On Vacation

Something I never do is miss posting every Wednesday and Saturday (though I believe I had forgotten once, silly me).  Well, my friends, after years of working seven days a week and doing mom-care, I am taking vacation.

As such, there won’t be any posts for the next two Wednesdays and Saturdays.  I’d planned to post a photo daily while on said vacation, but have now decided to leave the old laptop at home.  I’m a workaholic so if it accompanies me, I suspect I’d be sitting at it more than I would be the beach.  😉

So, no posts, no photos, but I’ll have things to share upon return.

Where am I off to?  To visit my Triple Threat Investigation Agency private eyes on the lovely island of Oahu (I hope JJ, Rey, and Linda don’t mind, given I haven’t told them, LOL).

Aloha!

Have a Gobbling Good Time

Here’s to a wonderful—gratitude-filled—Thanksgiving weekend to those in the northern hemisphere.

Observed the second Monday in October, since 1957, the “harvest festival” is a time to show appreciation, not just for bountiful harvests, but all the things, friends and family, we have in our lives.

 Quick history . . . Thanksgiving in Canada has actually been celebrated since 1879 but prior to 1957, it wasn’t on a given day and there was always a theme associated with it.  Apparently, the first celebration was three hundred years prior, when Martin Frobisher—for those of you who remember your Canadian history classes—traveled from England in search of that elusive Northwest Passage (the sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, which is some 1,424,500 km and lies north of the Canadian mainland).

More days (feasts) of thanks took place, courtesy of French settlers who’d voyaged with Samuel de Champlain in the early seventeenth century.  During and following the American Revolution, American immigrants who’d migrated to Canada brought along their Thanksgiving traditions and practices—like indulging in that delicious gobbler (sorry, my vegan friends) and sweet spicy pumpkin pie.

It is rather interesting, history, but I digress.  The purpose of this post is short and sweet,  Enjoy a fantastic (!) long weekend, delight in and appreciate all life has offered—and continues to offer.  Never take anything, or anyone, for granted.

Have a gobbling good Thanksgiving!

Hoorah for Infinitesimal Details

I love editing.  It offers an opportunity to read authors who’ll succeed at gathering fans and making bestseller lists.  And it’s great to be there from the beginning to see their careers take off.  It also provides a chance to help aspiring writers—if they want it—to develop their craft.  Some are “naturals”, some are not.  It’s all good, though.  You become as good, as great, as you want to be if you’re willing to go the distance.  This means learning and applying what you learn.

As we well know, it’s [usually] the opening chapter or prologue that will grab readers and keep them wanting to read.  As such, it should be strong, compelling, and reel in readers like a seasoned fisherman bringing in a sailfish.  Countless “he said” and “she said” dialogue tags won’t do it.  Nor will a John-did-this-and-then-did-that style.  The show-don’t-tell approach isn’t terribly gripping, though some may debate that and that’s fine (to each his/her own).

Let’s focus on what does prompt readers to continue reading.  First and foremost: details (descriptions).  I’ve used the painting picture analogy before, but it’s a viable one.  When you draw images for readers—describe characters, reveal emotions, detail locations—your story comes alive.

I’m writing the sixth Triple Threat Investigation Agency book and, given disco plays a part in it, I’ve been listening to the music and catching the odd movie.  One that so perfectly “describes” what a movie and character are all about in the opening credits is Saturday Night Fever.  It’s one I’d recommend for writers to see how details—infinite infinitesimal ones—can paint a fabulous, vibrant picture.  Those types of details can easily be applied in an opening chapter or prologue.

The Bee Gees sing a catchy tune (marking a distinct period in music history) as we view various shots of NYC, including the subway.  Tony Manero swings a can of paint as he strolls along a Brooklyn sidewalk with a confident swagger.  We see stores and everyday people.  It’s not a rich neighborhood.  He sports a not-one-hair-out-of-place coif and fairly decent daytime clothes: black leather jacket, burgundy polyester shirt, and well-shined leather shoes.  A large gold cross hangs from his neck.  He eyes pretty women.  Stopping at Penny’s Pizza, he grabs two slices and chows down as he continues walking.  He sees a shirt in a shop and pays $5 to put it on layaway.  Finally, he arrives at a hardware store.

What have we gleaned from those details?  We know the setting is NYC.  Our main character most likely lives there.  He’s cocky and thinks himself a lady’s man.  He cares about his appearance (we see him comparing his shoes to a pair in a window).  Given the neighborhood, the $5 for the layaway, and the pizza, we can assume his finances are limited.  The paint can may mean he’s going to paint something at home, or he’s a painter who’s not working at that moment.  

If we were applying this to paper [or laptop], we could flesh it out more.  Not by [too] much.  We don’t need to inundate readers with an overabundance of facts.  We simply provide enough—yes, the infinitesimal details—to paint that defining picture.

Anything Goes

In sci-fi and fantasy, and any genres in between.

The notion came about as an acquaintance and I were having a casual discussion about writing and genres.  As a sci-fi fan, she commented how these genres can allow for easy outs when plot twists or endings prove difficult; you could pretty much throw in any scenario, one that would never work (or be believable) in “real world” fiction.

These genres offer opportunities to compose stories that may not always have that rational or coherent a segue or ending.  There have been five grisly murders in the deserted, desolate Folle house.  Alas, not only do they have the budding detective scratching their head, the killings have the author scratching theirs.  Ah!  Maybe a demon lives in the cellar?  Or perhaps the place is a gathering place for evil aliens?  And what about poor Jean-Paul?  The young man is falling over a high cliff, knowing he’ll contact those boulders below within seconds—and, man, is that going to hurt.  Why not have someone—something—catch his fall?  Off he goes, to another world and an exciting adventure, where anything is possible.  The sky, literally, is [not] the limit.

Sci-fi and fantasy, and any genres in between allow for a myriad of scene/chapter possibilities.  Action, doings, and goings-on don’t have to be logical, which empowers a very creative [inventive] imagination to run wild—so, anything truly does go.

111clipartlibrary111111Writing, however, is no walk in the park.  Regardless of genre, penning a story can prove [exceptionally] difficult.  Plotting, appropriate character sketches, detailed settings, and vivid descriptions are part and parcel of constructing a viable story.  Keying words is one thing; making them meld to create an entertaining read is another.  But given the process is a labor-of-love for us writers, we’re up to the challenge(s).  😉

Ensure there’s logic—even in the illogic—and know that as the author, you hold the reigns.  Truly, anything goes.

Me Day, You Day, Any Day is a Good Day . . .

Like many, I often feel a need to take a me day, a vacay day, a holiday—any day reserved solely to relax—but work and life always manage to get in the way.  😉

As soon as it appears it might be doable, something comes along, such as an essential task, necessary errand, crucial project, or urgent situation.  And then there are commitments, like posting on the ol’ blog on set days.  As the saying goes, however, it’s all good.  Well, most of the time.  LOL

Given I haven’t had a me day in years (decades, as it were), I got to thinking about what the perfect me day might be.

It would entail (in no order of relevance):

    • ignoring commitments
    • forgetting about emails and messages and texts (once you get pulled into those, you’re a goner for hours—at least, I am)
    • turning off all phones (I have three too many)
    • eating fun/comfort food while sitting in front of the TV [finally] watching a show/series time hasn’t allowed for previously
    • noshing on [a big bowl of] ketchup chips
    • avoiding all forms of exercise
    • not noticing dust or lint, or crumbs, veiling the floor or rug
    • wearing a big, loose T-shirt and fluffy socks1PNGkey
    • forgoing on make-up
    • scratching a couple of scratch-and-win tickets
    • watching the birds on the balcony
    • taking a nap (what a novel concept).

The list makes for perfect me day—in my dreams. That’s okay, though.  Nothing wrong with imagining what might be.  In fact, taking the time to consider it is rather restful in itself.

If you have an opportunity for a you day, grab it, and enjoy.  And on that note, back to work for yours truly.  Let’s see, what to tackle first . . . 😉

A Great Big Thank You (!) to Jina S. Bazzar

. . . for featuring me on her awesome blog (September 23 2022).

I’m not just going to provide the link here, I’m going to cut and paste the post as well because, well, I’m tickled pink and am feeling a need to share.😊

https://authorsinspirations.wordpress.com/2022/09/23/meet-the-author-tyler-colins/comment-page-1/#comment-8594

1jina

Thank you ever so much, Jina—you’re not just a great writer and blogger, you’re a great friend. 

SEPTEMBER 23, 2022 BY JINA BAZZAR

Meet the author: Tyler Colins

Hi peeps. I’ve decided to start a segment in this blog by introducing other indie authors I know and enjoy.

I’m opening  it with a dear friend and author, Tyler Colins. We met a few years back here in the blogosphere, and have been friends ever since.

So, without any further ado, let’s start.

A brief bio:

Tyler Colins

Tyler Colins is primarily a writer of fiction and blog posts, and a sometimes editor and proofreader of books, manuals, and film/television scripts. She’ll also create business plans, synopses, film promotion and sales documents.

Fact-checking and researching, organizing and coordinating are skills and joys (she likes playing detective and developing structure).

Her fiction audience: lovers of female-sleuth mysteries. Her genres of preference: mysteries (needless to say), women’s fiction, informative and helpful “affirmative” non-fiction.

She aims to provide readers with smiles and chuckles like the ever-talented Janet Evanovich and the sadly passed and missed Lawrence Sanders, the “coziness” of Jessica Fletcher, and a few diversions and distractions as only long-time pros Jonathan Kellerman and Kathy Reichs can craft.

And now, the interview (read to the end for an excerpt of Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie)

Q: What inspired you to become an author?  And why Hawaii?

A: As an only child with a mother and father who didn’t really have time or support for me as parents tend to, I had to find my own source of “play”.  I started drawing and writing.  My grade 7 teacher, Mr. Kennedy, loved a short story I had written and read it to the class.  I had no idea I had any talent.  That afternoon made me look at myself as something more than a friendless, lonely kid.  Little ’ me was actually good at something.  I started writing . . . and writing . . . and writing.  The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

I fell in love with Hawaii the first time I stepped foot on Oahu.  It wasn’t that I saw “Paradise” there (because, off the tourist track, it has its issues as most places do), but that I felt a connection to the history and spirituality.  I felt like I belonged.  There wasn’t anywhere I wouldn’t go; I felt no fear or anxiety.  And when I began the sequel to The Connecticut Corpse Caper, which was initially intended to be a stand-alone, Hawaii seemed the perfect place to have my three private eyes move to.  Even if I can’t live there—given laws and finances and all that—Hawaii is my home . . . in heart and soul.

Q: What do you think is the most difficult part about writing, and how do you motivate yourself to continue?

A: For me, the most difficult thing about being a writer is finding the time to write.  Mom-care still takes up a few hours, most days, and the full-time job isn’t your usual eight-hour day.  Freelance editing also detracts (but I’d not give up editing for anything because I do so love it).  One day, hopefully, I’ll find a way to juggle time more constructively.

I can’t say I “motivate” myself.     I simply do.

Q: It’s a strange and tough world out there. Do you find that it hinders or improves your writing?

A: It is indeed.  The state of affairs around the world can be daunting and/or depressing.  Some days, it can weigh heavily; you wonder (worry) that those state of affairs will never improve but, then, bursts of hope and faith—like a double Hawaiian rainbow—take over.  And you think, believe, hey, maybe things will turn out all right after all.  I wouldn’t say exterior forces hinder my writing, nor improve it.  But they may provide ideas for scenes or twists in plots.

Q: What is your favorite way to relax?

A: LOL – I haven’t found one yet.  Well, I shouldn’t say that.  When I get to Hawaii, that’s where I find ways to relax . . . strolling along a beach, splashing in the ocean, finding a fun farmer’s market, or enjoying shave ice while sitting on a rock by the water’s edge.

Q: Do you read your own books after they’re published? If not, why not?

A: I haven’t read my books after they’ve been published per se.  But when I require an excerpt for a post, then I will scan one or two of them to find the perfect one.  I think the reason I’m not inclined to read them from front to end is that I might discover typos or something that didn’t gel.  Then I’d spend the week or month kicking myself repeatedly.

I believe one of my favorite excerpts is from Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie? when JJ and Cash’s budding “relationship” starts to take off . . . or not . . .

Q: If you were to become the mc of the last book you read, who would you be and where?

A: I edit a lot of books, but I don’t read a lot of books . . . save for, believe it or not, the odd Nancy Drew book.  I pick one from the pile in the closet if I’m going to ride the stationary bike in the fitness room.  It’s an easy read and it takes me back to simpler times—when I was kid living in (escaping to) my little world.  I always wanted to be Bess or George, never Nancy.  She always seemed so perfect and privileged, and for a little kid being caught up in a not so perfect or privileged world, I couldn’t relate to it.  But I’d love to be involved in one of their mysteries.  My favorites were The Haunted Showboat and The Secret of the Wooden Lady, so the setting of either one would be very “Keene”.  LOL

111hula1Excerpt for Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie

“No stitches required, fortunately.”

Linda propped Cash’s head on a fit thigh and continued to dab a tiny sponge on an open cut above the right eyebrow. “But he’s going to have one big headache, a knob on his temple, and probably a scar. Perfect timing, me stopping by. If Makjo hadn’t taken the afternoon off, you’d be the one administering medical aid.”

He stirred twice, but was having difficulty opening his eyes.

“Fortunately, you’re here,” I smiled wryly, “and you have first aid certification.”

“So will you and Rey after next month.”

Linda had taken first aid and CPR training last summer while still in California. Rey and I had discussed doing something similar upon arrival on Oahu. As professional private investigators, first aid was at the top of the list, but other courses like investigative techniques and interviewing methods were also on the agenda.

“Who is this guy? I don’t think you’ve mentioned knowing someone this hunky.” Digging through a kit, she located antiseptic cream and a large bandage.

“He has different names. Cash. Richie J. Richard. He’s a drug dealer.”

Linda stopped and searched his face. “Really?”

“He doesn’t look like one?” I asked drolly.

“I’ve never met one before.”

“Damn.” He winced, and brought a hand to his forehead. “What happened?”

“You got beaned by our favorite beaner,” Linda explained merrily, gently applying cream to the wound before applying the bandage. “She can pack a mighty wallop.”

He squinted upward. “Who are you?”

“Linda Royale.” She peered so closely, they were nearly nose to nose. “I hear you’re a drug dealer.”

A flummoxed gaze shifted from her face to mine. I was standing behind Linda, looking down, hoping the damage was minor enough not to do any serious or permanent damage, but major enough to make him think twice about entering the condo uninvited again. “Did I deserve that? Bitch.”

If looks could kill. “Watch the name calling,” I trilled, getting a glass of water and passing it to Doctor Linda.

She supported his head and got him to drink a third of the glass. “Do you deal locally or on the Mainland, as well? Do you hobnob with guys who have the status of the once-super-rich-and successful ‘Freeway’ Rick Ross and Amado ‘Lord of the Skies’ Fuentes?”

He eyed her as if she were as demented as Norman Bates’ mother.

“Oh, sorry. You probably don’t want to share your criminal life with us. That’s okay.” Linda smiled and he closed his eyes in a give-me-strength cast. “Let’s get you upright.” She assisted him into a more vertical position.

He noticed her dressing. “Did she bean you, too?”

Linda instinctively touched the binding on her head. “This is courtesy of a creep I had the displeasure of not meeting last night.”

“She got dinged by a psycho,” I said simply.

His expression suggested he wasn’t buying it.

Get a copy! https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/can-you-hula-like-hilo-hattie

Connect with Tyler Colins here:

https://www.audible.ca/author/Tyler-Colins/B01KHOZAL2

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14150735.Tyler_Colins

https://twitter.com/usbound3/

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=Tyler%20Colins

https://ca.linkedin.com/in/tyler-colins-24833326

The Art of Perfectin’ . . . or Playin’ the Blues with Soul

The title popped into my head as I was watching Joe Bonamassa a few nights ago.  Joe, for those not in the know, is a blues rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter.  His career’s pretty impressive; starting at age twelve, he opened for the awesome B.B. King.  Anyway, the post’s not about Joe—maybe another time 😉—but about artists perfecting their trade.

How does one segue from playing the blues to improving a craft?  It’s not that far a stretch.  I was considering how well he played, which made me ponder how musicians constantly aim to entertain and please audiences.  They strive to do/offer their best.  Over time, they refine.  They perfect . . . or play the blues with soul and conviction . . . a metaphor, of sorts.

All passionate artists aim to be the best they can be.  As a writer, I revise constantly to improve my work.  As an editor, I amend to help make other works as good as they can be.  Poets, painters, puppeteers, and performers [love alliteration] . . . those that truly care . . . polish words and riffs and moves.

It’s a labor of love, this repetition that aims for perfection.  Nothing is “great” the first time.  All projects and persons are works [of art] in motion.  So, it’s imperative to keep striving . . . and keep playin’ the blues with soul.

Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.    Colin Powell

Taking the Tiger by the Tail

A great saying.  What does it mean?  Something is too difficult to manage or cope with, or a situation too dangerous to proceed with or escape from.

I’m in neither, but it’s been a trying few days—LOL—again.  Just when you think life might just once move along smoothly, it doesn’t.  It refuses to.  So, once again, you have no option but to opt to go with the flow.

Unfortunately, that flow means not finding the time to post . . . yet, here I am, writing a quick one about my dilemma and inability to do so.  😊  That’s worthy of recording.

What do we do when we’re stuck or taking the tiger by the tail (much to its undoubted displeasure)?  We persevere.  Perhaps laugh at the absurdity of it all.  I mean, if things never seem to go right, isn’t it worth sticking your tongue out at and saying “naw-naw-naw-naw-naw, you’re so not going to <bleep> me off today”.

Think about what lies ahead—what can you do, what can’t you do? 

Do the things that you can and take pride in those accomplishments. 

Holler.  There’s nothing better than venting—screaming, shouting, smushing a muffin or flinging it across the room (no, you can’t do that to a loved one or fur baby, definitely not), or jumping up and down.  I rather enjoy shrieking at the top of my lungs, and who cares who hears me?  Just let it out!

Recognize that circumstances will change.  Maybe not tomorrow, but sooner or later they will.  Nothing remains as is forever.  That is a fact.

Do not believe the powers that be have it in for you.  Consider trying times as challenges and lessons; they happen for a reason and enable you to grow.  It’s all good, even if you’re not seeing that at the moment. 

Walk away for a wee while.  Take time to switch gears / alter perspectives.

The list could go on, and you’ve likely seen “tips” like these before.  The point is, when you can’t blog or write on schedule, when life gets in the way, step aside for a time.  It’s okay.  Take a few deep breaths.  Take a break.  Take a walk.  Take whatever you need to rebalance.

And there you have it, taking the tiger by the tail . . . very gently . . . with eyes wide open . . . and a gleeful grin.

Don’t put off  until tomorrow what you can do today, is a great quote by Benjamin Franklin.  But Mark Twain’s may be even better.  Never put off till tomorrow, what you can do the day after tomorrow. 

Do what’s best for you in the chosen moment.

Root-a-Toot-Toot . . . Got the Tatt!

1NicePNGabcIt seemed apropos to provide a sequel post in case some of you thought I might—buk, buk, buk—chicken out.

True, I did enter the tattoo shop (and a very nice, upscale one it was, with fabulous staff) feeling “pukey nervous”.  The maturity (o-l-d) aspect—some might call it you-should-know-better insight—ought to have quelled the anxiety (or had me running for the hills).  I may not have buk-buk-buked (or is that bukked?), but my stomach sure as heck was doing flapjack flips.  Still, Ms. Warrior being who/what she is, persevered and ambled to the (oh-so-comfy) chair with head and shoulders held high . . . and tummy hoping not to liberate the grilled cheese sandwich it had happily welcomed a couple of hours earlier.

As the saying goes: you only live once.  So, embrace what moves you.  And move the tattoo gun did (providing some quasi discomfort, but not out-and-out pain).  Four-plus hours of outlining and shading was weathered with scarcely a blink or a tear or a flinch . . . until the last hour, when several calming breaths proved necessary.  Still, said and done with [relative] grace.

For those contemplating getting a tattoo, consider—very seriously—what you want.  Select something that reflects you.  It’s a representation of your soul and core . . . history . . . road through life . . . desires/dream . . . strength and conviction.

anotherA111tattshopAAA

Regrets?  I’ve had a few, but this is not one of them.  As soon as my “badge of courage” is healed, I’ll display it proudly.  😊

Root-a-Toot-Toot . . . Getting a Tatt

Not quite sure where the “root-a-toot-toot” came from, but it popped into my head in terms of the title.  After the first draft of this post, I looked it up.  Besides being the title of a book, it means “something noisy, riotous, or lively, specifically in the early style of jazz music”.

Interesting.  And so not what this post is about.  Which, by the by, is in no way related to writing/editing, blogging, or the pretty private eyes from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.  It’s a this-is-what’s-happening-in-my-life one.

. . . I’ve opted to get a tatt on my arm.

It was supposed to be a small one on my lower inner arm.  But the artist explained, if it’s small, it can’t be as detailed as I’d like it to be.  What I was hoping would be around 1½” is now going to be around 3-4”.  An in-your-face tatt.

For quite some time (years), I’ve wanted to get one of a honu (Hawaiian turtle) and hibiscus flowers—nothing terribly clever or unique or spectacular, by any means, but … pleasantly pretty.  It was to serve as a tribute to my love of Hawaii and my writing (the “gals” at the agency), but it’s become more than that.

It’s a tribute to my (ever so) slowly emergence/development—as my own person.  This woman is finally embracing the life of an individual, not an extension of someone else, not being molded (controlled) by another.  Finally, I am ambling down that winding pathway, toward that light at the end of the tunnel, to stand alone, tall and tough, (though I will undoubtedly wobble now and again).

While this really has nothing to do with tatts, it’s a fun little [uplifting] root-a-toot-toot vid.

It’s going to take five hours (perhaps you’ll hear me wailing over the waves).  But, once said and done—and pain and tears subsided—I’ll wear it like the badge of courage and strength it will be.

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