The Power of Words

I was listening to the news on my way to work one day and heard a story about bird flu and how the authorities were managing the outbreak. One announcer used the term “depopulate” to describe the actions taken. It totally startled me out of my mood, you know the one, you’re driving, attending to the road and only a part of your brain listens to the music or news. Well, this definitely made me start thinking of the power of words. The local news shifted to national and oddly enough, the same story was followed by the national press. This time, the word used to describe the situation was that the authorities planned to “cull” the flock that was infected to prevent a larger outbreak.

While both words were accurate in describing the actions taken, I vastly preferred the word cull. To me, it was more accurate, more succinct and definitely more powerful. While the first story definitely pulled my attention to the situation, the word depopulate somehow struck me as vague and too politically correct.

Which brings me to the focus of my blog today. How writers find the right words to use in their books and what happens when a word isn’t the perfect word to describe a situation. I suspect the same thing happens to a reader that happened to me. It jars them away from the situation. But in this case, the situation would be the world we create as writers.

I love words, it’s one of the reasons I love to write. I love the sound of words, the way the play upon the tongue as you utter them. I love to read them, hearing them in my mind while at the same time watching the scene they describe unfold in my brain. But when I read a jarring, misspelled or grammatically incorrect word, I’m pulled from the scene and examine the word or the sentence itself. Often, when I’m editing my own work.

So, in closing, I hope I use the best, most descriptive and most succinct words possible in my next releases. And I hope I don’t jar a reader from the carefully constructed world I’ve built just by using a careless phrase or term.

Happy Reading!

This entry was posted on April 1, 2017. 1 Comment

The New Year

Okay, let’s face it. Most of us make resolutions and then break them about three weeks (days) into the new year. But I always have a positive outlook on them, at least before the clock strikes 12:01. So, here goes, my writing and reading resolutions for the year 2017.

As far as writing is concerned, I want to post in this blog more often. All of the handful of readers can rejoice! Ha! I enjoy sharing my thoughts occasionally but also am aware that sometimes, my navel gazing can be boring, so I’m going to write about other people in the blog, as well as events and things that are important to me.

It goes without saying that I’ll be writing my romantic fiction this coming year as well, and hope to have good news in the future. I have several projects in the works, but that will have to be discussed in upcoming blogs. Gotta save some material for the dry spells, huh!

As far as being a reader, I’ve always read, ever since I learned while interfering with my father while he tried to read the evening paper. Yep, I was the kid perched on his knee asking “what’s that word?” over and over until he gave in an taught me to sight read. I regularly read before sleeping and have started the Harry Potter series over. I love the fact that when I reread books, I discover even more wonderful things about the books every time. My newest resolution concerning reading is this; I want to read one new genre or author a month. This year I discovered Kate Wilhelm, a mystery author my mother’s age who apparently wrote well into her eighties. Wish she still were able to write the Barbara Halloway series. And I rediscovered my love of history with books by Sara Donati ( The Gilded Hour and her Into the Wilderness series) as well as history of women in war. I’m still devouring books about that.

I’m looking forward to the new year and my writing/reading resolutions. These I think I can meet! What about you? Do you make resolutions? And do you keep them? What promises have you made yourself for the new year?

The Creative Mind

As a creative type, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is something missing in the creative mind. It’s a block that other people, the more left brained, constrained type appear not to have. It’s that mechanism that keeps them from standing in the middle of a parking lot and staring at the clouds’ formations or the color of the late summer sky. It’s that awareness of what others will think if they stop and talk to the small child who is pretending that he is a star warrior, not only stop but add to the kid’s tale.

I’ve always been considered odd by my family and “creative” by my friends. As people become familiar with me, they come to consider it typical for me to stop and watch a dandelion fluff burst into flight. To pull out a scrap of paper and scribble something on it after walking past a couple arguing or cuddling or walking hand in hand. So, I’ve come to the non-scientific conclusion that I have something missing.

I’m convinced that most people see the same things I do. But their reactions are almost always different from mine. A “typical” day can become inspiration for a story or a scene or, even better, a source of joy for me. I love walking and watching, seeing life evolve around me. For others, a leaf twirling on the end of a tree branch doesn’t warrant several minutes’ observation. But for the creative mind, it’s a wonder, a priceless gift of the day.

I used to think I was something less because I had that “mechanism” missing in my brain. I stood out as a bit odd, a little different from others. Now, as I become older, I’m convinced God blessed me with a gift. The gift of seeing the small things. Of feeling the joys and sadness that life’s foibles bring.

It’s a two-edged gift, of course. I also feel the intense sadness of life. But, for now, I choose to see the happy face of a flower as it blooms in the rain and will stand in a down pour to commune with nature.

This entry was posted on June 28, 2016.

My New Year’s Resolutions, part two

I’ve posted about my writing resolutions this year and here is the health related ones. If you had a chance to hop over to the guest blogpost I had with Mustard Seed Botanicals, you notice that I’m trying to eat healthier. I haven’t viewed that as a resolution, as I’ve tried to do that for a while now. Eating less processed foods and cooking for the week, or part of it, anyway, is something that I’ve found helps me feel much better. I don’t always do that, but when I do I usually lose weight without altering any other area of my life.

This year, though I’m making a new resolution. It’s a simple one, so I’m in hope of being able to meet it. I’m going to walk everyday.

Hey, it’s not so funny. In my day job, I’m driving between schools all day and sitting most of the rest of it, so I don’t get a lot of movement during the day. Walking as exercise has always been touted as a great and efficient (not to mention inexpensive) way to get healthy and to lose weight. So, I’m going to walk on my Treadclimber or outside. I’ve walked so far this week (started on Monday) and feel much better after wards. I’m only starting at 15 minutes at 2.0 miles an hour, but on my Treadclimber, it’s like I’m climbing a hill all the way. For a person with a history of giving out on any hikes that incorporate a hill, that’s okay as a start. I’ll increase the time and speed as I go, but I’m just grateful I have an opportunity to do this simple exercise.

 

What do you do for your health? Are you trying to turn over a new leaf this year? What are they?

This entry was posted on January 7, 2016.

I’m a guest blogger!

I’m guest blogging Mustard Seed Botanicals blog today!

The blog is an interesting one that features Shakelee products as well as an inaugural Mustard Seed catalog. The whole site is dedicated to living more healthy, with the Mustard Seed blog contributing ideas for that. I’m incorporating some of my ideas regarding that in my guest blog. The title is Cooking Healthy for the Week for One. I hope you’ll check it out as well as the cool Mustard Seed site. Here is the link.

http://mustardseedbotanicalsmsmg.weebly.com/mustard-seed-blog

This entry was posted on January 7, 2016. 1 Comment

New Year’s Resolutions

Well, it’s that time of the year again. Time to plan for the next year and to hope your plans don’t flop before March. For me, I make resolutions for my health and for my writing usually, as well as some others that are lesser ones, to an extent. This year, I’ve tried to keep them simple, hoping that will make them easier to stick to.

As far as my writing is concerned, I’ve resolved to get three publications out this year. It’s a doable number, as I have a day job and spend a good portion of my evenings doing paperwork for that as well. Three projects, including the next book in my Thorn Grove series, that’s it. Oh, and to have fun at any conferences I go to.

I’ve planned two so far and they only extend into the spring. First, I’ll be going to Romancing the Smokies on March 19th in Knoxville, Tn. This is my first event of the year and I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be a one day event, with lunch, a booksigning and, as always, a great opportunity to network with other authors and readers. Here is the link. If you are in the area or plan to be, it’s a great idea for a day. Even if you can’t make the whole event, we’ll be having a booksigning that is open to the public. Here is the link for more information.

http://romancingthesmokies.com/

The other event I’ll be attending is Weekend with the Authors, May 13-15th in Nashville, Tn. This event will incorporate panels, parties and a booksigning. It’s sure to be a lot of fun, but also another opportunity to “get my name out there”. An author in this day and age has to face the prospects of promotion and marketing their products, one of the things I still struggle with. At least this event will make the process less onerous. Again, here is a link to learn more.

https://www.facebook.com/events/902291893145983/

So there are my writing resolutions for the year. I’ll be posting about my personal resolutions later this week.

Do you make resolutions? Or are you one of the people who have decided to let the year unfold as it will? What is your philosophy about resolutions?

 

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted on January 7, 2016.

My Love Affair with books

A couple of friends came by my house this weekend for a weekend writing retreat, a successful one, thank you. But one of the great things  that came out of it was the sharing of the books I love so much. We talked about favorite authors, books we’ve started as well as other writing related things, but I got to show off the books in my collections.

I’ve loved books ever since I started reading at three. I have a tattered, coverless Dick and Jane reader that I know is valueless and would make for a gorgeous craft project, but it’s in the bookcase. I have a collection of turn of romance novels from the turn of the century through the forties. Some of them are so fragile that I’ll never be able to read them, some are future reads.

My obsession with turn of the century books started with a loaned read. My great aunt, whom I loved, respected and I think, idolized, was reading a novel when I was twelve. Of course, I wanted to read the same book, so I asked her if I could borrow it. After admonishing me to be careful of the old book, she loaned me St. Elmo by Augusta J. Evans, a southern writer from the late 1800s. I ploughed my way through Dante’s Inferno quotes in Latin and dense 19th century language and fell in love. And in lust. I WANTED a copy of that book.

I asked my mother for the book for my 13th birthday. My mom is the kind of woman who looks for things that are requested but if she can’t find the exact item, usually finds something similar. But this birthday evidently was a special one. After an exhaustive search, she accidentally came across a copy of the book in a junk (now called thrift) store. My most treasured possession is a tattered, currently unreadable, second thing out of a fire (after my dog and cats) possession. It was the first of my book collection and love for romance novels.

St. Elmo

I now have copies of books I love and that in their own way, encourage me to write my own books that, someday, may be someone’s treasure. I’ve enclosed some pictures of the books. They may not be valuable in monetary measures but for me, they’re priceless.

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This entry was posted on June 29, 2015.