Monday, November 30, 2020

IWSG Blog Hop: The Most Productive Time for Writing

 

Hello and Welcome to the Focused on Story Blog 
AND the Insecure Writers Support Group Blog Hop


Always on the first Wednesday of the month.
#IWSGbloghop

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.
✰✰✰✰
Thank you to the co-hosts for the December 2 posting of the IWSG--Pat Garcia, Sylvia Ney, Liesbet @ Roaming About Cathrina Constantine, and Natalie Aguirre!
Question of the Month

Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive 
with your writing than other months, and why?

My usual writing time splintered when COVID hit. I could not focus on anything for a couple of months. Trying to wring out a sentence, let alone, a whole story or blog post was similar to me throwing a wad of words in the air. When they landed on the paper, they made a jumbled mess. 

Usually, I am more productive during the winter months when we are in Florida. The family is in Michigan so there is no babysitting or family dinners. I don't attend any writers' meetings or Bible studies. Those are all available in our area, however, getting away for the winter is similar to the way I felt when going to church camp as a kid. No responsibility. And I like to keep it that way, so I can concentrate on writing, reading and playing.

BIG NEWS!

Arranging a Dream: A Memoir Winter Book Tour kicks off this Friday, December 4.

I am so excited to hit the road and visit bloggers and readers during the Virtual Book Tour for my new release from BWL Publishing, Arranging a Dream: A Memoir. 

December 4--Multigenre author Sandra Cox will be my first host on the tour on Friday, December 4 at Sandra's Place. Click here to join us for a lesson on fresh flower arranging. A lucky commenter will receive a free copy of the memoir too. You could be the one!

I could not have taught anyone how to arrange flowers when we purchased the flower shop and greenhouse operation in 1976. I knew nothing about flowers and GT (who now can be known as Greenhouse Ted as well as Gardener Ted) grew flats of flowers and veggies in his own little hobby house attached to the back of the garage. Why would the owners of the floral shop even consider selling the place to us? I don't know, but I do know they probably regretted it. Talk about conflict in a story. There's plenty in this one.

December 16--I'll be popping in for a Question and Answer session with my friend and memoirist Nan Sanders Pokerwinski. In fact, her award-winning memoir, Mango Rash, inspired me to publish my memoir. When you stop by, be sure to take some time to browse through her blog for amazing photos and interviews. Click here to find us at her home in the northwoods of Michigan on December 16.



The December edition of The Rose Courier will be delivered next week. 
Click here to keep up-to-date with JQ Rose, 
read articles, meet new authors, get freebies and more.

Thank you for stopping in today.  Click here to visit bloggers participating in the IWSG Blog Hop.
Happy December!
Happy IWSG Day!


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Arranging a Dream: A Memoir Excerpt: Thanksgiving 1976

 

Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving Dinner?

Thanksgiving is a special time of year for all of us. It's a reminder to be "in the attitude of gratitude." I wish we could remember to be thankful for the little things and the big things every day. 

This year's holiday celebrations will be different for many of us due to the COVID crisis. Get-togethers will be smaller, if at all. We may be eating turkey in separate houses, but we can still be together through the phone and the Internet and always connected from heart-to-heart.

Thanksgiving 1976 was a peculiar one for my hubby, GT, our 2-year-old daughter, Sara and me. We had moved from Central Illinois to a town in West Michigan. We had no family or friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. 

Here's an excerpt from my memoir about that first Thanksgiving in our small apartment over the shop where we lived our dream of having a floral and greenhouse business.

Chapter 26--Autumn's Lights, near the end of the book. I deleted some lines that contained "spoilers."

Hattie is the previous shop owner.

Fairview Floral, our shop and greenhouses in 1976. The apartment was over the shop.

I looked forward to Thanksgiving Day, a non-holiday for florists since, like Easter, folks spent their dollars on a turkey and all the fixings, not flowers. I relaxed during this beautiful time of year taking time to give thanks for my family, our new life in Fremont and for the opportunity to grow our business.

I was thankful for returning customers like Galloping George who picked up a rose, babies’ breath and greens for the lady friend of the week and Frenchy who owned the tavern in Holton. He faithfully ordered funeral flowers for his patrons who passed. The Hesperia funeral home called us for family flowers. Friends from church ordered flowers when it was their turn to provide flowers in the sanctuary. And yes, many of Hattie’s customers stayed with us.

I thanked God for Sara Elizabeth and cherished my role as a mother. She turned two-years-old in November. How different mothering a toddler compared to a baby. She had developed her good-natured personality with her likes and dislikes. She toddled around the shop and greenhouse, charming customers, and she loved accompanying Daddy on deliveries. And I should say, Daddy loved her company.

We were alone to celebrate turkey day because we had to prepare for the long Christmas holiday ahead instead of making a trip to Illinois to be with our families. Having Ted and Sara with me was enough. Ted prepared the festive bird and I did my best to add delicious side dishes like sweet potatoes, canned jellied cranberry sauce, which he loves, corn and pumpkin pie that I had learned to make in high school home-economics class.

We sat at our dining room table graced with a floral centerpiece of fresh fall-colored flowers and lighted by the hanging lamp Ted had gifted me. Expressing out loud what we are thankful for has become a family tradition for us. For me, choosing just one was difficult.

As we held hands and said grace, my body relaxed with contentment remembering the blessings we had received through that year. Squeezing Sara’s and Ted’s hands with that extra touch of love completed my thanksgiving prayer.

I am thankful this year for the opportunity to finish writing my story, Arranging a Dream: A Memoir. At first, it was hard to focus on my life 45 years ago because of the uproar and anxiety during the COVID crisis. But eventually, the writing became a safe place for me to leave the reality behind to disappear into the '70s. 

I have written mysteries and non-fiction articles for years, so the memoir became a mix of fiction and non-fiction. The facts and emotions are true. The elements of fiction are also in the story with the people in my life becoming the characters, the conflict we had with the previous owners, as well as the stress and anxiety of being a new mom. Having to learn about operating a business and become a floral designer over night certainly conflicted my emotions. Our small town of Fremont, Michigan could have been fictional. In fact, my romantic suspense, Dangerous Sanctuary takes place in a small town very similar to Fremont. But in my memoir, our beloved little city is the perfect backdrop for this real story.

I am also thankful to you for your support and encouragement throughout these years of writing.



Arranging a Dream: A Memoir by J.Q. Rose
This is the story I worked on during the COVID crisis.

Back of the Book:

In 1975, budding entrepreneurs Ted and Janet purchase a floral shop and greenhouses where they plan to grow their dream. Leaving friends and family behind in Illinois and losing the security of two paychecks, they transplant themselves, their one-year-old daughter, and all their belongings to Fremont, Michigan, where they know no one. 

Will the retiring business owners nurture Ted and Janet as they struggle to develop a blooming business, or will they desert the young couple to wither and die in their new environment?

Most of all, can Ted and Janet grow together as they cultivate a loving marriage, juggle parenting with work, and root a thriving business?

Follow this couple’s inspiring story, filled with the joy and triumphs and the obstacles and failures experienced as they travel along the turbulent path of turning dreams into reality.


The print book is available now. Click here to order from amazon.
Pre-order is available at your favorite digital bookseller with a pre-order price of $2.99. The eBook will be delivered to your reading device as if by magic on Launch Day, January 1. 

Happy Thanksgiving!
What 3 things are you grateful for today? Please leave a comment below.

To those who celebrate the holiday, 
I wish you a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving in the USA!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Kitchen Do-Over, Latest News on My Memoir, FREE eBook

 

A Kitchen Do-Over Report

Hello and welcome! Update on the Kitchen Do-Over today. GT and his brother have been busy! 

Take a peek.


 

The sink was in this corner on an angle. You can see exactly where the cabinet stood because the '70s vinyl is still on the floor. Remember those good ole days of Harvest gold and green?




Electrical work is done and cabinets installed. That sink is just sitting in the cabinet so I could get used to the idea of a sink that sits straight, not on an angle. I love the extra space now; it makes the kitchen look wider! The vacant spot between the sink cabinet and the next cabinet is the space saved for a dishwasher to be delivered on Nov. 20. Been here 15 years and no dishwasher. What a change that will be!

We started adding the jewelry to the kitchen, the knobs and pulls. What a difference. Check out my adorable light over the sink. I'm going for a beachy, coastal look. I told GT I want to stand in my new beach house kitchen and peer out the new window. In my imagination, I can see the sloops and schooners of the days of old sailing across the rolling waves of the gulf. He just shook his head. 

I guess it's just my writerly mind that cannot stop making up stories. I will definitely invite you over for coffee when that muscled pirate with the full beard and dark eyes knocks on my kitchen door. Aargh.  I'd better get some ale stowed in the refrigerator!

Click here to visit the first report on my kitchen do-over.


I am excited about the kitchen do-over, but I am over the moon about my memoir, 
Arranging a Dream: A Memoir being available now on pre-order. The print book is ready too!

Four plus years of working on this book and now it is available to readers. I love the comments from the early readers. One called the story " fascinating" and another said "heart-grabbing." 
Click here to pre-order the book from amazon. It will be delivered to your device on January 1, 2021, the official launch date. 
Click here to order the paperback book from amazon.

Thank you to BWL Publishing for making another dream come true for me.
Click here to visit the BWL Publishing site and download a free sweet Christmas romance story by talented author Nancy Bell, A Longview Christmas.

Virtual Book Tour

Come back next week for another kitchen update and news about my Virtual Book Tour. 

If you would like to swap newsletters or blog posts or help me shout about my new release via spotlights please leave a comment below or email me at jqrose02@gmail.com. Thank you!!






Tuesday, November 10, 2020

My Life and My Writing Life Updates by J.Q. Rose

 

Preparing for my kitchen remodel

My Life and My Writing Life Updates by J.Q. Rose

Hello and welcome! Just a quick stop-over this week to update you on the happenings going on in my life and writing life. 

MY LIFE: 

The photo is my kitchen. Yes, we unloaded all the cabinets so we could tear them out and replace them with new cabinets. Tearing out is the operative expression. What a mess. But oh what fun to have a great project like this. Living through it may be a test for my left-brained tendency. 

This is an important project, not only because it will be quite an improvement to my 15-year-old kitchen, but especially because my hubby, GT, is strong enough to do the job this year. In the past 3 years, he has had a hip replacement, a shoulder replacement, and a do-over on the first hip replacement because it was loose. That recovery was more difficult than the original. 

Last summer he was strong enough to work in the garden. And we had a fantastic year for gardening. That experience really built his muscles and stamina. He was ready to be active in Florida, so here we go ripping out the kitchen.

WRITING LIFE: 

Arranging a Dream: A Memoir
Official launch date January 1
Pre-order and Paperback available December 1

1. I am thrilled to report that I have turned in the ms for my memoir, Arranging a Dream: A Memoir, to my publisher. Now I am working on writing a book description for the sales page and choosing keywords to draw readers to my book. 

Here's the latest book description with help from my friend and memoirist, Nan Sanders Pokerwinski and mystery author, W S Gager:

In 1975, budding entrepreneurs Ted and Janet purchase a floral shop and greenhouses where they plan to grow their dream. Leaving friends and family behind in Illinois and losing the security of two paychecks, they transplant themselves, their one-year-old daughter, and all their belongings to Fremont, Michigan, where they know no one. 

Will the retiring business owners nurture Ted and Janet as they struggle to develop a blooming business, or will they desert the young couple to wither and die in their new environment?

Most of all, can Ted and Janet grow together as they cultivate a loving marriage, juggle parenting with work, and root a thriving business?

This part of the publishing business is the most difficult for me. Writing someone else's description is easier than writing my own. 

Keyword choices are one of the things that drive interest in the book. The other elements needed to make a sale after the book is discovered are an eye-catching book cover and the description sometimes known as the "blurb." Hopefully, these will garner readers who will leave reviews that get amazon's attention.

Your Words, Your Life Story: A Guide for Sharing Memories by J.Q. Rose
This book is a collection of information I use in my Life Storytelling Workshops to begin your life story.

2. I created a how-to book on writing life stories, Your Words,Your Life Story: A Guide for Sharing Memories and published it in December. Now I am following that up with a companion book with topics to spark memories. This journal for life storytellers allows the writer to keep their stories in a safe place.

New book cover for Girls Succeed!
I'm not sure if this is the one. What do you think?


3. Revising, updating and adding new content to my eBook for inspiring girls to dream big, Girls Succeed! Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women. The chapters are mini-biographies of amazing women who are fantastic role models for girls 10-14 years old. 

Do you see a theme here about life stories--mine, yours, and these wonderful women who trusted me to tell their story?

November is Life Writing Month. I hope you will consider writing down some stories for your family and friends. You can start with how 2020 has affected your life. You are an eyewitness to history and I'm sure there will be all kinds of stories about it. You can tell the truth about this year with your experiences and not let the media spin it the way they reported it.



If you'd like some tips on writing, recording or making a video of your life story, please click here to join my FB group, Telling Your Life Story and Memoirs Circle.


The Rose Courier will be delivered this Friday if you have signed up.
Click here if you wish to keep up-to-date with JQ Rose,
read articles, meet new authors, get freebies and more.

Thank you for stopping in. If you're an author, do you find it difficult to write your book description?
If you're a reader, what helps you decide to buy a book when browsing online or in a brick and mortar store?





Tuesday, November 3, 2020

IWSG Blog Hop: Writing to Discover and Understand Me

 

Hello and Welcome to the Focused on Story Blog 
AND the Insecure Writers Support Group Blog Hop


Always on the first Wednesday of the month.
#IWSGbloghop

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.
✰✰✰✰
The awesome co-hosts for the November 4 posting of the IWSG are Jemi Fraser, Kim Lajevardi, L.G Keltner, Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria!

Question of the month

November 4 question - Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

I just finished my final manuscript for my memoir, Arranging a Dream: a Memoir, and sent it off to my publisher yesterday. Do you feel like I do when I "let it go" out into the world? Scared to hear comments about it, but glad that I have the opportunity to enrich a reader's life with my words.


Arranging a Dream: a Memoir by J.Q. Rose
Official book launch January 1, 2021

I have written mysteries to entertain readers, but along the way, a message comes through without my knowing it until the book is done. A memoir, also known as creative non-fiction, is so different from writing fiction where everything is made up. The writer can go hog-wild and write about alien worlds, space operas, contemporary romance and no one cares if it's true. I stay away from historicals because I know the readers are well-versed in the era and can pick up on details that are not true to the times.

A memoir tells the truth about real life. That is very difficult for a fiction writer! A memoir only covers a slice of life, not the entire life from beginning to present. 

I wrote my story thinking it would be for my kids. I wanted to encourage our kids to dream big for their lives. I chose to write about the first year we were in the flower business. That was our dream--to be entrepreneurs in the greenhouse business. Somehow, we fell in love with a greenhouse operation attached to a flower shop. What's your passion? Find your passion and go for it. 

As I wrote it, the story turned into something like fiction because I had the character, me, and conflicts, the previous owner and not knowing a thing about business or floral design, and such a great setting. I thought this story could inspire folks not to give up on their dreams. To go for it. That's when I decided to approach my publisher to see if she would consider publishing my memoir, and she said yes. So the book's official launch date from BWL Publishing is January 1, 2021. What a way to start the new year, eh?

"I write to discover what I know."--My discovery, as I looked back through the lens of time, is how much the previous owner and I were alike. In fact, I treated the young couple who bought our business just like Hattie treated me! She was condescending to me and took on the role of my sixth-grade teacher always finding fault.

Now I know why--because they, like us when we bought Hattie's business, wanted to change things. I understand why Hattie would get upset with us. Change is hard. The fear that the change will ruin the business for the new owners and for the seller is real. I never made that connection until I finished the book. 

Memoir writing does that for those who visit events through a new perspective--time. Writers discover more about themselves during the journey. And that's what it is--a journey for a new understanding.

I hope you will try it. So much fun sharing the good old days with friends and family and getting their perspectives on what occurred so many years ago. Believe me, each person will have a different recollection about past experiences even if you were there with them. 

November is National Life Writing Month

November is National Life Writing Month. Time to break out a journal or notebook and make some entries about your life. If you don't know how to begin, google "life story writing prompts" or "memoir prompts." 

Your Words, Your Life Story: A Journal for Sharing Memories
by J.Q. Rose

I can also offer a shameless plug for my book on telling your life story which helps spark memories. I cannot help it. I am a life storytelling evangelist!
Click here for the book, Your Words, Your Life Story packed with tips to get you started and keep you going on your journey.



 And an invite to my private FB group for life storytellers. Click here to join Telling Your Life Story and Memoirs Circle.

Thank you for stopping in.  Click here to visit more participating bloggers.