Tag Archives: creativity

Where I’m at…

Standard
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.

Having fun with words!

Standard
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

Self-Induced Solitary Confinement

Standard

out of charge

By Julie Seedorf

I had my week planned. I was cat sitting my grandkitties, and I would be alone the entire week. My plan was to write, write and write some more and finish my next book.

I arrived at my daughter’s house on Sunday after coming back from my son’s house and his wedding in Iowa. That meant we had traveled for hours. I left my husband at home so he could get ready for a few days fishing up north and then I proceeded north myself to cat sit.

I was ready. After my daughter and her husband left for the airport at 5:30 a.m. I went back to bed intending to get a few more hours sleep. I did wake up again at 8 o’clock and had no energy to pursue anything but laying on the couch, reading and watching television and taking a nap. The only thing I did that day was feed the cats, change the litter box and scrounge in the fridge for food, being too lazy to go to the grocery store. I was tired. I was detailed out.

The next morning I woke up somewhat more energized. I made it to the grocery store and stocked up on food for a few days. When I got back to my grandkitties, I again sat on the couch and read a book. I would write later in the day. Their couch is very comfy and again I took a nap.

By Wednesday I figured out I needed the time to rest. I needed a week away from noise, looking at all the repairs and housework that was needed at my house, and away from the noise of social media and the all the details of my life.

We don’t think of all the details we take care of on a daily basis that exhaust us emotionally and physically. For me that means interacting on social media, writing, cleaning, taking care of my outside plants, washing dishes, cleaning toilets and sending cards to those who have died and have birthdays and are sick. It means cleaning litter boxes and feeding cats and buying groceries. It means remembering all my grandchildren’s birthdays and kid’s birthdays and finding the appropriate presents. It means paying bills, figuring my meager checkbook and keeping track of schedules.

My social media schedule includes everyday interacting with my readers and other authors via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other sites. It means promoting my books, scheduling interviews, doing interviews, writing guest blog posts, writing my own blog, keeping up with my website and doing promotion for another business and keeping my Amazon author page up to date. It also means reading books by other authors whose books aren’t out yet. We read our friends work to make sure it makes sense before it is published or if it needs a short blurb for the cover. We all share our work so we can make it the very best.

Details rule my life, and because there are so many my old head spins round and round. You might tell me that is my own choosing, and it is. It is now my career and all that comes with it, and I do love my career. It is my dream job. But I realized I was tired and needed to rest instead of write so my brain could churn out creativity again.

My planned writing retreat became a solitary time to rest, reflect and rejuvenate. I saw a quote on the day I was to begin my solitary week and it said: “If you want to be strong learn to enjoy being alone.”

As an only child, I didn’t like being alone. I always surrounded myself with friends. As an adult, I didn’t like going anywhere alone and I always made sure I had someone with me. Alone by myself was not a place I liked to be. As I grow older, I find that I like being with myself from time to time. As a young adult, I think my fear of being alone was because alone I might have to contemplate my life — who I was and whether I liked myself. It was easier to be in the noise than to look at myself and the qualities I didn’t like or look at what was happening in my life that I didn’t want to face. And I felt weak alone.

Last summer I spent three weeks cat sitting with my grandcats, and I learned many things about myself. I don’t mind spending time with me or taking a retreat by myself. I can shed off the details and rest and reflect. I can eat when I want to eat, sleep when I want to sleep and write, paint or go out and learn a new craft. I can wallow in reading or television or take a solitary walk and enjoy nature. I become in touch with me again because I get lost in the details of life during the year. I knew it was something I had to do again and was excited when given the chance to do it this year again.

On my “me” fweek this year, I did manage to write but it was late at night. When the urge hit I could pick up my computer and pound away and not disturb anyone. I could sleep in and know no one would be coming to the door and I wouldn’t be disturbed by the phone or others in the house. I could drink a glass of wine in the morning on the porch and have a cup of coffee in the evening and stay up late watching the strawberry moon. I was free to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.

Now I am ready to be back in the real world with others and hopefully I will be a better person to be around because I have again become in touch with me.

If you get a chance I would recommend a solitary retreat to everyone. It might change your life.

Attitude – real and fictional

Standard
Attitude – real and fictional

Have you even encountered a person with an ‘attitude’ problem? You know how you feel afterwards. Frankly, they exhaust me. Sometimes we like to find a common ground so there will be less tension but many times that fails.

Some people have a negative attitude about everything. You say, ‘Isn’t it a lovely day?’ They say, ‘Too hot for me. We’re gonna get a hurricane for sure.’ You say, ‘Isn’t this food delicious?’ They screw up their face and say, ‘I wish I’d ordered something else. This is too salty. I’ll probably get sick from it.’ You say, ‘Isn’t this a beautiful rose?’ They say, ‘If you like roses. They tend to make me sneeze.’ You say, ‘Don’t you love this song?’ They say, ‘It’s tinny sounding to me. Gives me a headache.’ You say, ‘Isn’t it a great day to be alive?’ They shrug and say, ‘Maybe for you. My ulcer is acting up.’

Then there are the ones with the uppity attitude. Even when they are looking right into your eyes, you feel as if they were looking down at you. Usually no matter what you say, this person will correct it. You say, ‘The sky is so blue today.’ (You tend to use simple sentences when you feel intimidated) And the superior mind says, ‘Actually, it’s more like the soft color of the lazuli stone.’ You say, ‘This wine is tasty.’ (Never use that word to describe wine unless you’re with another lesser mind.) The hoity-toity person says, ‘It should be. It’s a Verdicchio wine made from the finest grapes in Italy.’ You ask, ‘So what cozy mystery are you reading now?’ They look down their long nose and say, ‘I don’t read cozy mysteries. I prefer 19th century literature.’ Personally, I walk away with an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. The only retribution I have is if that person trips as he or she walks away and lands on his or her nose.

However, there does happen to be a proper place for those with pessimistic or superior attitudes where we happen to love them! Don’t they make marvelous characters in a book? Don’t you love reading about these irritating miserable people in stories? If a reader feels the urge to drive a spike through a character’s brow, it adds spice to the story. It makes that reader feel so relieved that they don’t have to associate with someone like that in real life. Unfortunately, we do meet up with these characters along life’s highway sometimes and how should we react? My advice is not to drive any spikes into anyone’s brow but rather to treat them as characters in your next book!

 

 

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

An Author’s Blocked Mind!

Standard

my mindGood Day,

I have known for weeks this is my day to post something spectacular that will make people want to read my post on this blog. But though my mind is a frenzy with many different thoughts I am blocked as to something profound to share with you about my books, my writing or my life. Because of that I will share with you my frenzied mind.

These are the thoughts that were running through my head when I got up this morning.

  • I am so happy the Food Shelf Fundraiser is over and it was a success. Although I enjoy helping put it together it is a relief it is over.
  • I wonder if Granny should adopt a new mode of dress in Granny Pins a Pilferer. How can I keep Granny interesting.
  • I hope I got the posts right for the promotions I do for The Wildcat right this week. (The Wildcat, LLC is our local restaurant and I do Facebook posts for them.)
  • I need to work on revising my Something About Nothing book. Where do I find the time for that?
  • Gavin Berg was outstanding on the piano last night. I have to download his music so I can play it whenever I want.
  • What day am I going to do another Coffee With Julie.
  • My Goodreads contest is over and I need to send out the books.
  • Internet is slow. I need to call my provider and get someone down here.
  • The bananas are ripe. I need to use them today. Gluten Free recipe is needed. I must have one on Pinterest.
  • Thank you notes need to go out today for the food shelf fundraiser. I also need to get sympathy cards to people.
  • I wish I had time to finish Amy Reade’s book, Secrets of Hallstead House  that I started.– and to listen to the audiobook I have been listening to. The War Room must have been a good movie.
  • Can’t forget to take my medicine.
  • I wish people would take a chance and read The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors. They love Granny but they seem to not want to move on to a new series and they will love Jezabelle Jingle. Maybe I need to promote Jezabelle more and its a great book if I do say so myself.
  • I wonder what’s going to happen on the Bachelor tonight.
  • I can’t forget to clean the litter boxes.
  • What am I going to write on The Cozy Cat Chronicle Blog today?
  • I need to work on my new Fuchsia book today.
  • I need coffee badly!
  • I want to stay in bed and read. Or maybe I want to get up and just color.
  • Where are my cats?
  • The sun is shining it’s going to be a beautiful day.
  • Time to get up and do my devotions and get to work.

As you can see my mind is in a whirl when I wake up. Usually it takes my time with gratitude and devotion to settle me down. And yes, these are the tasks I need to accomplish today along with a few others such as cleaning my kitchen.

What is your morning like when you wake up? Does it twirl dizzily like mine or is it cool, calm and collected. If it is pass on your secret with us.

Until next time, frenzied mind signing off.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

Love me as I am…

Standard

I was thinking today about all the wonderful friends I have right now and those I’ve had throughout the years. It’s quite amazing how people become good friends. Who chooses whom? Do you know what I mean? I have met women that within minutes, I knew we would be friends. There is this certain chemistry which is hard to explain. It goes beyond what we have in common because I have absolutely nothing in common with some of my best friends. I enjoy their differences and for some unknown reason, they enjoy mine. Go figure!

I have friends who suffer from depression but we are able to laugh together. One friend happens to be a big-time hypochondriac and when we get together, we share our aches and pains. She knows the name of every brand of medication from the cure for headaches to the diet for diverticulosis. If I’m not feeling well, she is the one who shows the most empathy.

Four years ago, I met up with my first roommate after many years of not seeing each other or keeping in touch. We shared the attic suite in an old house back in 1963! What did we do when we got together? We laughed and acted like we were twenty again. It was so easy to pick up where we left off.

IMG1279

 

Ah, but what is the connection to writing? It is wonderful to write about friends. The two main characters in my Parson Cove mystery series are best friends – lifelong friends. And, they are as opposite as chalk and cheese.

As lovely as it would be to write solely about the fun and enjoyment best friends share, there is always a need for conflict. Believe it or not, a book gets quite boring if everything is always hunky-dory. So, we need to create a character that stirs our emotions in other ways. If we’re writing a mystery, we obviously don’t want to end up loving the killer and feeling disappointed when he or she gets caught. We might love them at the beginning of a story but as the story unfolds, we have to see some characteristics that we don’t particularly like. We also have to see the imperfections in the good characters; otherwise it would be too easy to pick out who ‘did it.’

No matter how wonderful we think people are, we know we all have our shortcomings. For example, Mabel Wickles, my protagonist in my cozy mystery series, even irritates me sometimes. Why is she so snoopy? Why does she get herself into such dangerous situations? And then, there’s Flori Flanders – why does she cry over every little thing?

And my wonderful friends? They are also imperfect – just like me! I am forever grateful that they overlook my shortcomings and love me as I am.

http://authorsdb.com/breaking-news/21110-the-widow-s-walk

Dead Lines… and Stuff

Standard

As you can tell by the subject, we are going to discuss something that mystery writers talk about all the time. After all, we solve murders, right? This usually involves a dead body. Of course, there are other ‘dead’ names for dead bodies. For example, dead duck.
We usually are not referring to a literal duck when we say that, we are talking about someone who just breathed his last. Perhaps, your protagonist witnesses a man trying to escape out of a twenty-first floor balcony; he falls to his death, and she says, “Boy, he’s gotta be a dead duck!”
Because he is dead, the cop at the scene says, with a deadpan face, ‘Someone help me pick him up; he’s a dead weight.” Well, of course, he is because he is a dead body. As soon as he ran onto the balcony, he knew it was a dead end and there was nowhere else to go – only down, falling through dead air.
However, your sleuth has some solving to do. How did the killer get into the room in the first place when the door was locked with … you guessed it – a deadbolt? Do you think his ex-wife coerced him to come there because he was a deadbeat dad? When he opened the door and walked in, she aimed dead center at his heart; however, it was a dead heat and he aimed and hit and she aimed and missed.
The irony of this whole story is that the deadbeat dad sent his twin brother to knock off his ex-wife and since they were dead ringers of each other, she shot at the wrong man. The deadbeat dad then bolted the dead lock so his brother couldn’t escape. The deadbeat dad, however, could escape. He fled to Deadwood, South Dakota, and from there caught a plane to the Mediterranean where he is now relaxing beside the Dead Sea.
As you see, we use the word ‘dead’ quite often in our English language. (I refuse to say that’s because it’s not a dead language). In fact, I wasn’t even going to talk about all the words that include ‘that’ word. All I originally wanted to do was talk about deadlines! And the reason I wanted to was because I knew my turn was coming up to write my blog and I couldn’t think of a thing to say. Well, I still can’t but it seems I’ve filled up the page anyway. That’s what a deadline will do. It makes you panic and write.

I’m pleased to say that my second Historical Fiction book, The Widow’s Walk, is now available on Kindle. Please check out my other books – six Parson’s Cove Cozy Mysteries, Virtual Enemies, and Sarah’s Valley.
My website is http://www.sharonrosemierke.weebly.com
I am also on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Winners of AudioBook of Julie Seedorf’s Fuchsia Minnesota Series

Standard

WINNERAs many of you know I posted a contest yesterday. Wow, there were so many good entries, some new readers and some that are already fans of my series. These are the names of the randomly chosen winners. Please email me at hermionyvidaliabooks@gmail.com so I can send you the directions to claim your books. And check your comments. I commented on all and then commented again on the winners comment.

Granny Hooks A Crook – Kim McMahn Davis
Granny Hooks A Crook – Rachel
Granny Skewers A Scoundrel – tpwoodfield
Granny Skewers A Scoundrel – nhreader58
Granny Snows A Sneak – Kory Bull
Granny Snows A Sneak – Kathi Hackett
Granny Forks A Fugitive – Joy Scaggs
Granny Forks A Fugitive – Sharon Katz

Congratulations. Make sure you check out my personal blog http://sprinklednotes.com and my website http://julieseedorf.com. And be sure you visit us back here. You never know what we are up to on our personal sites or this mystery site. Have a Happy New Year and make sure you get in touch.

 

 

A New Series, A Headache or A Joy?

Standard

IMG_3381By Julie Seedorf

I have finished the first book in my new series. This series takes place in fictional Brilliant Minnesota and has ties to the Fuchsia Minnesota Series. The name of it is The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors and hopefully it will be out in February of 2016.

My characters live in the Penderghast neighborhood of Brilliant Minnesota. The neighborhood has something strange going on and it takes all the neighbors and more, led by Jezabelle, to solve the puzzle. It seems the founders of Brilliant left a mystery that no one knew existed  until recent years. There are twists and turns and subplots and quirky characters of all ages. I will let you know more over the next few weeks.

For me, it was hard beginning a new series while continuing my Fuchsia Series. I am invested in my Fuchsia characters. I love Granny (Hermiony Vidalia Criony Fiddlestadt) and I know who she is. Writing has become easier when it comes to my Fuchsia characters because their flaws, their quirkiness and their secrets have been developed, although not all the way. I am sure there are some surprises coming in the next Fuchsia Series mystery.

When I wrote the first Fuchsia Mystery I did it on a lark never thinking it would be published or become a series. Starting the Brilliant Minnesota Series leaves me with trepidation. Can I pull off more characters, a totally different community and different story? I don’t yet know where all my characters are leading me. It is like birthing a baby. You love that little baby when it is born but the love grows as the baby grows and you see its traits and the baby’s personality grow with it. It happens the same way with the characters in a book. An author learns who each character is by sitting down at the keyboard and birthing that character.

For me, it was hard as my mind kept coming back to Granny. I wanted Jezabelle to be a little quirky but a little different, a little younger and a little more grounded. I found myself at times writing Granny. I had to go back and change it. There is only one Hermiony Vidalia Criony Fiddlestadt.

When I start a story and a plot, I have an idea but I let my writing and my imagination go. I don’t usually know who my characters are or how many they are in the book, and I don’t know who the villain is going to be until I am well into the book. I am not an in-the-box plot person and at times it gets me in trouble. After it is written I have to go back and polish it and change any inconsistencies. Having  said that, I find that who murdered who and who is the villain surprises me sometime.

It is finished, in the hands of editors and publishers and it will be those hands that tells me if I have a book or a start-all-over again story. It will be you,the readers,that tell me if my new series will make you laugh and lead you down a road, out of reality for a short time, giving you a respite from the weary world.

The Widow’s Walk

Standard

This is the prologue to a new historical fiction novel I am writing. I hope it wets your appetite for more! The book should be out by the new year (hopefully).

Featured image

Have you ever driven down a road and noticed off in the distance an old abandoned dwelling? There are no roads leading to it anymore. Tall grass and scattered trees surround it, growing wild without paths or trails. The windows stare vacantly out at you. Do you ever wonder as you glance in its direction, what story this old house could tell?

   Somewhere in the Texas panhandle in the middle of nowhere on the wide-open prairie, dotted with mesquite and junipers, there is also such a place. Whether it is still there, I do not know; however, I am sure there must be traces of it. There has to be – after all, someone has to tell the story and it would be more convincing if I were to say, ‘look, here is where this story begins.’

   As I say, I do not know but I can see it in my mind’s eye – the crumbling wood, rocks, clay, and Adobe bricks. Its wood, blackened with rot from time and the elements. A house long collapsed under the weakened roof. The front door is gone. Perhaps the wind took it or someone passing by years ago loaded it onto his wagon so that now a hole gapes open. On the other side of that hole, there is only darkness. The wind howls across the Texas plains carrying sand, dust, and the occasional tumbleweed. Some of it settles in against the old house – more than half way up on the west wall. There are no glass panes to fill the windows and there are no steps to reach the door. An old cottonwood tree stands in front of the house, its dead branches stretch grotesquely towards the heavens. Years of drought have dried up its roots and insects have buried themselves in the decayed wood.

   About two hundred feet north of the vacant house is what remains of a barn. It was never a large building. It could hold the family’s small buggy, three or four horses, and perhaps several milking cows. The loft stored enough hay for a month of winter weather but no more. There is no sign of the corral anymore. Most of the barn’s roof is gone – blown away by the never-ending wind, and the east side of it has collapsed.

   Close to the barn, there is another structure. At first glance, one would think it was some type of tower. It leans precariously to one side; the wood, gray and weathered with age. Most of the rungs on the ladder are missing. At the top, there is only a small platform – large enough for one person to stand on. The railing around the platform is gone.

   To the right of the tower, there is an abandoned well covered over many years ago with boards and large rocks. It is almost invisible in the tall grass as is the old plow, now rusted and partially buried.

   Perhaps only the house remains. I do not know. There are no sounds except for the wind whistling, murmuring, and moaning, as it winds its way around and through the long forgotten buildings. No one hears but me.       

This will be my second historical fiction. My first is called Sarah’s Valley (by Sharon Mierke). I also write cozy mysteries for Cozy Cat Press – the Parson’s Cove mystery series.