When Does a Quote Become a Quote?

I have always found ‘quotes’ confusing. Obviously, many are pithy sayings attributed  to famous people. Many of them died years ago. (The people, that is; not the pithy sayings). Before they left this world, did they make sure to let their loved ones know that whatever they said during their lifetime could be used by millions of people as ‘quotes’?

Is there a copyright on quotes? Or, can we steal quotes and say we invented them? What if we repeated a quote but had never heard it before? Would we still be guilty of theft?

There are so many unanswered questions.

What about quotes that do have the author’s name attached? One that I am including in this blog was apparently created by a Robert Brault. There are over 30 Robert Braults on Linkedin alone. Will the real Robert Brault who does quotes please stand up? Perhaps the author of this quote passed away many years ago. No one will really know then, will they? And let’s face it; it would have to be quite an amazing quote if attention were drawn to it.

Have you noticed that after some quotes, it says ‘author unknown’? I always wonder the reasoning behind that. Why not just leave it blank? Who decided to start passing it around as a quote anyway?

As you can see, I have more questions than answers. I also have some quotes:

Kindness is in our power even when fondness is not. ~Henry James~ (I think this means we can be nice to people we really don’t like. Sharon Mierke. That’s my quote.)

 Compassion is language the deaf can hear and the blind can see. ~Mark Twain~ (Have to admit Mark Twain has come out with some doozies!)

Carry a heart that never hates, a smile that never fades and a touch that never hurts. (no credit given to anyone. I wonder if I said that one time and someone decided to use it?)

 Never look down on anyone unless you are helping them up. (no author)

A good character is the best tombstone. (No idea who was the first to say this, but I like it!)

It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice. (No one even wants to admit this is his or her’s.)

It might be the only sunshine he sees all day. (I assume written about an inmate.)

I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble~ Rudyard Kipling

  Never miss an opportunity to make others happy,even if you have to leave them alone in order to do it. (I actually  like this one and would love to meet the author.)

There is one word which may serve as a rule for all one’s life — reciprocity~Confucius~ (Well, that was a no-brainer; only Confucius would think that!)

Don’t wait for people to be friendly, show them how~Henry James~ (When did Henry say that, and why?)

 The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway~Henry Boyle~ (Very profound, Mr. Boyle)

When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people~Abraham Heschel~ (How wonderful to meet a cleverly kind person … or should it be a kindly clever person?)

Know, it is better to be generous for it gains us gratitude~Mark Twain~

 Be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, tolerant of the weak, because someday in your life you will be all of these. ~George Washington Carver~

 You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you~John Wooden~

 If those who owe us nothing gave us nothing, how poor we would be~Antonio Porchia~ (Now there’s a deep thinker!)

 You cannot do a kindness too soon for you never know how soon it will be too late~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach. ~Winston Churchill (This one impresses me because I can’t imagine Winston saying something like this, can you?)

Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out. ~Frank A. Clark~

 We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak~Epictetus~ (I’m sorry but I believe the one who said this first was my mother!)

Don’t let those who take advantage of your generosity stop you from being generous. ~Author Unknown ~ (except choose a different person with whom to be generous).

  Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud~Maya Angelou~ (Kind of childish, don’t you think?)

In a world full of people who couldn’t care less, be someone who cares more. ~Author Unknown ~

 Love thy neighbor and if that requires that you bend the truth, the truth will understand. ~Robert Brault  (I think that’s sort of bending the truth, Robert!)

I must admit that through the years, people have quoted me. For example, my sister-in-law asked not long ago if I remembered when I yelled, “Go!” when we entered a busy intersection and we almost got T-boned. 

So, you happen to hear someone yell, “Go” it might be something I said.

And you can quote me on that.

 

 

 

 

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A Writer or a Storyteller?

Are you a writer or a storyteller? Since I write two different genres, this question came up into my mind. There does seem to be a difference. When I’m writing a mystery, I feel like a writer. I have to know the beginning and the end. I have to know ‘who done it’ right at the start. As the plot unfolds, there has to be red herrings thrown in – but not helter-skelter. It has to all go by plan. There has to be several suspects; after all, it wouldn’t be much of a read if you figured out the mystery after the first chapter. In other words, you can’t just sit down at your computer and tell a story.

Historical fiction, on the other hand, is told by a storyteller. It’s true that you do need to know where you’re going with it but if you’re following a time in history, much is done for you. It  takes research on your part but then you can fit your characters into their life. There might be a mystery involved or a romance but your main emphasis is on life during that time period. Everything else adds interest and spice to your story. Your readers take themselves back in time and become those people. They feel the hardships, joys, endurance, and struggles. Unlike reading a mystery, where you wait with great anticipation until the end to find out who the culprit is, in historical fiction, you live the story from beginning to end.

Which do I prefer writing? I guess it depends on my mood. Right now, I’m writing a historical fiction that is a sequel to Sarah’s Valley. This one will be the next generation so I will be checking out what life was like during the 1930s and 1940s in southern Saskatchewan, Canada. I have the plan in my head but there will be no mysteries or romance – just a story about a young man  who faced hardships but is helped by a ten year old boy. I’m planning on telling a feel-good story!

When that is finished and published, I will think of what murder I can plot for either Beryl or Mabel to solve.

The Illusive Review

Once again I’m ranting my frustrations out to the world. The forever thorn in my flesh – my illusive book reviews!

This would not be such a concern except for the fact that I would really love to hear how readers are reacting to my work. It isn’t that I expect every person to love every book I’ve ever written and to deluge me with five star reviews.

Okay, well, maybe I wouldn’t mind being deluged with that but it doesn’t seem to be realistic, does it? Even John Grisham gets some nasty ones. Rogue Lawyer: A Novel Paperback 4.0 out of 5 stars. If you’re talking over 9,000 reviews, it means there are over 2,000 negatives ones.

Now here’s my take on it – if Mr. Grisham can handle over 2000 negative reviews and keep on pumping out amazing novels, I can handle a few negative ones too. The ratio is probably about the same.

Do you think John spends his evenings reading over all his reviews and moaning about all the ones that say they wasted two days reading his book and wished they would have spent the time more productively? I doubt that very much. I would wager a guess that he doesn’t even look at the great reviews. He probably goes right on with his next work, never looking back.

So why does it bring such anxiety to the average little author like me? It’s because we still need to be reassured that what we’re doing isn’t a complete waste of time and that somewhere hidden deep within us is that great novel just waiting to come out. Perhaps Mr. Grisham feels the same way. How do we know? He might feel that his best is still to come. Although I’m sure that his bank account lessens the worry.

Obviously, if a book is not selling, there will be no reviews. However, what if the book is selling? What holds readers back from writing a review?

A personal question: Do YOU write a review for every book you read? Honestly, do you? I have to say that I don’t. Why? Sometimes it’s just a matter of time. I plan on writing one but somehow before I know it, I’m on to my next book and I lose my focus. When I read, I read for the moment. Ask me a week later what I read and I have no idea. I do remember if I liked the book or if I didn’t but don’t ask me about the characters or the plot – my mind is already on the next book. That, of course, is no excuse for not writing a review. It only takes a few minutes to go online and write a few words.

I also believe that many readers feel they have to be a writer to write a review. No one is asking for that. All I need is a ‘Loved the book.’ Along with five stars, of course! No, just kidding – I’m quite happy with four.

So now, as a reader, you understand how desperate and lacking in confidence we writers really are. As we always say, If you loved our story, tell your friends and write a review; if you hated it, tell your enemies. 

My Conflicts of Interest

It has been quite some time since I sat down and tapped out a blog. I would like to list my reasons for not doing so sooner, but sadly, I have none. Unless you count laziness and lack of imagination as reasons. In my case, they seem to be.

Spring is here. At least, it says so on my calendar. I actually believed it one day because the temperature, the bits of green grass poking out of the ground, and the birds singing proved it. Then suddenly the warm temperature disappeared and a cold north wind took its place. It was discouraging but this was April in Canada.

You would think with all the fluctuating temperatures, it would be an ideal time to curl up inside with your laptop and write a book. My agenda for the year includes writing three new books. My Mabel Wickles series is in need of a new book because there is now a new sheriff who needs Mabel’s help. Retired Reg Smee has started up a taxi service and I’m sure he’s going to find a dead body in one of his taxis any day now. Beryl Swallows has moved to Arizona but how much will she miss her neighbor, Sam Galloway? Perhaps finding a body at the bottom of her apartment’s garbage chute will keep her mind off her homesickness. Then there’s my historical fiction novel, Sarah’s Valley – too many readers have said they want to learn more about the young man, Patrick.  Obviously, I must write My Return to Sarah’s Valley.

However, I have one more hurdle (besides the lack of imagination and laziness) to overcome. Even though the weather is yucky, I have a conflict of interest. Every spring, my mind turns to spring cleaning. I know, it’s an old fashioned concept. Once it’s been ingrained in you, it’s hard to let it go. No, I don’t wash all the walls and windows in my house like I once did but I suddenly get the urge to empty out all my closets and then neatly replace everything. Well, maybe I do wash most of the windows but I draw the line at wall washing. Now it consists of wiping around all the light switches.

This is also the time of year that I get the urge to paint. I think this is my way of getting out of washing walls. So far, I’ve decided on a lighter gray for the hallway, a darker color for the main bathroom, and perhaps a brighter shade for one wall in the kitchen.

After spring cleaning is over, it’s gardening time. Already my husband is getting ready to start plants in the house. I’m wondering what flowers to plant this year and how I can rearrange my pots. Should I buy new ones or just use some of the leftover paint from the kitchen to spruce them up a bit?

Now you understand my conflicts of interest. I have no concept of writers who sit down every day, at the same desk, in the same spot, and write, spellbound, for hours at a time. If I’m going to write three books, it will be done while I’m sitting on the floor in my closet surrounded by my junk, while waiting for paint to dry, or while I’m sitting on the ground, waiting for my husband to finish tilling the garden.

Well, I have to get those books written before fall because that’s when fall cleaning begins.

Where I’m at…

After being in Texas for a while, you begin to pick up some of the jargon. Obviously, I find myself saying ‘y’all’ instead of ‘all of you,’ as if three words were too difficult to say. And instead of saying, ‘where are you?’ for some reason, ‘Where’re you at?’ pops out of my mouth. I do realize that after returning to Canada, I have to let go of my Texas talk. Not that anyone would say anything; folks are much too polite but they might secretly roll their eyes. Canadians are proud of their British roots, which means finishing each word properly and not leaving anything off – like the ‘g’ in words that end with ‘ing.’ It also means speaking slowly and pronouncing each syllable. To Texans, this is a foreign language.

However, I digress. I really do want to tell you where I’m at.

Where I’m at with my writing, that is.

A couple of months ago, I was not pleased with how my writing was going. Basically,  that is because it was going nowhere. It wasn’t that I wanted or had the desire to become a well known author or even make tons of money. I wanted to enjoy what I was doing but I was not. That’s where I was at then.

I decided to change my whole outlook about writing. Writing should be fun. I did not want it to be stressful in any way. When I’m not writing, there is something missing in my life. It’s good for my brain. It forces me to widen my vocabulary. In other words, it’s healthy. Especially as we age.

I was never satisfied with two of my books and I always thought that if someone read one of those books first, they would never want to read another. It feels terrible not liking your own books. However, they were there for anyone to buy. Overnight, I made the decision to republish all my books. It was as if a weight lifted off my shoulders. When you decide to do this without any premeditation, it is like plunging into a pool of cold water!

While family members worked on covers, I edited one book at a time. After publishing my books the first time, I never picked one up to read. I was too afraid they might be as bad as some reviewers wrote. Well, guess what? I read, I edited, I did some rewriting, and in the end, I thoroughly enjoyed every book! Creating covers was a bit of a challenge but I have a very talented daughter, and together with her dad’s finishing touches, I was very pleased with the end result. They were ‘me.’

I now have all my books on Kindle for 99 cents and they will stay that price. These I write for friends and family and for anyone else who would enjoy reading them. Every few weeks, I will pick one book and do a free promotion. I feel happy doing this.

And, that is where I’m at.

Reading it over…for the first time!

Good morning, everyone.

First of all, let’s talk about the weather. No, seriously… we are having a heatwave in central Canada! I keep advertising my books and telling readers they should stalk up for the fall/winter weather reading. I don’t think anyone is even reading my posts, they are all outside walking around in shorts. Aww, good for them. When the cold does hit us, we will be in shock for the first few weeks and really complaining. Especially here in Canada. That is our national pastime – we may be polite but we are also big time complainers when it comes to the weather. No one is complaining at the moment though.

Were any of you wondering about my subject line? How can you read something over again … for the first time? I discovered that you can. Perhaps some of you have noticed that my Parson’s Cove mystery series is no longer available. There is a reason; I am reading them over again for the first time. In doing so, I have discovered something about myself. I am not the horrible writer that I thought I was. My first book, Slip and Go Die, is actually quite a good read.

I don’t know if other authors are like me but once a book was published, I never went back to read it. I moved on. In the back of my mind, I was afraid I would see too many mistakes and I would see what readers didn’t like about it. By that time, I felt it was too late to do anything about it anyway, so why torture myself. However, once it was unpublished, I could read it with an open mind and make all those changes I was dreading that I would find.

Guess what? There were very few changes that I had to make. I did remove about a hundred commas, semi-colons, and colons, but other than that, I was quite pleased with my writing.

The moral of this story is not to tell writers to republish all their books, it is simply to say, you are probably a better writer than you think you are. Don’t be afraid to go back and reread your old books. It will boost your confidence and give you the incentive to encourage readers to buy your books. Then when you are promoting your work, you will do it like you mean it … and you will mean it!

(On the other hand, you might read it, hate it, and stop writing altogether. That, of course, is a discussion for another day!)

 

https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Rose/e/B00BL8HTZY/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

 

Goodbye, Mabel and Sharon Rose

Most times it is quite sad saying goodbye. Especially if it is to someone or something we’re going to miss. Some of us like to say, ‘see you later.’ Of course, if we are planning to see them the next day or week, that makes sense. If it is someone we do not expect to see again, it is sad but we have to use the ‘real’ word – goodbye. For example, I was underlining a paragraph in a book on my computer and did not realize that the highlight had spread to every paragraph. While I thought I was deleting the highlights in one paragraph, I was in fact deleting all of them! It was a sad goodbye because it meant starting all over again.

Sadly, now it is time to say ‘so long’ to Mabel Wickles. Mabel is the protagonist in my Parson’s Cove cozy mystery series. I must say that I have enjoyed writing about her adventures. She and Flori Flanders make a great twosome. As the English say, they are as different as chalk and cheese. Flori is married to Jake and has a large family; Mabel is single and has a houseful of cats. Missed by a Hair was the first Parson’s Cove mystery and it was published in 2004. When my contract was up, instead of renewing, Mabel disappeared from the scene. I did not feel my writing did her justice.

After writing two more Mabel books, I decided to look for a publisher again. In 2012, I joined Cozy Cat Press. CCP was brand new to the publishing scene. At that time, there were four authors: Patricia Rockwell(our publisher and author), Diane (one of Patricia’s close friends), Al, and me. I am sure it was a learning process for all of us. This was the first time I had used the internet for publishing and had no idea what I was doing most of the time. Patricia was very patient. During the following four years, I wrote four Parson’s Cove books and came to know and appreciate other CCP authors.

So, you might wonder, why is the Parson’s Cove mystery series disappearing again? Once again, I am looking through my books and realizing I need to make some changes. This time I need to work at it at a slower pace.

Many years ago, I removed another book – it was called Who Needs Enemies?. The main character was Beryl Swallows, an ex-cop and now private investigator. Since then, she has reappeared in Virtual Enemies and now in a new book, Case Closed. not.

My hope is that while I am taking my time with Mabel, I can also work on another Historical Fiction book. As you can see, I have much work ahead of me.

Oh, did I say ‘goodbye to Sharon Rose’ too? That’s right, I will publish all my books from now on using my name Sharon Mierke. The world of books seems quite filled with Sharon Roses so in order for readers not to be confused, I will use my last name – even though most do not know how to pronounce it! For those of you who are curious, it is pronounced Merkee.

Well, I refuse to say ‘goodbye.’ Perhaps, ‘see you later,’ is more appropriate. Best wishes to everyone and happy writing.

BOOKS of the month!

Hi Everyone!

Well, autumn is here in full force. There’s a bit of a nip to the air in the morning – unless you live closer to the equator, that is. Where I live, it is COLD in the mornings now. Most of the leaves are starting to turn color except for those that started out slow in the spring. It seems our Ash tree is the last to leaf out in the spring but the last to also lose its leaves in the fall. We do have green all year in our yard because we have cedars and evergreens. I’m sorry to say, we have no palm trees.

Another sign of fall is the crockpot. Out is comes because suddenly you have a yearning for soups and stews. Warm days can bring barbequing but somehow, it isn’t as thrilling as it was during the hot months. Let’s face it, we are tired of hot dogs and hamburgers. Of course, we never tire of steaks but that’s something entirely different. I would barbeque steaks outside if it were thirty below. It’s sad that a couple of pounds of beef now costs about as much as the down payment on a small vehicle.

Oh yes, my subject was BOOKS of the month. Yes, you saw it correctly. ALL the Parson’s Cove Cozy Mysteries are 99 cents for the month of September. After September, you will have to wait a while for them to reappear on Amazon. They are going in for a lube job and overhaul. Meanwhile,  you can become acquainted with Beryl Swallows, my new investigator. She’s not quite as old as Mabel and much better looking. She doesn’t have a friend like Flori but she does have a neighbor named Sam. Book One is called Virtual Enemies and Book Two is Case Closed…not.  It will be available in a few weeks. In it, Beryl delves into her mother’s past. It’s a bit frightening to think that your mother may have committed murder.

Until I talk to you again, as a Canadian, I say, ‘Take care, eh!’

 

 

 

Having fun with words!

Good morning, everyone! Well, it is the second Thursday of the month and even though we don’t have a set schedule anymore, I’m still on a schedule. I thought I would share some cute plays with words. See how many you can come up with.

“Lexophile” is a word used to describe those that have a love for words, such as “you can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish”, or “To write with a broken pencil is pointless.” A competition to see who can come up with the best lexophiles is held every year in an undisclosed location.

..No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.

..If you don’t pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.

..I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can’t put it down.

..I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

..Did you hear about the crossed-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?

..When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.

..When chemists die, they barium.

..I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.

..I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.

..England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

..Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.

..This girl today said she recognized me from the Vegetarians Club, but I’d swear I’ve never met herbivore

..I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time.

..A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

..When the smog lifts in Los Angeles U.C.L.A.

..The batteries were given out free of charge.

..A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.

..A will is a dead giveaway.

..With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

..A boiled egg is hard to beat.

..When you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall.

..Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

..Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off? He’s all right now.

..A bicycle can’t stand alone; it’s just two tired.

..The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine is now fully recovered.

..He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

..When she saw her first strands of grey hair she thought she’d dye.

..Acupuncture is a jab well done. That’s the point of it.

..Those who get too big for their pants will be totally exposed in the end.

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Rose/e/B00BL8HTZY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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