Wednesday, January 27, 2021

My Dad, Excerpt from Arranging a Dream


My dad

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story blog! I am so glad you are here today.

 This week is my father's birthday. Dad would be 104 years old. He's been gone for 45 years, but I still miss him.

My memoir, Arranging a Dream: A Memoir, is about our life-changing year when my husband, my one-year-old daughter and I moved from family and friends and the security of two paychecks to West Michigan to become owners of a flower shop and greenhouses. In March of that year, 1976, my dad passed away. His passing turned my world sideways. Not only life-changing but also life-challenging. Dads and daughters have a special bond, and we certainly did.

I did not think I could move on from that horrible grief and despair that comes with losing a loved one. Those who have lost their family and friends to COVID come to mind as I write this. Believe me, you will conquer the grief and leave it behind, but the love and memories of your loved one will remain forever.

This excerpt from the memoir recounts how I shook off the sadness and found the strength to move on. 

Here is an excerpt from that chapter, My Dad.

Arranging a Dream: A Memoir

Arranging a Dream: A Memoir, Excerpt Chapter 16, My Dad

After we returned to Fremont, I went through the motions as a wife, mom, and shopkeeper, but I was in a daze. I was still in shock as I worked through the grieving process. Because we were newcomers to Fremont, we weren’t close to anyone. Ted and I only had each other for support, binding us closer together. 

At the craziest times, I would find myself bursting into tears standing in the grocery store aisle, working at the design table or fixing lunch for Sara. Often, I would go to the phone to call Dad to share something about my day, only to realize he would never be on the other end of the phone again. 

Anger filled my life. Anger with God for not saving Dad. With my dad for leaving us. He didn’t even have the chance to come up to Michigan to see our new place or learn about our floral business or play with Sara. 

He was gone. 


A month later, I was in the kitchen sipping coffee and finding it difficult to make myself get going. Instead, I wallowed in my sorrow. I heard Sara singing in her crib in her room off the kitchen. The refrain of one of her self-composed songs filled with gibberish carried through to the kitchen as her voice sang louder and louder with every note. I heard her stand up, so I snuck over to the doorway and peeked in. She was hanging onto the rail of her crib, dancing. When she spotted me watching her, she thrust her arms up in the air and yelled, “Mom, mom, mom” and flashed that dazzling smile. My heart filled with joy knowing, in her own one-year-old style, she was celebrating the morning and anticipating a new day ahead. 

Our daughter, Sara

Looking into her happy blue eyes, I realized I had to move on, if not for my sake, at least for Sara and Ted. I decided I would make it through one year without Dad; and then I’d be okay.


The best way to keep my dad’s memory alive and to honor him is to remember all he had instilled in me while growing up and to practice those lessons. He always pointed out the beautiful things surrounding us in nature like a wide-open prairie sunset, the glitter of the sun on a spider web, and the way the leaves on the trees flipped over before a storm. 

He never gossiped about anyone or badmouthed a person. He never swore, well, except the time when my brother’s class ring was not correct, and the shopkeeper would not do anything to make it right. 

A sense of mischief popped out in his odd sense of humor. He’d go for coffee at Turner’s, the local greasy spoon located on Route 66, where they called him Digger. He carried a measuring tape in his pocket to measure up anyone who gave him a hard time, being sure he would order the right sized casket for the jokester. He cared about people and appreciated the simple things in life. I wanted to be just like him as a business person, friend, and parent. But most of all, I wanted to teach Sara the same lessons by example.

Virtual Book Tour 2020-21

 The Virtual Book Tour Continues: I visited with multi-genre author and generous supporter of authors, Janet Lane Walters, over the weekend. Click her name below to stop over at her blog, The Eclectic Writer.

 Janet Lane Walters 

Upcoming stops are scheduled with Helen Henderson, Ellen Jacobson and Pat Garcia. I'll have their links next week so you can pop-over and visit!

Click Here to receive updates from J.Q. Rose, articles, newsworthy events, giveaways in the Rose Courier
Delivered to your inbox once a month.   

Thank you!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Update: Kitchen Do-Over is Finished!! Arranging a Dream Virtual Book Tour Continues, FREE eBook

Hello and welcome! Update on the Kitchen Do-Over today.

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.

Before the tearing down of the cabinets, we had to empty them of all food, small appliances, bowls, pots and pans and move all of it to the back bedroom 

We removed all the drawers and gave them to a gentleman who is a woodworker.
The rest of the cabinets went to the dump. They were not full cabinets, but doors attached to the frame and were not good enough to salvage. We saved the knobs though!


The sink was in this corner at 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? Compare the first photo with the sink in place in the first picture.

Now the new cabinets are in place, but that's about it. The old sink is temporarily set in place under the window. I love how getting rid of the sink opened up the room. Compare the first picture with this one and you can notice the wall under the window is empty now. No countertop or microwave over the range. No new floor. 

See the cute light over the sink. Adds to the "beachy" atmosphere.

This was the most difficult part of the whole renovation. No, not applying the tiles to the wall! Selecting the tiles to put on the wall! LOL. So many styles and colors. 
Standing in the lumber company, staring at all the choices and in that warehouse style lighting, it was impossible to imagine what the combination of countertop and tiles would look like once the tiles are installed. BTW, installing IS a difficult job. Grouting and then wiping off the haze that appears on the tiles a countless number of times is no fun. GT did a marvelous job on this tedious project.
This is my favorite nook. The light, the tiles, the wallpaper, the cabinet all come together beautifully.

Ta dah!! Finished!
Due to the lighting, the floor and counter look more brownish, but in the daylight they are gray.

The refrigerator side. I seem to have more room for storage now even if I did lose a cabinet in order to put in the dishwasher and reduced the size of the pantry.
I really loved my palm trees border, gold wallpaper and painted white cabinets when we remodeled the kitchen when we moved in on January 2006. So glad we updated the look and added the dishwasher and microwave over the range for 2021!


I am excited about the kitchen make-over, but nothing compares to the fantastic response by the readers to my newly released memoir,  Arranging a Dream: A Memoir. I appreciate the touching reviews and comments in emails and on blog posts. 

I am having a blast on the virtual blog tour for the memoir. I am meeting so many generous authors and fabulous readers. Click the authors' names to join me.  During my visit with Helena Fairfax across the pond, we talked about getting ready for spring gardening. At Marsha West's site in Texas, Marsha asked many questions for readers to learn more about me and the book. Yes, I do get around!!

Jacqui Murray reviewed my book at the Word Dreams blog. Her words left me misty-eyed when I read it. Her 5-Star review:

J.Q. Rose’s Arranging a Dream (BWL Publishing 2021) is a how-to in buying a family business (in this case, a flower shop and greenhouse) in an industry you know nothing about in a town you’d never even visited before all this started, with a tiny support system of unknown provenance–all while raising a family. In Janet’s case, she and her husband gave up solid predictable jobs for the unpredictability of being self-employed. Janet took classes to learn the basics and then trusted herself to solve each problem as it arose. 

Turns out, with passion, drive, and a clever mind, that works nicely. This is a delightful memoir of the growth of Janet’s family business and how it fits nicely with her personal dreams. I’d categorize it as a Quiet Memoir (link may not be available yet)–memoirs that deal with more common topics that are made uncommon by the author’s voice. Dorothy Rice says: 

“Memories…are often quiet, more echo than boom, more lingering sense than clamor, more subtext than headline.” 

In this case, J.Q.’s voice is approachable, friendly, vulnerable, and honest, innately addressing the worries we’d all have if we started a business, or didn’t. See if you agree that Janet’s voice is what makes this memoir truly stand out:

“…for the first time, I was always second-guessing my instincts.”

“We had followed the map’s directions to find our destination. If only we had a map to know if this place was the right direction we should take for our future.”

“…could “Ted-gineer” anything [Ted is Janet’s husband].”

5/5 for this memoir, and a worthy read if you're interested in exploring a life well lived with good decisions followed through to success.

BTW, husband Ted is amazing.

–I received an ARC of this book but the opinions are my own.

Click here to download your copy from your favorite digital bookseller. 
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 romance, Powerful Destiny by award-winning author Tricia McGill. BWL is giving away a free eBook every month in 2021! 

Virtual Book Tour 2020-21

Thank you for stopping by!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

A Snowy Morning in 1975, #MFRWHooks, VIDEO


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. Today, I share an excerpt from my memoir, Arranging a Dream: A Memoir, just released on January 1, 2021.

Arranging a Dream: A Memoir
by J.Q. Rose


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.

A cup of tea and a "warm, enlightening memoir"

If you are experiencing snow during January, you may want to snuggle into your comforter with a cup of tea and read this excerpt about the snowy morning I experienced in 1975. We had just moved into our apartment in West Michigan the day before. My first wake-up in our new home did not go as planned.

You may watch the video of the reading or scroll farther down for the excerpt.
VIDEO: Settling In

VIDEO: Settling In
Excerpt from Arranging a Dream, Chapter 7, Settling In

EXCERPT: Beginning of Chapter 7, Settling In 

The next morning, the first wake-up in our new apartment, a yelp of surprise and delight erupted from me as I surveyed the snow-blanketed landscape out the front apartment window overlooking the street below. From our second-story perch, I could see all the way to Fremont Lake. Tall pine trees bowed with the weight of the snow. Overnight the view had changed and now reminded me of a painting in a children’s picture book in grays, whites, and blues.

For a girl raised in the middle of the cornfields in Central Illinois, the landscape’s beauty was one I had never experienced. Snow fell in Illinois, but rarely like this.

I heard Ted at the kitchen door stomping the snow off his shoes before stepping in on the kitchen floor. The sound of the door slammed shut behind him. I rushed to the kitchen to see him headed for the coffee pot. Unfortunately, he didn’t remove his shoes and tracked snow across the floor.

 “Isn’t it gorgeous outside?” I flung my hands to the window that faced the back yard of the shop.

When he turned from the coffee pot with mug in hand, I nearly gasped seeing his scowling face. For sure, he had no appreciation for the beauty of the snowfall.

“What’s wrong?” I stepped nearer to him, hoping our conversation wouldn’t wake Sara.

“Look outside. The U-Haul truck is buried in the snow. I’ve been out there shoveling. But there’s no way I can do it. I’m going to have to get somebody to tow it out of there.” He took a sip of hot coffee.

My happy countenance turned to malevolent dread. We had to return the truck to the company before noon or pay for another day’s rental.

“I’m going to call the Ford dealership, Wiersema Ford, across the street from the shop. I hope they can help us out.”

“Well that’s one way to meet the new neighbors,” I joked. He didn’t laugh.

After the phone call, the tow truck arrived and easily towed the truck out of the snow. What a great neighbor we had. We returned the truck to the U-Haul dealer in town on time.

I had no idea on that first morning that I wouldn’t see bare ground in Michigan again until May!

Nothing could ruin that day for me. After the months of planning, the sale of our home in Marseilles, the floral design schooling and absence from Sara, the packing and finally the trip north, I was anxious to make our dream come true. I hoped our bright dreams of a smooth road to success wouldn’t turn into a bumpy, curvy road of regret.

Arranging a Dream: A Memoir is available at major online booksellers. Click the Universal Link to find your favorite retailer.

UNIVERSAL LINK  eBooks from your favorite digital bookseller.

 Paperback from amazon

Thank you for stopping in!

Click here to visit bloggers participating in the #MFRWhooks  Blog Hop!

Click Here to receive updates from J.Q. Rose, articles, newsworthy events, giveaways in the Rose Courier
Delivered to your inbox once a month.   
Thank you!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

IWSG Blog Hop: When Do I Not Read a Book?, Virtual Book Tour, Video


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.

Happy Happy New Year!!!
Happy IWSG Blog Hop Day!!

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 January 6 posting of the IWSG are Ronel Janse van Vuuren , J Lenni Dorner, Gwen Gardner Sandra Cox, and Louise - Fundy Blue!

Question of the Month

January 6 question - Being a writer, when you're reading someone else's work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people's books?

Reading through excessive typos and awkward sentences are my first thoughts to answer this question of what stops me from reading a book. I say that, and yet, I know I am not perfect. I can read my ms 100 times looking for errors. I still have not conquered removing or adding a period, comma, quotation marks from the pages. So I do give the author the benefit of the doubt if I discover some mistakes. Excessive is the operative word here. 

Otherwise, I give up on a book filled with too many characters. If I have to constantly page back through the story to remind me of the role the character plays, then I quit. I don't want to work to read a story. I want to sit back, relax and enjoy the author's creation.


I am thrilled to share with you the exciting news! My memoir, Arranging a Dream: A Memoir released on January 1, 2021! I have begun the Virtual Book Tour and am loving every minute of meeting readers, bloggers and authors as I sail through cyberspace. Even more, fun, is giving away a PDF copy to a lucky commenter. Please join me on the journey. Below are my hosts for interviews and spotlight features. 

Arranging a Dream: A Memoir Virtual Book Tour

Click on the highlighted names to visit my hosts' sites. C ya' there!!

In December:

Sandra Cox Tips on Flower Arranging

Nan Sanders Pokerwinski Interview by an award-winning memoirist

BWL Publishing Insiders Blog About writing

Joylene Nowell Butler Spotlight

                       Arizona Authors Association Blog   Writing fiction and non-fiction

In January:

Diane Bator Interview by multi-genre author

Don Levin Interview by mystery author

IWSG Alex Thanks for the shout out!

                     Coming up in January

 9  Helena Fairfax

11 Natalie Aguirre Followers News

14 Marsha West

18  Jacqui Murray review

 22-23 Janet Lane Walters 2 days


Just for fun, I'm adding the video of opening the box filled with my memoir. This is the first peek at seeing the paperback. This makes my heart go pitter-patter as I slice open the box. What a moment. 


Opening the box containing my memoir for the first peek

JQ Rose, author

 Stay-Up-To-Date with J.Q. Rose--articles, news, prizes, sneak peeks, guest authors and books.
Click here to get the January issue of the Rose Courier delivered to your inbox once a month.
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