Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid: Save Your Work by J.Q. Rose

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog!

Focused on Story Blog
J.Q. Rose
Hey, I think that's the first time I actually said welcome to the Focused on Story Blog. Thanks to those who visited my newly re-named, re-designed blog last Wednesday. Thank you for your kind words about the changes.

While patting myself on the back for accomplishing the change in the look of the blog, I was so caught up in my brilliance that I misstepped and fell from my very high perch above the clouds. And did I ever fall far! I did something so "stoopid" (stupid). I am embarrassed to tell you. But I will share with you in the hope you will learn the lesson along with me. My piano teacher always told me it's okay to make a mistake, (like hitting the wrong key on the piano), but it's really a mistake to do the same thing over and over again. I hope I have learned my lesson and not repeat this stupidity again.

<Taking a deep breath.> 
This summer I focused on getting my story ready for my publisher, BWL Publishing, for release this winter. Needless to say I have spent countless hours on the novel, and it is almost complete.

I worked hard on it last Wednesday and saved it to my laptop, feeling very good about how the loose ends are tying up in the ending. On Thursday morning, I opened my laptop only to find I could not sign in to the old computer. I put my computer password in three times. Shut it down. Tried again. Shut it down. Tried again. I couldn't believe the crazy thing wouldn't open. I remembered I had received several notices for an update and I had postponed them for the last couple of days, but Wednesday night, I decided to let it go ahead and do the update.

Evidently something got messed up in the opening user program. No, I didn't know that, but that's what my great computer geek guy, Luke, figured out. He told me sometimes this problem is a symptom of a hard drive crash.  I gasped for breath knowing I hadn't backed up all the files for months. I hadn't backed up a story I had worked on all summer? Well, not completely. I had a few chapters in dropbox and on a flash drive, but they had all been revised in the recent months.

I left the laptop at his shop. My mind whirled with the possibilities of losing the entire ms. Losing all the files for my published books and scribblings of other books and stories. Then the reality of losing all my photos hit me. I never back them up. Heat flashes took over my brain and it wasn't because it was 90 degrees outside. Worry. Worry that I would lose everything. I honestly thought my writing days were over. I couldn't sleep that night.

Later the next morning Gardener Ted stopped at Luke's shop to check on the computer. He came bursting in the back door and announced Luke thinks he can get the files back! I shouted hooray and did a happy dance right there in the middle of the kitchen at that news. Sure enough, the next day, when I picked up the computer, Luke told me he had all the files on it. 

I dreaded asking how much I owed him. He said, "$35." What? Only $35.? I could have given him a big hug and a kiss. (No, I didn't. I didn't want to embarrass him.) I practically skipped out of his shop with my darling laptop.

You can be sure we dug out our external storage drive and backed up ALL of our files on both laptops.

I think I'm doing well when I remember to hit save while working on a document. I guess I trust my laptop too much by not backing up the document to another system. 

Flash drive or thumb drive

It's so easy to pop in a flash drive (thumb drive), save it to dropbox, email it to myself. So many ways to keep a copy. So do it!!! Learn from my carelessness. Save your stuff!
* * * *

A couple of weeks ago, my fifteen year old grandson, Ethan, began writing a story and shared the beginning of it with me. He uses Google docs, so
My grandson, Ethan, and me.
he gave me a crash course on Google docs. I love Google docs because the document is automatically saved as you compose it.  I don't even have to remember to do it. Plus Google saves it to Google drive, so it's not on my laptop, but safe somewhere in cyber space. 

Ethan also showed me how to edit a doc, much like Tracker, making comments on the document. It's pretty simple to learn and I'm so glad I have a sharp grandson to guide me if I have questions. Thank you, Ethan.

Click here if you want to get started using Google Docs. 

Publishers, as of this writing anyway, like manuscripts submitted in Word documents. Here's a YouTube video to explain how to convert a Google doc to Word.

YouTube VIDEO: How to Convert a Google Doc to a Word Docx by Faculty Workshop

If you get nothing else out of this blog article, please get this
Save Your Work!
SAVE A COPY OF YOUR WORK in another location.
Have you ever had this same experience? How did it turn out? 
I hope you didn't lose all of your files. 

Let us know in the comment section below. Thank you.
* * * *
Author Chrys Fey
I want to give a shout out to my friend and author, Chrys Fey. We met through the Insecure Writers Support Group, a wonderful support group who holds a blog hop the first Wednesday of each month. Look for our blog posts next week!
Chrys has a complete video series entitled Marketing Sparks. She shares inspiring information on writing, publishing and marketing in these short videos. Some of her topics are newsletters, branding, author websites, amazon, Goodreads and more. Well I wrote her an email with kind of a crazy question for her and she answered it in a video. Very special. Thanks Chrys. Take a peek at her answer here.

VIDEO: Email Reading (And What is the Reflection in the Glass?) Chrys Fey

Chrys Fey Marketing Spark Video

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Welcome Fall, Focusing on Story, IWSG Anthology: Writing for Profit, Marsha West's New Mystery Act of Betrayal

Hello and welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog!

Fall is almost officially here. The Autumn Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere actually occurs this Friday at 4:02 pm ET. But you would never know it. The weatherman said this week in West Michigan will be more like weather we experience in mid-July, humid with temps in the mid-80's. What???
Fall mums
Photo by J.Q. Rose
With the changing season, I decided to change my blog, and I don't mean just to the fall leaves background. I changed the name to Focused on Story. That name clearly describes my writing and who I am as a writer. I believe the mission of the author is to create a fictional story filled with writing that brings out emotion in the reader,  Emotion, whether it's love, hate, happiness, sadness, and everything in between, helps readers to identify with the characters and actually care what happens to them.

In non-fiction writing, the story is very important too. When I cover events or interview real people for newspaper and magazine articles, I want readers to identify with someone or understand more about the topic and care about it. A writer can do that by focusing on the story.

So how do I achieve focusing on the story? I don't just tell it, I show it, by taking a deeper dive into the scene and using language to make it come alive in the reader's mind.

For example: 
Tell--Janie was mad at her mom. 

That's okay. But a writer can help the reader "see" the scene. I re-wrote it this way:

Show--Janie slammed her schoolbag on the kitchen table and stomped out of the room. She didn't stop when her Mother yelled her name.

I had this focusing on story "epiphany" while working with my writers group on re-writing a novella I had written 6 years ago. I wanted to go deeper with the characters. And boy, did we ever. With their help, the novella is turning into a novel.
Originally released in 2011, I am thrilled that my publisher, BWL Publishing will be publishing this mystery with a touch of paranormal this winter. The new title is Terror on Sunshine Boulevard. Looking forward to revealing the new cover to you when it's ready.

# # # #
IWSG Badge
I am thrilled to announce an article I penned on blogging will appear in the new anthology from the Insecure Writers Support Group, Writing for Profit. So many talented writers in this group. I'm sure there will be plenty of gems on making money with your writing. 
# # # #
And finally, last but definitely not least, a friend and contributor to the J.Q. Rose blog is releasing her fourth book in her Second Chances series, Act of Betrayal, on September 21. Today you can pre-order the book on amazon, Kobo, and B&N for $1.99. After release it will be $4.99. I've read all the books in the series and am looking forward to this one!

Image may contain: 1 person

Click below to read the Guest Posts on the J.Q. Rose Blog by Marsha R. West

Romance Readers Want to Know
Marsha R. West Shares Her Hobby

Hope you like my newly renovated blog. I enjoy playing with the design, fonts, colors. How often do you change the "look" of your blog/website?

Wishing you a lovely fall season wherever you are!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Thinking of Disaster Survivors, Donating to Disaster Relief

Dipping my toes in Lake Michigan
Hello and welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog!

My hubby, Gardener Ted, and I are escaping from the routine of life and camping along the Lake Michigan shoreline near Ludington, Michigan. Yes the east side of Lake Michigan with wide sandy beaches and marvelous dunes and a lake so large you cannot see the other side. And for my friends along the oceans, NO SALT. !!!

We used to bring our kids to the lake to swim and dive through the waves. Now those kids have their own kids (our grandkids.) We've taken several camping trips with those children too to the lake shore. Times change, kids grow up, we grow older, life is different.

Camping is different too. The campers have become condos on wheels. Even tenting is different with all the amenities and equipment to make camping easy and convenient. 

My mother always said, "Nothing is more certain than change." And though we don't want to accept change, we all have to be able to accept changes. Those who have survived dangerous fires, shattering earthquake, and deadly hurricanes are wishing their lives were "routine." They have a lot to adjust to in their lives. My heart goes out to them and their families and friends. Returning to a demolished home and community can be overwhelming. Please don't lose hope. Caring people will be there to help you accept the changes and move on. We care.

Caring people are donating money, goods, and time to help with disaster relief. If readers want to help, I want to caution you to only give to reputable charities. Unfortunately there are rotten individuals who will try and scam good-hearted people. Be wary.

I personally recommend UMCOR. One hundred percent of every dollar you give goes to help with disaster relief. Click here to visit the UMCOR site and how you can donate to them.

I am a praying woman and I am praying for all involved in these disasters. 

Do you have a trusted charity you can recommend to readers?

Thank you for stopping by this week. Next week we will return to "writerly matters."

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

IWSG Blog Hop: Memoir Writing

Hello and welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog. 
Time for 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. I hope you'll take some time to visit the diverse list of bloggers.

IWSG Question for the Month
Question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in??

My desk

Yes, I surprised myself when I began writing my memoir. I'm a mystery writer. And my life was no mystery to me. But I felt that tingle of desire to write my story for our children and perhaps for publication, if brave enough.

My author friend's story inspired me to try and put together a memoir. She wrote a beautiful story about her experience as a 16-year-old who moved with her family to Samoa for a two year mission trip. She captured the beauty, the culture, and the people of the island as well as her teen angst of fitting-in. Everyone could understand her situation.

I thought of a memoir as kind of stuffy writing with depressing trials and tribulation. Hers was not. Instead it was a touching story filled with humor. So I have had a great time putting together the story of our first year in the floral business. The memoir is far from complete, and I'm not exactly comfortable with memoir/life story writing. But I am enjoying the experience. 

Seeing the 40-year-old story from today's perspective really added more color to my life and to its meaning. I hope that a reader will be inspired to try something new. I am the guide for her/him to know that it is possible to succeed.
Lots of writing utensils here! Do you have such a collection on your desk?

I'm anxious to read your surprises in your writing. Can you recommend a memoir you have enjoyed reading? Please leave a comment below. Thank you.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Happy Labor Day Weekend! and Thank You to my Guest Authors in the Summer Readers Circle

Summer Readers Circle
Thank you for joining us this summer!
Hello and welcome! Today marks the end of our Summer Readers Circle because in the US, autumn officially begins after the Labor Day holiday weekend. But that doesn't mean the end of the Readers Circle. I'll still host guest authors whenever they wish to join us in the Readers Circle.

I want to thank my guests who have brightened my summer with their blog posts. I am a bit selfish in hosting authors because I really do it to get to know the writers as people, not just names. Behind the scenes we trade emails and conversations that are not always about their guest blog posts. It's a pleasure to get acquainted with a new author and fun to work with author friends again.

Huge THANK YOU to the following guest authors!
2 Tricia McGill
9 Shirley Martin
16 Susan Calder
23 Heather Greenis
30 Joan Donaldson-Yarmey
7 Gary Rockey
14 Diane Bator
21 Kathryn Pym 
Jude Pittman
28 Marcia R. West
4 Miss Mae
11 Travel
18 Janet Lane Walters
25 Helena Fairfax

You can also see all their books and their photos at my Pinterest page on the Readers Circle board.
Click here to visit my Pinterest page.

Hope you close your summer days out with a wonderful celebration 
during the Labor Day holiday.
Thank you to all those who contribute to the USA economy and keeps us rollin' !

Mother's Day Excerpt from Arranging a Dream, Happy Mother's Day, Working Moms

YouTube VIDEO: Mother's Day Excerpt from Arranging a Dream Hello and welcome! I wanted to pop in to wish you moms, grandmoms and those w...