Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Photography as a Hobby by Margaret Mendel

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog! I'm taking a break from blogging, so I have chosen a very popular post from way back in 2013. I hosted a series called Hobby Hoedown featuring guest authors. The following blog post is by talented author Margaret Mendel about her hobby, photography. Please enjoy taking a break in your day with this delightful guest post. 

Focused on Story Blog

Welcome author Margaret Mendel to the Hobby Hoedown!  Margaret shares her hobby of photography and stories about the photos she captured with her camera. 

Photography As A Hobby by Margaret Mendel

Writing is my first love though photography comes in a close second.

I discovered photography after graduating from high school when a friend told me I could order a Pentax camera directly from the factory in Japan.

I saved my hard-earned dollars working as a power sewing machine operator, sent a money order to Japan and waited. When the camera arrived I thought it was the most exotic thing I had ever seen. It was a heavy, black 35mm film camera. There was no digital back then.

Margaret's mother
This is a photo I took of my mother many years ago with my Pentax. And here is an excerpt from a memoir I wrote sometime later:
            “From this hiding place, my sister and I spied on Mom as she hung the wash or picked the dead leaves from her dahlias. A thin woman, Mom always looked as though she carried a load equal to her own weight in her arms, either the laundry, one of our two younger sisters, or the bushels of vegetables she dragged in from the garden for canning. She worked like an ant, always dragging, lifting or pushing something. 
            The dahlias were a different matter. To tend them she would actually tiptoe into her garden. My sister thought she did this to be quiet, but Mom said she did it to keep from packing down the soil. I saw Mom lift a blossom slowly once, cupping the giant flower in both hands, as though she was looking into a face.  She smiled, and I thought she intended to kiss the bloom. A couple of times I saw her talking to her flowers. My sister didn’t see this and said that Mom wouldn’t talk to flowers. My sister may have been right Mom did not have time to spend talking to flowers. She hardly had time to talk to us girls.”

Some years later my Pentax was stolen. I was heartbroken. There were not enough funds to replace it. Life took some interesting turns around that time with a marriage that fell apart, raising my son on my own, going back to college, and photography became a low priority.

Eventually, I scraped together enough money and got a new camera, a Minolta. Once again, I was off and running, clicking the shutter every chance I got.

Over the years I’ve upgraded my camera. Now I use a Nikon 7000, and like my laptop, it goes with me just about everywhere. Photography has taught me a great deal, but unlike writing, where a story builds scene by scene, a camera captures with one click of the shutter an image that capsulizes an emotion, a moment in time, or a dramatic scene that tells volumes without the use of words.

Margaret's grandson, Devon
Here is a photograph of Devon, my grandson. He and I take walks exploring NYC. This is an excerpt from a blog post on my website about one of our adventures:

“It was a windy day and several blocks before reaching the bookstore we encountered a huge dragonfly. The poor thing was having a terrible time in the wind and was being banged into the window of a drugstore. Then when it tried again to fly, the wind thrust it down to the ground where its wings and tail shimmied in what must have felt like a gale-force-wind to this fragile creature. Devon reached down, offered the bedraggled insect a finger. The dragonfly climbed on board and held on for dear life. “Do they bite?” Devon asked after the dragonfly was fully attached to his finger.”

Photo of New York City by Margaret Mende

I live in NYC and there is no end to photographic opportunities in this city. I don’t have to go far, because even sitting on my terrace; either looking down at the activity on the street or gazing out onto the water towers across the way, the view presents an unlimited chance to click the shutter and grab a photograph.   
# # # # 
About Margaret:

Margaret Mendel lives in New York City and is a past board member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, NYC. She has an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence. Many of her short stories have appeared in literary journals and anthologies. For more than twenty years, she worked in the mental health field, though now she devotes herself to writing full time. She is an avid photographer and not only drags a laptop but a Nikon D7000 camera wherever she goes. 

Click here for Margaret's Facebook Page
Read more about Margaret on her blog at Pushing Time
Take some time to peruse Margaret's photos on her Flickr site

Do you enjoy taking photos? I sure do. Please leave a comment below. 

# # # #
Great role models to inspire girls to DREAM BIG!
Girls Succeed! Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women 
was chosen as Book of the Week at the HERstory blog.

Katie Cox from HERstory said in an email--"We loved having your book as Book of the Week (left it up for two weeks actually because we loved the message and wanted to lead some people to it specifically."

Click here to download this interactive eBook with Study Guide 
at your favorite digital bookseller.
# # # #

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

#Authortoolboxbloghop Author Toolbox Blog Hop: Easily Create Spectacular Graphics with CANVA

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog and to the Author Toolbox Blog Hop #AuthorToolboxBlogHop which meets every third Wednesday of the month to share resources and tips for authors. Thanks to Raimey Gallant for hosting this venture. 

Please join us to learn more about the craft of writing and to meet bloggers who are dedicated to helping each other become the best writers possible. Click here for the list of participants and take a break and visit them. 
One of my favorite tools I love to use for social media is CANVA. This is an easy way to create graphics to go with your posts. And I believe we all know by now how important an image is to attract readers to our blog posts and social media sites. (We won't go there in this blog post about how video engages readers and keeps them on your site for a longer time.)

If you haven't tried CANVA, give it a whirl. Use the tutorials and youtube videos to help you. I was lucky enough to sign up with a Canva Crash Course with Emily Roach-Griffin. She clearly explained how to use this amazing tool. Click here if you want to find out more about Emily's course and sign-up for FREE. She has a FB group page too so you can share your creations and enjoy seeing others. And let me tell you, hang onto your hat because Emily if full of energy and lots of fun to watch.

Emily taught us that you can save your brand colors AND use 2 folders in the FREE version of Canva. I did not know that. So I during the course I chose my brand colors and saved them so I won't have to look them up all the time. If you're into branding, then try this.

Here are the colors on my business card. Even now, I'm not sure I'll keep the colors forever or for this season. But if I do, I will be incorporating them on my blog site and in my social media posts.

Business card created using Canva

 I made this design while just playing around with different colors. 
Yes, you can spend a lot of time trying things out. 
Consider it as working to enhance social media posts and 
to develop your brand, not fun and play time! wink wink
Follow the Focused on Story blog so you don't miss an update on the blog, 
or the chance to win a free book, 
or a chance to meet new authors, 
or a chance to discover writing tips 
on writing, publishing and marketing!

(Now that I look at this, I need to make up a Follow by Email notice in my new colors!)

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Relax, It's Father's Day

Relax, it's Father's Day!
Hello and welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog. We're getting ready to celebrate Father's Day on Sunday, June 16. We recognize all those dads and mentors who step in for dads in the lives of children.

My Dad
My dad influenced my writing as I grew up. He supported my efforts in writing poetry and stories. Sometimes I could hear the awe in his voice after he read one of my pieces. His reaction encouraged me to continue writing.

He was a funeral director. No, I didn't grow up in the funeral home. We always lived in a house not even close to the chapel. His personality, his love for people and his care in details contributed to his success in caring for grieving families.

Dad was my model for the main character in my romantic suspense, Deadly Undertaking. It was a lot of fun writing that book and remembering growing up with my dad.

I hope you have good memories of your dad or the person who made a difference in your life.

And to all those men, Happy Father's Day!

Deadly Undertaking by J.Q. Rose
Romantic Suspense
 Back of the Book: 
Lauren Staab knew there would be dead bodies around when she returned home. After all, her family is in the funeral business, Staab and Blood Funeral Home. Still, finding an extra body on the floor of the garage between the hearse and the flower car shocked her. Lauren’s plan to return to her hometown to help care for her mother and keep the books for the funeral home suddenly turns upside down in a struggle to prove she and her family are not guilty of murdering the man. But will the real killer return for her, her dad, her brother? Her mother’s secrets, a killer, a handsome policeman, and a shadow man muddle up her intention to have a simple life. Welcome home, Lauren!

Download your copy now. Print available at amazon. Click the link below to take you to your favorite digital bookseller.

J.Q. Rose
Forever her Daddy's girl.

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Thank you.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

IWSG Blog Hop: Make Mine Mystery

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.

June Question 

June question: Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

Plain and simple answer: Mystery
Deadly Undertaking
Romantic Suspense
I got hooked on reading mysteries when I discovered Sue Grafton's alphabet mysteries. I delighted in sorting out the clues and making the guesses on the answer to the who-dun-it. Then along came Janet Evanovich with the hysterical Stephanie Plum series. Those stories spurred me on to writing quirky characters in odd settings --like the Staab and Blood Funeral Home in Deadly Undertaking. 

Mysteries can include so many sub-genres. For some reason, I find myself adding paranormal elements in the latest ones. I challenged myself to write romantic suspense too. And then I combined paranormal and romantic suspense. So much fun to mix it all up. 

I have a blast with our weekly writers group meeting at the local coffee shop, the Koffee Kuppe, just in case you're in Fremont, Michigan, on a Friday morning. We do get carried away brainstorming on how to murder characters or how to catch the bad guy or gal. Patrons have gotten used to us sitting in the back of the restaurant laughing and scheming. They have learned we aren't actually planning a real murder. Er, at least I hope so!



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Miss Mae tells me he has
 a guest star interviewee. You definitely do not want to miss that!

Writing is easy.