IWSG July 3: Character Traits

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

The awesome co-hosts for the July 3 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe,Natalie AguirreJennifer LaneMJ Fifield, Lisa Buie-Collard, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

IWSG QUESTION: What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?

ANSWER: I’m the main character in my real life adventures and a witness to life. I live on a sailboat in Mexico and married to a a retired Air Force veteran. My career was “Jack-of-All-Trades.”

I’ve been an escrow officer (confirm the buyer and the seller fulfill all contracts obligations before releasing funds.); television producer (script writer, location sound recordist, camera operator, editor); technical publication specialist (formatting 300 page documents for print); sailor and navigator (command La Vita at sea and chart our route to next destination).

What are my personal traits? What strengths and weaknesses do I bring to my character? After some soul searching, I came up with these traits:

Mild Dyslexia: which leads to self-doubt;
Witness: I am an observer to events around me

I seem to “see” unique incidents that others seem to ignore;
Passionate: in supporting Rick (my husband) through life and major medical crises in foreign lands;
Love: to enhance relationships through sharing (food, ideas, encouragement);
Curious: often asking myself, “What if?”
When facing a challenge, I often rely on my curiosity to reach a solution;
Clever: often solving problems via unconventional methods (which are sometimes misunderstood);*
Motto: “I’ll figure it out on the way”
One example: This attitude gave me the courage to drive a rental car on Los Angeles, California freeways during rush hour and in the rain. Then we returned to Mexico, and I drove the tourist clogged Puerto Vallarta city streets …Oh, did I mention this was the first time I’d driven 10 years?;
Desire: To write “slices of life” stories that inspire, enlighten, and make people cringe.

*The text in red was added by my husband.

Thank you for visiting. I look forward to reading your post and offering a comment or two.

IWSG June 5 Genres?

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

The awesome co-hosts for the June 5 posting of the IWSG are Diane Burton, Kim Lajevardi, Sylvia Ney, Sarah Foster, Jennifer Hawes, and Madeline Mora-Summonte!

IWSG QUESTION:
Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

ANSWER:
Once upon a time I would have said, “I don’t like sci-fi.” Then I read, Dragon of the Stars, by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Holy cow I loved it. First eBook I’ve read from beginning to end. Apparently, I’m more interested in style than genre Otherwise, my go to genre is crime fiction.

I’m adding to my personal series, “Slices of Life.” Here’s a recent event:

We’re with friends, laughing and enjoying life at our favorite brunch hang out.
I heard Rick say, “What’s happening?” I looked over and Rick’s 6-foot frame is sliding down to the ground. His chair had separated and the seat gave way. By some miracle he was able to support himself as gravity slowly pulled his body to the floor.
I ran over to him, put my arms around his shoulders but I couldn’t support his big frame.
I screamed, “Get Rick a good chair. Get Rick a good chair. Get Rick a good chair.” Fear drove my thoughts and action.
His spine is fused with metal screws, bars, plates, and cages. A sudden butt landing would send shock waves of pain and possible damage up his back bone.
Rick griped the chair arms and leaned forward onto the table. The restaurant staff acted with speed and efficiency. Immediately, he was presented a sturdy straight-back chair.
Rick cautiously shifted from the broken chair to the good chair. Safe. No harm. My fingers curled into a tight fist and I stared into space, numb with relief.

YOUR Thoughts:
Slices of Life. is series of two or page episodes. When should I include flash backs to past medical emergencies that seem to launch me into instant medical PTSD when Rick is in danger? What missing from the story?

Thank you for visiting. I very much appreciate you taking a moment to comment. I’m looking forward to visiting your blog, too.

IWSG April 3: Writing Help

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

The awesome co-hosts for the April3 posting of the IWSG are J.H. MoncrieffNatalie AguirrePatsy Collins and Chemist Ken!

IWSG QUESTION:
If you could use a wish to help you write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be? (examples: fight scene / first kiss scene / death scene / chase scene / first chapter / middle chapter / end chapter, etc.)

ANSWER:
The help I wish for is ready access to my creative subconscious. The part of my brain that hold the words to create vivid scenes. Knows instinctively how to show emotion through action and gestures. Pulls unexpected twists and turn out of thin air. Recognizes a good story and carves time to write it.

Question to you, my dear guest, how do you access the creative side of your brain?

Thank you for visiting and sharing your time with me. I’m looking forward to visiting your site and learning from you.

 

IWSG March 6: Protagonist or Antagonist?

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

The awesome co-hosts for the February 6 posting of the IWSG are Fundy Blue,  Beverly Stowe McClure, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

IWSG Question:
Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?

ANSWER:
I’m at a cross roads. When I started blogging, around 2009, we were sailing La Vita from San Diego, California to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Adventures, challenges, and unique experiences begged to be shared. It was me against the elements. I was the protagonist and loved learning to sail and adapt to life at sea.

In 2011, our sailing years began to transition from one medical challenge to another. Emergencies and medical procedures in three countries: Mexico, France, USA. My native language is English. Making life and death decisions with doctors & staff in a community that spoke mainly Spanish or French; even English, was terrifying.

Now, 10 years later, we plan to sell La Vita and move on land. Living on our sailboat, in a Mexican marina is ho hum. I anticipate living on land even more boring. Our bodies are not capable of managing a sailboat. Gone is the dream of sailing through the Panama canal and on to the Mediterranean.

I loved blogging and sharing unique aspects of my life in Mexico. What do I have to say that would hold readers for 10 minutes?

A writer friend suggested I write about caring for my partner: the challenges and the rewards. The intense medical phase was 2016 through 2018. Today our activities are confined by our physical limitations. We’ve reached a new norm.

I’m reluctant to dredge up the past because our readers are more interested in what’s going on now days. Am I wrong? Is there a niche that focuses on the past?

I’m eager to feel inspired to write again. Any ideas, suggestions, or  incantations to shake desire into action?

IWSG: Feb 6: Creative Outlets

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

The awesome co-hosts for the February 6 posting of the IWSG are Raimey Gallant, Natalie Aguirre, CV Grehan, and Michelle Wallace!

IWSG Question:
Besides writing what other creative outlets do you have?

ANSWER:
My grandfather, Granville Redmond, is a well respected artist, therefore I should have some sort of art outlet. The Art gene skipped me.

My craft is management. I manage the La Cruz Writers’ Group (LCWG). I believe in free expression. I was tested.

      The question of censorship came up last week. As moderator of La Cruz Writers’ Group, it is my responsibility to direct comments and maintain a safe environment for our writers. Occasionally, I’ve failed in my duties.
      Last week an eloquent author told me he planned to read a politically sensitive poem. He asked, “Was that OK?”
      Knowing my preference for a nice peaceful atmosphere, Paul gave me plenty of time to think about reading his piece “The United States of Us.” It was written to provoke.
      We both recalled the spirited discussion over using the word Jew in his poem, “A Very Jewish Christmas.”
      I thought, “What is more important: peace or censorship?”
      Consumed with self-doubt, I reached out to two seasoned members and asked their opinion. One counseled me to exam the founding principles of LCWG and check my gut. The other urged freedom of speech.
      After much contemplation, the an inner truth spoke to me, “Freedom of speech without censorship.”
      My commitment scared me. My breath slowed; my heart pounded. Given my past failures, I questioned my ability to manage a lively debate. My worse fear? Create a permanently divided group of writers.
      I asked Rick, my husband and trusted soul mate, to give up his Saturday and join our group. I needed his moral support.
      Friday afternoon, I wrote ‘a note to self’ and examined my beliefs. Facing my fears gave way to survival-level strength. I told Rick I would facilitate the group alone.
      Saturday morning our writers were seated in a circle. Podium and microphone in place. After introductions, I said, “I have a statement I need to make.”
      From my comfy chair, I looked up from my notes. All eyes were fixed on me. I began in a quite voice, “The written word has changed the course of history.”
      I drew a breath of courage and continued, “This week I had to decide whether or not to censor a piece of writing. I’m here to say, there will be no censorship or pre-approval for any story read during our gatherings.
      “The subject matter may be offensive. Our beliefs may be challenged. It is the responsibility of each and everyone of us to express our opinion without condemnation.
      “There is no room for personal criticism of anyone in the room, the subject matter or the author.
      “It is our individual responsibility to focus on the writing: structure, character development, and pacing.”
      The group drew a collective breath and expressed unanimous approval through applause and words of appreciation.
      Paul read “The United States of Us.” His story inspired, provoked and forced us to question. A lively discussion followed. The exchange was everything our group stands for: Open dialog, exchange of ideas, informative and thought provoking.
      I am grateful to our member for kicking off the intense discussion following, “A Very Jewish Christmas.”
      I’m grateful I was forced to decide between censorship and peace.
      Most of all, “I’m grateful our La Cruz Writers’ Group and the wealth of experience each individual brings to our gatherings.
      We are united in willingness to listen and freedom of speech.

A Very Jewish Christmas
A very Jewish Christmas to you!
For there wouldn’t be a Christmas
If there hadn’t been a Jew.
It starts with a Jewish couple – that part we all knew.
A Jewish carpenter and his young bride
Set out from Nazareth on a burro
Being expectant, only she would ride —
To a barn; the planning wasn’t thorough.
Then came the baby, warmed by donkey breath,
He screamed and howled when he was born,
They laid him in a manger — not the best —
No one got much sleep before the morn.
The boy grew to start a new religion,
In what we call Judeo-Christian tradition.
He joined two cultures, didn’t he?
An achievement for a young Jew on a mission.
So let us all recall this Christmas,
What it means to me and you.
There wouldn’t be a Christmas
If there hadn’t been a Jew!
By Paul Edward Gainor
Author, “HUMANS and other ANIMALS
 

IWSG: Dec 5: Five Things In My Writing Space

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

The awesome co-hosts for the December 5 posting of the IWSG are

IWSG Question:
What are five objects we’d find in your writing space?

My Answer:
1. Port Hole
2. Computer
3. Coffee Cup
4. Printer
5. Companion way steps

QUESTION: Where am I?
No peaking at the comments. LOL

IWSG Nov 7: Has Your Creativity Life Evolved?

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

The awesome co-hosts for the November 7 posting of the IWSG are Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman!

IWSG Question:
 How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

My Answer:
Here’s what’s evolved since I began writing: I’m on high alert to records events in my life that strike my fancy as odd, unique, funny, or painful. The more creative my writing can be, the more compelling it is it is to read my stories.

My readers are curious and enjoy sharing my journey as a retired adventurous TV producer and writer living on a sailboat in a Mexico. From the safety of their armchair, my readers are invited to join my explorations.

Here’s a recent example.

While the interior of our boat, La Vita, is being given a new coat of varnish, we are renting a modest casa (house) in a typical Mexican neighborhood. The home is cozy, but boasts of a huge 75-inch TV. The air conditioning unit is mounted in the wall above the entertainment center.

Rick and I are enjoying a glass of wine while sitting on the couch facing the TV. We are talking about our plans for moving back on the boat.

Rick turns to his right and says, “What the hell is going on?”

I look up and water is pouring out of the face of the air conditioner. Water floods the wood shelves below and cascades down the face of the television drenching the everything in its path.

I look frantically for A/C and TV remotes and turned off the television and air conditioner. Rick moved what he could to reach plugs and cut power. We haven’t a clue where the breaker panel is.

Next, I raced around grabbing towels and tossing them to Rick. Rick is 6-foot tall, so he could reach the top of the entertainment unit and started mopping. When the electrical emergency was under control, I called the owner. He lives nearby and arrived within 15 minutes.

Turns out, the condensation from the air conditioner flows to a reservoir and drain in the driveway. The reservoir was full and the drain was clogged thus preventing the water from flowing to the street. As a result the condensation had no escape path and decided to flow into the house instead.

The owner bailed out the water and unclogged the drain. We all went back inside and turned on the TV and AC. Everything went back to normal. Until it happened again the next week.

As I return to writing, after a two year detour supporting my husband during his recovery from three spine surgeries in 2016, I am challenged to find the right words and phrases to hold the readers attention.

Any suggestions? What is missing? What could I add that would more clearly convey to you, the reader, what I was feeling and seeing?

Thank you for visiting and any suggestions you may have to offer. I look forward to returning the favor and commenting on your IWSG post.

IWSG Sept 5: Publishing Path

IWSG Badge-smIt’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The awesome co-hosts for the September 5 posting of the IWSG are Toi Thomas, T. Powell ColtrinM.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler!

IWSG Question: What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

My Answer: Blogging my publishing path de jour. After we bought a sailboat, sold our house, and set sail from San Diego to Mexico I discovered, for the first time ever, I had something exciting to write about. The challenge was how to say it in way that folks would read it.

We docked in a marina just north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and I joined a writing group. The group subjected me to a writing intervention and I finally saw the light. My writing was dry as Death Valley, California.

My challenge continues to be, how do properly described these events? How do I transfer my feelings, emotions, and intuition on to paper? I firmly believe my experiences in a Mexico can be written in the style of Lee Child or Sue Grafton.

I recently read an article called, “8 Tips from The Memoir Project That Will Make You a Powerful Storyteller.” For some reason these tips resonated and confirmed my theory: A memoir can be great read.

In 2016 I put my writing on the shelf and focused on my energy on my husband’s recovery.  These days, my husband is self-sufficient after two years of hell fighting to regain the use of his right leg.

However, during those two years, WordPress moved on and left me in the dust. My Website was hacked. I needed to create a brand new site with a look and feel I’m proud of. Rather than invest time in creating this new whiz-bang site, I’ve accepted this blan uninspiring WP theme.

I’m continuing down the blogging path because it offers instant reward: it’s out there for all to see. Books take forever and marketing seems to be a full time commitment. Having said that, I intend to compile my vignettes into a real life, nail biting stories worth reading! Probably go the eBook route.

I’ve given myself permission to spend what little free time I have on improving the quality of our lives and my writing. Participating in our monthly IWSG blog hop continues to be my link to the writing community and I thank each of you for stopping by and leaving a comment. It’s exciting to see what going on with our IWSG I look forward to visiting your site.

IWSG Aug 1, Publishing Pitfalls

IWSG Badge-smIt’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The awesome co-hosts for the August 1 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, Sandra Hoover, Susan Gourley, and Lee Lowery!

IWSG Question: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

My Answer: I write blog posts based on true events in my life. In a recent IWSG post, Crystal Collier asked me if I have plans to compile my stories into a memoir.

The thrill of a new idea wakes me in the wee hours. I awake with a hunger to get my idea on the page. To share slivers of my life with you, my reader. To tell a compelling story that grips your attention for a few minutes.

Early Morning Unvited Guest

I crave to find the right word to express to you the terror I felt when the scorpion scuttled across the living room tile.

Death By Cane

 

And the relief when Rick crushed the thing with his cane.

 

My tick-tock internal question is,
1. “When will my writing be good enough?”
2. Followed by, “When will they be good enough to publish?”

3. And, “Who is my audience?”

As the leader of La Cruz Writers’ Group I watched folks grow from index cards to published author. I’ve listened to their questions. I’ve paid close attention to the answers. I’ve listened to hours of Webinars. The more I learn, the more intimated I become. Marketing is a ton of work and time.  The royalty checks are often puny. I wonder why invest dear money in publishing? Is sharing my adventures on a blog enough?

 

This month, I’ll be visiting your blog and gleaning answers from each of you.

Thank you for visiting. It’s always a joy to read your comments. I promise is to return the favor and visit your blog.

IWSG July 3, 2018 Writing Goals

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is enjoying its monthly blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. IWSG is a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The awesome co-hosts for the July 3 posting of the IWSG are Nicki Elson, Juneta Key, Tamara Narayan, and Patricia Lynne!

IWSG Question: What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

My Answer: I write blog posts based on true events in my life. My goal is to write with the emotional grip of fiction.  I’m hungry to learn.

Here’s an example of my life event post and my attempt to hold the readers interest tension: Change On The Horizon.