailblazing woman architect in the early 1900’s.  She designed the building to resemble a traditional pueblo. The Hopi, as the historic inhabitants of the area, were chosen as the featured artisans.

16—Entering the building, I was overwhelmed at the diversity of Native crafts available for sale. The colors and quality of the work were amazing. Take a peek at just a few examples.

18-woolly sheep
19-large pot

20—This is the El Tovar Hotel, located just west of Hopi House. The Hopi House opened on January 1, 1905,  2 weeks before the landmark hotel. Can you imagine making a trip to this area in one of these vehicles and traversing the rough roads?

21—The hotel, another work of art by Mary Colter, is constructed of limestone and pine to evoke the style of a Swiss chalet and Norwegian villa.

22—This is the back of the hotel which faces the canyon.

23—How would you like to wake up in the morning and see a vista like this from your hotel room?

24—Chipmunk--This little visitor was enjoying the view too.

25—The building across the way is another Colter creation built in her style that reflected her vision of natural constructions, were often modeled after Native American themes. 

26—My photos can’t possibly capture the beauty and grandeur of these vistas and vast place of wonder. I hope you at least got the flavor of the setting and the sense of history of this very special national park. Thanks for joining me today.

27—I would like to say a huge thank you to those visionaries who set aside lands 100 years ago for future generations to experience the awe-inspiring nature and history of our national parks, monuments, trails, and lakeshores. Now we need to do our part to keep these treasures alive and shining into the next century and beyond.

Thank you National Park Service for being the caretakers of our past and future. Wishing you a happy 100th birthday and many more!

28--Connect online with J.Q. Rose

J.Q. Rose blog
J. Q.  Rose Amazon Author Page

About J.Q.-J Q Rose is an avid reader, photographer, and blogger. Janet and her husband are snow birds who spend winters in Florida allowing them to garden twelve months out of the year. Summer finds her up north camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her grandchildren.
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Have you visited the Grand Canyon? Were you terrified when you first saw it? What National Parks have you visited? What's your favorite park to visit--city, township, county, state, national? Thanks for stopping in!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Happy 100th Birthday National Park Service! Writings in the Desert

Hello and welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog! I was very ambitious earlier in the week and announced today would be the day I would share our trip to the Grand Canyon National Park to commemorate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. Unfortunately, for many reasons, the Grand Canyon video is not ready and I don't want to put it up until I'm happy with it. Please check back next week, fingers-crossed, to join me on an armchair tour of the amazing Grand Canyon NP.

First Lady, Michelle Obama, helps to get the word out in this You Tube video--
The First Lady Celebrates the National Park Service
Writings in the Desert by J.Q. Rose
After visiting the Petrified Forest National Park, I made an astounding connection and gained insight into my writing. 

A writer’s compulsion to write is a puzzlement to most people.  Ask an author why she writes and you will most likely get the answer, “because I have to.” Ideas for stories swirl around in the writer’s brain and will not go away until the idea is fixed on paper or screen.

This drive is not a new behavior for human beings. Cave men expressed their ideas on the walls of caves. This summer my husband and I visited the Southwest region of the USA. Signs of ancestral native people who lived in this harsh environment left their drawings on rocks in the desert. I don’t mean rocks the size of a stone you can skip across the lake. These are enormous ROCKS with identifiable pictures of water birds and faces of what scientists believe symbolize the spirits the people worshiped. The drawings are called petroglyphs.
Petroglyph --Faces of spirits of the Ancestral Pueblo culture
Petroglyph--Water bird drawing in the Petrified Forest National Park
Evidence of the desire by ancient people to leave a record of their lives are scattered throughout the Petrified Forest National Park in Eastern Arizona. Visit my blog post about the Petrified Forest NP here.

Rocks, “varnished” by Mother Nature by the clay minerals and sand collected on the surface of the rock, make the perfect canvas/background for the prehistoric man to scratch out recognizable shapes and figures about their existence. The latest Ancient Puebloan drawings are believed to be from around 900 A.D. to 1100 A.D. 
The Painted Desert located in the Petrified Forest National Park
I felt strangely connected with these primitive efforts at sharing the artist/writer's ideas with others, as if the artist was reaching out across the centuries to assure me it's okay to have that drive to express my ideas through my writing. 

I wonder if any of today's e-books and print books will exist 1000 years from now for future scientists to discover!
Photos by J.Q. Rose
Originally posted on the Books We Love Insiders Blog. I'll be posting regularly on the BWL blog on the 20th of each month. You're invited to visit.
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Connect online with J.Q. Rose, author of the romantic suspense, Deadly Undertaking.
Deadly Undertaking
Romantic suspense
Available at amazon

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

IWSG Blog Hop: Share My Memoir or Not by J.Q. Rose

Hello and welcome to the monthly meeting of the 
Insecure Writers Support Group(IWSG) blog hop! 

Internet Writers Support Group Blog Hop
First Wednesday of every month.
What is IWSG? Founder of the  Insecure Writer’s Support Group and author Alex J Cavanaugh explains the group's purpose 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.

The group blogs the first Wednesday of every month.  The list of bloggers is always available so you can hop around to the author blogs filled with humor, advice, and thought-provoking topics on writing and publishing. You can find the list of participants at Alex's IWSG page.

IWSG Question for the Month
THE IWSG BLOG HOP QUESTION FOR AUGUST: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?

My first piece of writing was an article I submitted to a woman's magazine about breastfeeding. I was a new mom and learned so many things through my experience with my baby, I wanted to help expecting moms to have a successful time with this overwhelming time in life. 

I mailed in the submission expecting to receive a raving acceptance letter telling me how wonderful the article was and how much it would benefit soon-to-be nursing mothers. I was crushed not to hear anything from the magazine and decided I would never write an article again. That article was probably thrown in the trash, but eventually, after our daughters left home and we sold our floral business, I started writing articles for the local newspaper which led to many more free-lance articles in newspapers, magazines and e-zines.
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Share My Memoir or Not by J.Q. Rose

Yes, I'm insecure this week. I'm taking a break away from writing romantic suspense and challenging myself to write a memoir. I am a firm believer in everyone recording the story of their life or at least part of it. 
Writing a memoir
I'm focusing on the year in my life when we purchased a retail business--a flower shop and greenhouses. Did we know anything about being a retailer, growing plants in a commercial greenhouse, designing flower arrangements? No, but we did it anyway.  Talk about being insecure--giving up good jobs, taking our one year old daughter away from grandparents and family, and moving eight hours away to a town where we knew not one person. 
Peach roses--my favorite flower. They smell good too.
The main rule in writing a memoir is to tell the truth. And I am, but that involves showing the previous owner, Nellie, in a bad light. She and her husband have passed away, but her family is still in the area. I have decided to change their names, but this is a small town and folks will know who I mean. So, I am thinking of writing this book, but only allowing our family to read it. And yet, I think this memoir could be a great encouragement to someone who is hesitant to break out of their life and try something new. (Hmmm--like writing a book, perhaps?) When we see someone overcome obstacles to achieve a dream, their story inspires us to try to make our dreams come true too. 

An author friend tagged me on FB to reveal the first lines of the first three chapters of my WIP, so I thought it would be fun to share those lines in the memoir here with all of you too. You'll see Nellie is in the story right away.

Untitled--I'm insecure about choosing a title too!!!

Chapter 1 Our whispers in the silence of the strangers’ bedroom seemed to echo in our ears. 
Chapter 2 After the sleepless night, we packed up our belongings and quietly trod down the stairs to face Jack and Nellie. 
Chapter 3 Contentment fell across my shoulders like a newborn’s swaddling blanket as I nursed Baby Sara in my rocking chair in the front room of our home in Marseilles.

Please help me decide whether to share the story or keep it just for my family. I'd love to hear from you. Thank you.
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Opportunity for you--Karen Walker is putting together an anthology on aging. If you are fifty or older, visit her blog for details on how you can contribute. 
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Connect with J. Q. Rose on Facebook