Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Halloween Storytime Blog Hop: The Undertaker's Daughter

Storytime Blog Hop
Halloween
BOO! and welcome to the Storytime Blog Hop! This quarterly edition theme is, what else but Halloween? Talented authors share short fiction stories from 500-1000 words for your entertainment. You're invited to hop around the especially, creepy, scary cyberspace today to read fascinating stories based on the optional theme of Halloween. The list of participants is located at the bottom of the page. 

Have a safe and happy Halloween!
I apologize if I am breaking the rules today by sharing a story I shared 5 years ago on this blog. But it is so perfect for Halloween, I couldn't resist. This piece has a place in my heart because it was the impetus to spark my mystery novel, Deadly Undertaking. 

Deadly Undertaking
Paranormal Mystery
The book's setting is a funeral home because I am the daughter of an undertaker. And I have two brothers who are funeral directors. When I wrote this story for a fun blog post years ago, I had no idea I would have a published mystery from the idea. 

Anyway, it's Halloween, a time for fun, silly costumes, and candy! You'll have to decide if the tale I'm spinning is a trick or a treat. Take a break and have fun with this. You'll get to know me better after learning about my "growing up" years.
# # # 

TheUndertaker’s Daughter
By J Q Rose
I always thought of horror writers as eccentric, peculiar people. But my perception changed when a horror story sprang from my own mind. You can imagine my surprise when my mystery/horror tale Sunshine Boulevard was accepted and published in 2011. That made ME a published author of horror stories.

Right away, I must tell you I am not an eccentric, peculiar person. I’m just a regular woman who is a wife, mother, grandmother. I like eating a burger at McDonald's, shopping at Walmart, and reading mystery novels. But, perhaps some would think my childhood was different. You see, my father was an embalmer and funeral director. I was reared in a funeral home.

It was not unusual to have a dead body laid out in a casket several days in a row in our living room which converted to the funeral chapel. In fact, sometimes we’d have more than one body in our home. The embalming room was in the back of the house, and yes, I wore lots of perfume and soap to cover the pungent odor of formaldehyde on my clothes and hair
Casket
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay 
We had knee caps for ashtrays in the private area of our home…not in the public area because that may upset some folks. But Dad was a heavy smoker, so he appreciated having the convenience of an ashtray nearby at all times.

In our kitchen, boxes of ashes of the departed sat in the pantry shelves next to the canned green beans and corn. Some families squabbled over who was going to pay the funeral expenses for their dearly departed, so they never showed up to claim the ashes for fear of being left with the debt.  In one case the family of Ida Mayberry never claimed their sweet aunt. So Aunt Ida took up residence in the cupboard next to the baked beans.
Can of baked beans
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay 
Life as an undertaker’s daughter did not seem to be any big deal. My friends, well, most of them, were happy to come over and play hide and seek in the casket room or to swipe flowers out of the funeral arrangements to put in our hair for dress up.

My girlfriends did get upset when one of the spirits who regularly hung out in the funeral home flew by. The whoosh of air was the only indicator of their presence. Yes, I lost a couple of friends that way because they were scared to death…well, not literally. They just were creeped out especially when one of the spirits would knock over the Barbie dollhouse or send the collection of Barbies swirling around the room.

Needless to say, I enjoyed going to my friend’s house. It was a treat to open their pantry door to get a can of pineapple and not see the boxed ashes of poor Aunt Ida. I could never shake the sadness I felt for her because noone cared enough to bury her ashes or at least sprinkle them on their garden.

So, yes, some may believe it was an unusual childhood compared to the experiences of others. But I felt loved, secure, and safe at all times. And that’s what counts for a kid.

The growing up years certainly shape the adult one becomes. I don’t know if this is the reason I can write a horror story or not, but I can assure you I am a normal, well-rounded person, not eccentric or peculiar at all. In fact, I got rid of the knee cap ashtrays just last week. I do have Aunt Ida in the cupboard. Her family never claimed her and I have grown attached to her company.
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So do you believe what you read? I must confess most of it is made up. And of course, Deadly Undertaking is fiction, but I did have my funeral director brothers help me with the story. So, it's loosely based on the real funeral business. The keyword here is loosely.!
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EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!

Click here or on the JQ Rose Courier graphic at the top of the sidebar to have your copy of the JQ Rose Courier delivered to your inbox. You'll find out about new releases, giveaways, contests with prizes and what JQ is up to.
Thanks!
# # #
If you're not scared to death, please hop on over to the participants in the Storytime Blog Hop. The list is below.
PODCAST: General Link: Alone In A Room With Invisible People
  1. Family Time by Bonnie Burns
  2. The Exception by Vanessa Wells
  3. Number 99 by Juneta Key
  4. Edda’s Second Chance by Katharina Gerlach
  5. Very Thin Line by Rebecca Anne Dillon
  6. Henry Moves House by Nic Steven
  7. For The Ghost The Bell Tolls by James Husum
  8. Never Alone by Melanie Drake
  9. The Neighbor by Meghan Collins
  10. Storytime Blog Hop by Raven O'Fiernan
  11. Loney Lucy by Bill Bush
  12. The Traveler by Barbara Lund
  13. Evening by Karen Lynn
  14. Man Of Your Dreams by Gina Fabio
  15. The Undertaker's Daughter by J. Q. Rose
  16. The Road by Elizabeth McCleary
  17. Storytime Blog Hop by C. T. Bridges
  18. Storytime Blog Hop by Warp World Books

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

In the Spotlight: Nan Sanders Pokerwinski's Mango Rash, A Memoir

Mango Rash: Coming of Age in the Land of Frangipani and Fanta
by Nan Sanders Pokerwinski
Memoir
Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story blog. I have anticipated this day for a l-o-n-g time. My friend and talented writer, Nan Sanders Pokerwinski's memoir, Mango Rash: Coming of Age in the Land of Frangipani and Fanta, released today! 

We have been critique buddies for years. I was privileged to read her drafts of this book and brainstormed with her along the way. Now to see the actual book and turn its pages means it's time for a celebration! 

So put on your best flowered shirt, place a flower in your hair, a fragrant lei made of frangipani flowers around your neck and grab a bottle of orange Fanta. Feel the sun on your face and the gentle breezes ruffle your hair. Get in the tropical mood because Nan's book takes you away to the beautiful island of Samoa.
Mango Rash: Coming of Age in the Land of Frangipani and Fanta
by Nan Sanders Pokerwinski
Memoir
MANGO RASH: 
COMING OF AGE IN THE LAND OF FRANGIPANI AND FANTA
Nan Sanders Pokerwinski

BACK OF THE BOOK:

Moving to a South Pacific island from small-town Oklahoma, sixteen-year-old Nancy Sanders trades cruising Main Street in search of tater tots for strolling sandy shores with islanders who serenade sharks and feast on sea worms. With a dash of teenage sass, MANGO RASH chronicles Nancy's search for adventure—and identity—in two alien worlds: the tricky terrain of 1960's adolescence and the remote and rapidly-changing U.S. territory of American Samoa. In spite of palm trees and ocean breezes, island life is not one big beach party, Nancy finds when she clashes with her parents over forbidden boys, discovers double standards in the expat community, and cowers through a hurricane.

Like Nancy, readers of this unforgettable memoir will fall in love with Samoa's lava-rimmed beaches, frangipani-laced air, and open-hearted people, who face adversity with grace. And just as Nancy does when her own health crisis thrusts her into a very different kind of unfamiliar territory, readers will draw strength from fa'a Samoa: the Samoan Way. In language as lush as the island landscape, MANGO RASH enchants, entertains, and, ultimately, inspires with its message about embracing and learning from other cultures.
***
Mango Rash Buy Links:



Beach
Image by MustangJoe from Pixabay 
 MY REVIEW: Escape to the island of American Samoa and be swept away by its beauty and its story.  In her new release, Mango Rash, author Nan Pokerwinski takes readers along with her to this tropical place using her lyrical language, unique metaphors and warm and witty storytelling. In the 1960s, Nan's father signed up the whole family for the two-year commitment to work as a medical doctor at the island's hospital. 

Nan, at 16, worried about being an "outsider" in this unknown way-of-life". Yet, being tired of the hum-drum life in Stillwater, Oklahoma, she looked forward to something different and interesting. She hadn't planned to fall in love with the island, its people, the culture, and a boy. 

At the same time she was growing and changing, the Samoan culture was transforming due to the influence of America in their land. The comparison of Nan's struggles with adolescence against the backdrop of a changing Samoan culture fascinated me.

I thoroughly enjoyed the memories of the era so well recorded in this true memoir. I bonded with Nan when she referred to the times with songs like the Girl from Ipanema, the music of the Beach Boys, Tangee lipstick, Dippity Do. They were a flashback to my teen years, and I relished in the nostalgia. 

I recommend this book for readers of memoirs and those who love the '60's and anyone who enjoys a story filled with warmth, humor, snarkiness, deep emotion and sass.

ABOUT NAN:
Author Nan Sanders Pokerwinski

Nan Sanders Pokerwinski is a former science writer for the Detroit Free Press and the University of Michigan, whose award-winning work (under the byline Nancy Ross-Flanigan) has appeared in numerous other magazines, newspapers, and online publications. 

Click here to visit Nan's blog, Heartwood, which focuses on creativity, connection, and contentment.

When she's not writing, Nan takes photographs, makes collages, and wanders the woods around the West Michigan home she shares with her husband Ray Pokerwinski.


***

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!

Click here or on the JQ Rose Courier graphic at the top of the sidebar to have your copy of the JQ Rose Courier delivered to your inbox. You'll find out about new releases, giveaways, contests with prizes and what JQ is up to.
Thanks!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Come to the Halloween Book Fair!

Come to the Halloween Book Fair!
October 19

Come to the Fair,
the Halloween Book Fair, that is

What a selection of diverse genres, but ALL are scary stories. 

Join me along with many authors offering their best novels to frighten AND entertain you!

CLICK HERE to choose your book now!

Of course, Terror on Sunshine Boulevard is on the list!

What readers say about Terror on Sunshine Boulevard
Treat yourself this Halloween with a terrifying read!
Terror on Sunshine Boulevard
Click to order: Available at major online booksellers
Back of the Book: Terror on Sunshine Boulevard by J.Q. Rose
Rescuing a naked woman lying in a geranium bed or investigating mysterious murders are not the usual calls for first responder Jim Hart. He expects slip and fall accidents or low blood pressure emergencies in his retirement community of Citrus Ridge Senior Community and Golf Resort. The ghastly crime scenes turn the winter time fun into a terrifying season of death and mystery when the authorities cannot track down the predator responsible.

Jim and his wife Gloria could escape the horror and grief by returning to their northern home, but concern for their friends and residents keep them in Florida. With the entire community in a dither over the deaths, the Harts participate in the normal winter activities of golfing, dancing, and pool parties with their friends to distract them from the sadness and loss.

Can Jim and Gloria work with the authorities to discover who or what is killing the seniors on Sunshine Boulevard and stop the increasing body count?


                                         
Terror on Sunshine Boulevard by J.Q. Rose

Mystery-Paranormal


NEWS UPDATE: Terror on Sunset Boulevard is on sale at Smashwords for $2.99. 
Use the coupon code and choose your preferred format.
Click here to grab it now for your Halloween fun!


Also available at amazon:


Happy Halloween!!

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!

Click here or on the JQ Rose Courier graphic at the top of the sidebar to have your copy of the JQ Rose Courier delivered to your inbox. You'll find out about new releases, giveaways, contests with prizes and what JQ is up to.
Thanks!



Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Bookfinder for You! #AuthorToolboxBlog Hop

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop
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 to visit other blog hop participants.
🛠🛠🛠🛠

Is Bookfinder for You?

I just discovered this tool, Bookfinder, last week thanks to author and teacher, Rebecca Holman. Bookfinder is a unique tool for you if you have a book in print.


According to the website, Bookfinder.com, "is a one-stop eCommerce search engine that searches over 150 million books for sale—new, used, rare, out-of-print, and textbooks. We save you time and money by searching every major catalog online and letting you know which booksellers are offering the best prices and selection. When you find a book you like, you can buy it directly from the original seller; we never charge a markup."

You may be wondering why I would share a tool for out-of-print book searches. Actually, they also search for up-to-date print books with their prices. Not only is it a good tool for comparison shopping, but it can also "find" your book and you can discover where your book is being sold and the prices.

This tool opened my eyes to places where my books are being sold, not only at amazon and Barnes and Noble but also tucked away sellers I never imagined. 

I wondered why my books were in so many different booksellers. Rebecca Holman, an excellent teacher of no or low content books, explained it this way, "When you check expanded Distribution Amazon then allows thousands upon thousands of booksellers to have access to sell your books to their millions and millions of buyers. For you, it means FREE ADVERTISING. Some of the vendors are WalMart and Barnes and Nobles..which you couldn't even afford to buy an ad on, what so ever. That is why you get so little from Expanded Distribution because Amazon is basically using them to advertise your book and expand your reach."

Now that is exciting news! If you are an indie author, this may help you decide if you want to check Expanded Distribution or not for your books. With the Expanded Distribution, you do not receive as much royalty from the sale, but you may sell a larger number of books.

You may want to take a screenshot(s) of your results when you enter your book, print only, in the form. Then, in a month, take another screenshot to compare if you are in more stores or not. Keep a record of your growth, we hope, and see how it compares to your sales.

Have you used Bookfinder? What information do you glean from the results? If you are an indie author, what tools do you use to keep track of sales and in what location?
Please leave a comment below. Thanks for stopping in!
***
UPDATE ON KEYWORDS EVERYWHERE
Last month I shared the keyword finding tool, Keywords Everywhere. I just discovered, as of October 1, 2019, KE is no longer free. They are charging a minimal amount for the service. Click here to learn more about their explanation for going to a paid browser extension and the changes made to the program.
***

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!
Get your New from the J.Q. Rose Courier
Click here or on the JQ Rose Courier graphic at the top of the sidebar to have your copy of the JQ Rose Courier delivered to your inbox. You'll find out about new releases, giveaways, contests with prizes and what JQ is up to.
Thanks!
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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Chills and Giggles for Halloween: Terror on Sunshine Boulevard #BookHooks


Book Hooks Blog Hop 
#MFRWHooks


Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog. Today we're joining the Book Hooks Blog Hop sponsored by the Marketing For Romance Writers Group. Each participating blogger shares an excerpt from their book. I'm sharing my "terrifying" novel that is perfect for a scary Halloween read, Terror on Sunshine Boulevard.

A reader told me she discovered she shouldn't have read Terror on Sunshine Boulevard before bed. She was too scared to turn off the lights and go to sleep!


What readers say about Terror on Sunshine Boulevard


Do you enjoy being scared? Haunted houses? Horror movies? Scary books?
Please leave a comment below and let us know.
Treat yourself this Halloween with a terrifying read!
Terror on Sunshine Boulevard
Click to order: Available at major online booksellers
Back of the Book: Terror on Sunshine Boulevard by J.Q. Rose
Rescuing a naked woman lying in a geranium bed or investigating mysterious murders are not the usual calls for first responder Jim Hart. He expects slip and fall accidents or low blood pressure emergencies in his retirement community of Citrus Ridge Senior Community and Golf Resort. The ghastly crime scenes turn the winter time fun into a terrifying season of death and mystery when the authorities cannot track down the predator responsible.

Jim and his wife Gloria could escape the horror and grief by returning to their northern home, but concern for their friends and residents keep them in Florida. With the entire community in a dither over the deaths, the Harts participate in the normal winter activities of golfing, dancing, and pool parties with their friends to distract them from the sadness and loss.

Can Jim and Gloria work with the authorities to discover who or what is killing the seniors on Sunshine Boulevard and stop the increasing body count?


                                         Terror on Sunshine Boulevard by J.Q. Rose

                                                            Mystery-Paranormal

Excerpt: Terror on Sunshine Boulevard by J.Q. Rose, Chapter 8
Warning: This is the chills part of the blog post, not the giggles.

Turning on the warm water in the bathtub, she placed her hand under the faucet to gauge the temperature. When it was just right, she turned the shower on at full force, ready to step in for a relaxing indulgence with the warm water raining over her body.  Before Pamela could step in, she heard Noel’s moan from the bedroom. Terror clutched her throat. Oh, Noel, please don’t have a heart attack now! She yanked open the bathroom door and stood frozen in the doorway. The moonlight through the window added shimmer to the yellow stripes crawling across Noel’s naked body. When a blazing yellow light filled the bedroom, she slammed the bathroom door shut. The animal instinct to escape kicked in. Clambering onto the toilet and stepping onto the granite counter, she yanked the screen off the bathroom window and dove headfirst into the cool night air. She landed face down on top of the flowers in the wood-chipped flower bed below. Pamela’s screams pierced the night as she lay naked among the geraniums....to be continued.  


NEWS UPDATE: Terror on Sunset Boulevard is on sale at Smashwords for $2.99. 
Use the coupon code and choose your preferred format.
Click here to grab it now for your Halloween fun!


Also available at amazon:


Happy Halloween!!

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!

Click here or on the JQ Rose Courier graphic at the top of the sidebar to have your copy of the JQ Rose Courier delivered to your inbox. You'll find out about new releases, giveaways, contests with prizes and what JQ is up to.
Thanks!







Tuesday, October 1, 2019

IWSG Blog Hop: To Read or Not to Read--That is the Question

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.
***

Question for December 4


December 4 Question 

December 4 question - Let's play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?


A timely question for me this week. I just released my “heart work,” Your Words, Your Life Story: A Journal for Sharing Memories, a journal to record life stories. I call it my "heart work" because my passion is to encourage sharing the memories of a lifetime with family and friends.

When I was in a writer's group many years ago, a woman brought her great, great, great, great grandfather's diary to share with us. I believe it was written in the early 1800s. He was a minister living in London and a prolific writer. He described his everyday life in that era, peering into bookshop windows wishing he could afford to purchase those beautiful books. I can't remember exactly everything she read from the diary, but I do remember realizing how amazing it was to be able to step into the real world of a 19th-century gentleman. Not fiction, but his actual experience in those times. The diary was a treasure to me and to the minister's family.

This was a turning point in my life. I wanted to record my life stories for my kids. They wanted to know the story of how their dad and I met--a blind date, about our childhoods in small rural towns in Central Illinois and more.

I couldn't stop there because writing about the good old days and seeing my life through a lens at a different time allowed me a new perspective on experiences. I started presenting workshops.to encourage others to examine their lives and share their life experiences for family and future generations. 

The best part was not the teaching, but the times when participants read their stories to the group. Some so funny we laughed at the experience and others so poignant we had tears in our eyes. And these pieces were written by ordinary people living ordinary lives. 

Because the support of the participants to those who shared their writings was so helpful, I have established a Facebook group to those interested in telling their life stories and memoirs. You can ask questions, share your stories, offer suggestions and share tips. Plus we'll have fun with prizes and games. Click here to join the private group, Telling Life Stories and Memoirs Circle.

My dream soon became to teach more people how life-changing and satisfying sharing memories can be. I decided a book based on my workshops could reach around the world. After learning how popular low content books such as journals and planners are, I decided this was the path I had longed for.

Thus, my dream actually is a reality this week when I kick-off the book launch for Your Words, Your Life Story. When I was planning the book launch I was as giddy as a little kid. I never had this feeling when my mysteries were published. I was filled with pure joy knowing I would reach more folks all over the world and help them preserve their legacy for their children and family.

Take a peek at the book--8000 words with lined pages for journaling.
Your Words, Your Life Story is available in paperback at amazon
ISBN 978-1702360579
During the book launch I will be giving away this book at the stops along the way, so I am happy to offer a lucky commenter a free copy of Your Words, Your Life Story. right here on the Focused on Story blog. I can send you a PDF or if you are in the US and want to use the book as a journal, I can mail you a printed copy. Just leave a comment below that you are interested in having the book. I will select the winner of the drawing on Sunday, December 8 after 10 pm EST. Good luck!