Thursday, December 27, 2018

New Year's Day Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, Happy New Year from J.Q. Rose!

Hello and Welcome to the Focused on Story Blog. I'm J.Q. Rose.

Today I am re-publishing my blog post about the Rose Parade--you know that huge parade every year on New Year's Day in Pasadena, California? My husband and I were in the floral business for nearly 20 years and we always loved watching the parade on TV (and still do) and seeing all the floats made completely from natural materials e.g. roses, my fave flower. Now you know why I chose Rose as my pen name! 
Sit back in your chair, relax and be transported to this special event on this special day of the year.


Roses on a float in the Rose Parade.
Roses are my favorite flower.
Dreams Come True was the theme of the 2014 Rose Parade. That theme certainly fit our situation because it was our dream to actually attend the parade one day. Finally, in June, my hubby announced he was ordering the airline tickets to Pasadena, California, and to the Rose Parade! This trip was even better than we had ever imagined. The people, places, and even the weather was delightful. I only wish I could share all 1000 pictures with you, but, um, no, I won't. Only 900?? LOL!

The Rose Parade celebrated 125 years in 2014. This unique parade did not begin as the elaborate high tech- jaw-dropping extravaganza we now know. Instead, this new year tradition began in 1890 by Pasadena's Valley Hunt Club. According to the Rose Parade Guide, "the members wanted to promote the "Mediterranean of the West" so they invited their former East Coast neighbors to watch games such as chariot races, foot races, polo, and tug-of-war under the California sun.


"The abundance of flowers, even in the midst of winter, prompted the club to add another showcase for Pasadena's charm: a parade to precede the competition, where entrants would decorate their carriages with hundreds of blooms".

More Roses! Afterall it IS the Rose Parade!

The tradition of floral be-decked entries into the Tournament of Roses Parade continues, but now on a much larger scale. Flowers and natural materials from all over the world cover every inch of the floats. No paint allowed. Only nature's true colors add the excitement and texture to the elaborate designs.

We visited the float building areas and watched the organized chaos of this huge operation mostly done by volunteers. The tedious process of gluing on each petal or seed, yes tiny seeds, boggled my mind. 

Teen volunteers gluing on flower petals to the opening Rose Parade float. All generations work together to decorate the floats. Kids through senior citizens offer their skills.

These folks are tearing up straw flowers.


The volunteer brushes on glue then sprinkles the petals in the box 
all over the gluey section.
Three locations offered views of the decorators in action. I was worried the floats would not be ready by step-off time at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, January 1. When we visited the sites on Monday morning, a lot of the seeds and grasses were glued on, but the delicate flowers had to wait till the last minute to be fresh for the parade judges. So, the volunteers work all day and all night. Such dedication. By the way, the floats were all done in time!

Okay, get ready. The parade is about to begin!


The United States Air Force Thunderbirds zoomed down the parade route thrilling parade viewers.

Opening banner to kick off the parade. This is the float the teens were working on in the picture above. Finished it too!!
A salute to a famous dreamer, Henry Ford. Behind is a rendition of the Spirit of St. Louis honoring dreamer Charles Lindbergh. 

City of Glendale Let's Be Neighbors. The float is based on a real bear who kept coming down into Glendale and raiding the trash cans.


The marauding bear earned the name of Meatball because he always ate the meatballs.
He wouldn't stay in the mountains, so they had to move him to a preserve. 

I wonder if they serve him meatballs there.

So Close, Yet Safari Away


TheK9s4Cops dedicated its float to the heroic K9 law enforcement units across America and to those who serve and protect our communities. This non-profit organization donates highly trained dogs to agencies who otherwise could not afford them.

A salute to the WWII Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) 
For more information go to the Girls Succeed blog 

These cute kitties are riding the RFD-TV float, You Make My Dreams Come True. Can you find the calico on the float below?

RFD-TV float

Gorgeous, elegant float. Of course, it's Beverly Hills. 

Sea World Park's Sea of Surprises

Adorable candy train

These 3 aliens surprised parade viewers by driving out of the spaceship and traveling along the parade route. This was a first in parade history!

Wonderful Indonesia--This float got my vote for the most dazzling and exotic float.

Photos never can give the viewer a complete picture of this amazing design.

Monster truck--Had to take a lot of pictures of this monster truck for the grandkids! Made me giggle.

Trader Joes, a grocery store in CA, Relish Your Dreams. It's a relish dish with cheeses and olives, etc.
A pickle followed along behind it. So clever.

Butterflies fluttered among the colorful flowers.

The dogs have stolen the dog catcher's truck in this animated float. 
One of the most humorous floats


Yep, he's running after them. What do you think? Can he catch them??

Have no doubt. Your dreams can come true too.
Thanks for visiting. Do you have a dream that came true? If so, please leave a comment saying yes. If you wish to share the dream with us, please do. 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Love Came Down at Christmas

Love came down at Christmas
Image taken at Walt Disney World by J.Q. Rose
Our Greatest Need

If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator.
If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.
If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist.
If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer.
But our greatest need was forgiveness and acceptance, so God sent us a Savior.
--Author Unknown

Wishing you all the hope, peace, love, and joy of this Christmas season!

Merry Christmas! 
from J. (Janet) Q. Rose
Video:
Not That Far From Bethlehem with Lyrics from Youtube.com

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Excerpt: Going Home for Christmas

Hello and welcome to a very special edition of Focused on Story. Today, I am sharing part of my story, my own story. I've been writing my memoir seriously since 2016 about the first year we were in the floral business in Fremont, Michigan. This excerpt is the story of our returning home to Atlanta, Illinois, for Christmas after moving to Michigan in December 1975.


Looking through Rose-colored Glasses
A Memoir

Synopsis for Looking Through Rose-colored Glasses (working title)
Just like jumping out of a plane without a parachute while holding a one-year-old baby in her arms, Janet and her husband, Ted, leap from the stability of family, friends, and financial security into the uncertainty of fulfilling their dream of owning and operating a floral business. Going against the norms of 1976, believing a woman’s place is in the home, she spends sleepless nights wrestling with how she can balance motherhood with the demands of working outside the home.
With no knowledge or experience operating a business or selling fresh flowers, can they safely land on their feet? The shop owners, Helen and Al, whom they’d just met, assure Ted and Janet the flower business is healthy and they will help them learn how to run the operation. But can they be trusted? Janet and Ted face the monumental task together to nurture their baby daughter and their new business.
Follow their inspiring story, filled with the joy and triumphs and the obstacles and failures experienced by these blossoming entrepreneurs as they travel along the turbulent path of turning dreams into reality.
***
Home for Christmas
Photo by Dids from Pexels
Excerpt: Chapter 7--Home for Christmas December 1975. 

(Business owner's names changed to protect identity)



We took off our “rose-colored” glasses and faced the truth. The transition from being “just crazy kids” on an adventure filled with rainbows and lollipops among the roses to adult, responsible business owners became real to us on that trip home. We had prepared ourselves for the move and all the changes in our lives, but we hadn’t considered any kind of a problem with our relationship with Helen. Instead, we came to grips of thinking of her as not a mentor, but rather our nemesis.
            Dread washed over me. What if Helen wouldn’t teach me how to make those enormous funeral arrangements, casket sprays, wreaths? What if she wouldn’t come in to help me learn how to make the flower bouquets and corsages for the weddings and decorate the candelabra?
            We needed her expertise on the lead time we should plan to get our orders in and what wholesale vendors she relied on for her goods. What about the bookkeeping and accounts?

            The only comforting thought I could scratch out of the situation was Helen would help us if she wanted any money from us. If we failed, she would fail. Does she want us to fail? The thought spun through my brain. Could anyone be that wicked?
***
Home. There is nothing like coming back home to Atlanta even if we had only been gone about three weeks. I relaxed as I hadn’t done in what seemed like months.
We pulled in to the funeral home where my Mom and Dad lived in the second story apartment, exactly what we were doing—living over the business. They had purchased the funeral home from Dad’s only competition in 1966, so I never called it home. But having my parents there made it home.
Mom practically ran down the steps from the huge wrap around, screened-in porch of the redwood Victorian house. She was at the car door before I could open my door. I had never seen her so happy and giddy. Her joy at seeing us was so evident, I felt a flash of guilt for taking her granddaughter away from her. Mom grabbed Sara and hugged and kissed her while Ted and I unloaded the car and dragged everything upstairs to a huge bedroom in the apartment. Mom had even furnished it with a wooden playpen where Sara could sleep near us.
Mom finally let go of Sara when she decided to get dinner ready. Then my dad took over. He was a tall, handsome gentleman and seeing him sitting with one-year-old Sara in his arms made my eyes shiny with tears. In fact, when she was born, my dad was going to stay home in Atlanta instead of driving up to Marseilles to see the baby. But even his responsibilities at the funeral home didn’t keep him away from Sara. He drove up the minute we came home from the hospital. He was in love with this little gal.
We had a whirlwind of visiting during that Christmas week. We wanted to spend time with each side of the family, but scheduling was tight and exhausting.
Grandmother Mildred, who lived only four miles away, was just as excited to see Sara, yes, Sara. Somehow Sara took the limelight wherever we went. She fussed over her as did Ted’s sisters.
I hated saying good-byes again, but this time my heart didn’t ache. I knew I was ready to begin a new chapter in my life. Atlanta would always feel like home to me, but instead of being sad at leaving, I was exhilarated at the chance to make a new home with Ted and Sara at its center. 

I looked forward to jumping into the excitement and challenge of being a business owner and floral designer.  Watch out Helen, here we come!
***
GOOD NEWS: If you enjoyed this excerpt from my memoir, you can read part of the first chapter of the book at Dr. Bob Rich's blog, "Bobbing Around" as an entry in his current contest. I am pleased my first chapter excerpt was chosen by four distinguished judges for the shortlist. The public will choose the winner from the top 10 stories

You can read the 1000 word submission along with the other entries at his blog, "Bobbing Around" and he'll send you a free book when you vote!!
Click here to see the 10 entries
Vote for 3 of your favorites. Deadline for voting is December 23. Thank you.
***
Have you moved away from home to start a new life? Tell us about it. 
Please leave feedback on the excerpt. I'm always looking to improve my writing. Thank you!!


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Pointers on Writing a Blog by J.Q. Rose Updated, Facebook Live Videos

Blogging
Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Photo by Stuart Miles
I love blogging and enjoy penning blog posts. Besides writing, I enjoy reading blogs. 
I can see that scowl of disbelief forming on your face. But, yes. I DO love sharing information, inspiration, and fun with readers. 

Most of all, I like receiving comments. Writing is an isolating job, so when blog readers actually respond with a comment, I feel more connected to the world. Thank you to all who take time to say hi, leave a thought about the content of the blog, or ask a question. I know you have lots of other things to do, so I appreciate the time you spend here on the blog.


Reading blogs is one of my satisfying "hobbies." I don't do it and leave a comment strictly for marketing purposes. I love meeting new folks and keeping in touch with friends. Blogging is the vehicle that allows me to do that.


TIP:  By the way, when you do leave a comment on a blog, please leave a way for the blogger to return your visit. Here's the secret formula, well maybe not so secret anymore, for constructing the HTML link to your blog so a blogger can click on the link and be taken right to your site!


You MUST copy this exactly, especially being careful not to add or delete a space in any of it, in order to make a correct link. 


<a href=http://yoursite.com>yoursitename</a>


Replace the bold sections with your information. 


Then go to your blog and in your own comment section, c/p the link and submit. You will see immediately if you have the link correct because only yoursitename will show up.--no symbols or letters. Good luck! It may take you a few tries.


Updated--Pointers on Writing a Blog by J.Q. Rose
originally published on this blog in October 2015

In my marketing research, my experience,  and reading blogs, I've picked up a few pointers I thought I'd share with you. I hope you find them helpful. Please add to the list so we can all learn more.

  • When I come across information or have an idea for a blog post, I go immediately to my blog page and click new post. I make a few notes, copy the URL of an article that got my attention, and type in a working title. These ideas already collected in my behind-the-scenes unpublished blog posts give me a bit of peace when I'm struggling to think of a post. 
  • Choose a day each week that you can commit to posting up your blog. Keep it like you do for a dental appointment or your kid's soccer practice. Your appointment with yourself to write your blog should be on your calendar every week or more often if you wish.. 
  • All the blog gurus encourage us to have a photo of ourselves on the top of the page. The purpose of a blog is to connect with readers, so having a picture helps them to do that. Not an avatar but a real-life photo of you.
  • Images help attract and keep readers. Take your own photos or look them up online. WARNING: Please be sure you can legally use the photos on your blog. Sites for finding images are freedigitalphotos.net (my favorite as you can probably tell,} pixabay.com, presentermedia.com, and makerbook.net. Leave a comment to let us know your favorite sites for images.
  • Video is coming to the front as a real draw to attract readers and keep them on the site. You can make your own video from your laptop, phone, camera, record it on YouTube, Hangouts, and PowerPoint programs. 
  • LIVE video is all the rage and it's fun. On FB Live, visitors can leave comments and you can interact with them in real time. Or if they have a question, they can ask and you can return to your video post and answer questions later. You can also post the Facebook video on Youtube to increase viewership and share it on all your social media. Watch my FB Live video below--Writing Tip: Focus on the Holidays 
  • Make attractive, eye-catching graphics with quotes or poems quickly with Quotes Cover and  QuozioCanva is another choice for making lots of kinds of graphics, but it takes a bit of experimenting and practice to get a decent product.
Quote image made using canva.com
TIP: When adding an image to your blog, be sure to add a caption. Phones and tablets don't always show the images, but they will display the caption to let readers know what the picture is. 
  • When offering a link to a page, don't use" click here." Instead, write out the name of the URL link so the reader knows what page they will be jumping to. Be sure to set your blog to allow a new pop-up box for the link the reader is going to instead of leaving your blog completely.
  • At the end of your post, ask the reader to subscribe to your page. Direct her to the location on your page so she can easily find and add her email.  The Follow by Email should be above the fold so the reader sees it right away.

Jeni Elliott, the Blog Maven, suggests bloggers not include their social media links on their website because clicking on the page will direct the reader away from the blog. What do you think of that idea? You can read more about it and other tips in her FREE guide, Five Things You Can Do to Increase SubscribersShe offers lots of resources for bloggers on her site.
# # #
FB Live Video--Writing Tip: Focus on the Holidays

VIDEO--Writing Tip: Focus on the Holidays by J.Q. Rose

If you have time, click here to watch more of my videos at the J.Q. Rose, Author Facebook 
Page including "How NOT to Make a FB Live Video." Warning! I'm just learning and experimenting with this new way of connecting with folks.
***
Thanks for spending time at the J.Q. Rose blog. Do you enjoy reading articles like this one with helpful tips and information for writers/bloggers? Do you have some suggestions for topics for this blog?

And just as I schooled you, please enter your email address in the Follow by Email box in the sidebar so you'll be notified of new posts on the J.Q. Rose blog. I promise, NO SPAM. Thank you!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

IWSG Blog Hop: Where I Create My Stories

IWSG Badge
IWSG Blog Hop---the first Wednesday of every Month.

Hello and welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop! 

Always on the first Wednesday of the month.

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.





December 5 question - 

What are five objects we'd find in your writing space?
Now this is a difficult question for me to answer since I have several writing spaces.  So, I'll choose one thing from each space.
Writing at my dining room table.
1. Desk in Florida--a flamingo figurine given to me by a friend
2. Desk in Michigan--my mom's little pillow I gave her with a Q embroidered on it. My maiden name begins with Q and she always picked up Q's whenever she could find them e.g. stationary, towels, cut-out letters, jewelry. Q is NOT a popular letter with retailers.
3. Dining table in Florida--candle with a wreath of shells around it for the table centerpiece.
4. Dining table in Michigan--fresh flowers from our yard plunked in a vase. Depending on the season. In early spring, forsythia branches or pussy willows and in the fall a bowl of apples.
5. Kitchen Countertop in Michigan--a small TV
I also sit in our Michigan living room in the recliner or a table in our Florida sunroom and create stories. I never write at a coffee shop or area where there are people. I get easily distracted!!
How about you? Do you write in one place or many?
***
GOOD NEWS: Dr. Bob Rich is offering a free book edit for the winner in his current contest. I'm thrilled to discover my entry, Looking Through Rose-colored Glasses, made the short list! The final round is judged by the public. You can read the 1000 word submission along with the other entries at his blog, "Bobbing Around" and he'll send you a free book when you vote!!
Click here to see the 10 entries. Vote for 3 of your favorites. Deadline for voting is December 23. Thank you.
***
Holiday decorations at Disney World
I know this is a very busy time of year for you, but I hope you can take a break to spend some time enjoying the posts by other participants in the blog hop. Click the links to the bloggers below to visit their sites.