What’s in an Interview . . . except Your Soul?

Hello.  This is Detective Gerald Ives—Ald for short and Hives instead of Ives, if you’re headstrong (bolshie) Reynalda Fonne-Werde.  I’m sure I’ll hear about that one.  <LMAO>  Anyway, the gals from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency are enjoying a spa day (another one, must be nice) and asked, begged, me—given I ask a lot of questions for a living—to conduct an interview with The Boss today.  Evidently, their big B would like some practice.  I’m happy to oblige and it will only cost the threesome a dinner at a five-star restaurant, with a great bottle of wine.

Why do you write mysteries?  Genre of preference?

Very much so.  I’ve mentioned this previously, but I was a huge fan of Nancy Drew when I was kid.  I loved solving mysteries, putting together puzzles.  Hence, the desire to write them—my genre of definite and delightful preference.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was probably six or seven.  As an only child, I had to entertain myself.  Writing and drawing were two regular means.  I loved creating stories as much as I enjoyed crayoning and painting.  When I was around twelve, the “writing bug” really grabbed hold . . . and never let go.

 What was your first book-length story and was it published?

The first manuscript was a historical romance with a western theme set in Texas.  Beautiful feisty heroine meets—clashes with—hunky aggressive hero.  It was never published, but I do believe I still have it in a storage box somewhere.  Maybe, one day, I’ll dig it out.  It would be interesting to compare my writing style back then to present day, and see how I’ve developed.

Describe your present-day writing style.

In a word: narrative.  I tell a story and provide descriptions and details that convey conflict and tension, action, humor, a beginning and an end.  Do I have a distinctive or unique voice?  I believe so, but I’d never be able to “describe” it.  It’s simply . . . me.

It’s said some writers have muses.  Do you? WPmuseA1

Wouldn’t know a muse if it bit me on the butt—but power to those that have a guiding spirit or source of inspiration.  Maybe I could borrow one for a day or two . . . ?

Do you draft a plot and outline before you write a book or let an idea take you where it may?

I always have an idea re a Triple Threat Investigation Agency case—for example, have P.I.s JJ, Rey, and Linda find a body by the canal (which is how the fifth book starts).  I’ll have determined who placed the body there, but not necessarily why.  In fact, the “reason” doesn’t usually present itself until a good 200+ pages have been written.  You could unequivocally say, I go with the flow.

What sort of research do you do for your books?

I do a lot—anything from local food to drinks, weapons to wounds.  But it’s on an on-going, what-do-I-need-to-know basis.  More than half the research isn’t used, but it’s quite helpful for painting pictures and assembling puzzle pieces, and providing a knowledge base.

As a writer, what is success to you?  How do you measure it?

One type of success is the accomplishment of having completed a project (in my case a book).  It’s an awesome feeling.  The second is the traditional type, if we could call it that, the one most people would claim is having a fruitful and/or prosperous career.  Fellow writers might say: success is having achieved substantial sales and/or become a recognizable name.  Ultimately, however, it’s being able to do what you love . . . and if it pays well, too, that’s doubly fantastic.

So you’re feeling good about having finished “Forever Poi”?

It’s taken forever to complete, so it feels amazing that it’s finally done.  The marketing and promotional components come into play now, as do getting the front and back covers done, the e-book actually uploaded, and all those little [but numerous] “tasks” that go with the completion of a project.  This part of the project tends to lean towards stressful for me, but it’s all—ultimately—good.

If any of your books were to be adapted into a movie, which one would it be?

The Connecticut Corpse Caper was initially written as a one-off, and is near and dear to my heart, so I’d like to see that made into a movie.  An homage to B&W mysteries, it’s campy enough—I believe—to transcend well onto the screen.  In all honesty, though, I confess that I’d love to see the Triple Threat Investigation Agency books developed into a weekly mystery series.  <LOL>  Hey, we’re entitled to our dreams, and that’s [one of] mine.

What are your other dreams?

To move to Hawaii, of course.  To [finally] find contentment and tranquility.  To give back.  To become a better person/Christian.  To become an American, which I’ve wanted with all my heart and soul since I was five; I cry when I hear the anthem . . . cried when I heard it last night.  Allow me to share an astounding YouTube vid featuring seven-year-old Malea.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Despite what may sometimes seem like insurmountable odds, never give up, and constantly keep the faith.  It’s not always easy.  In fact, it can be incredibly [excruciatingly] difficult, but it can be done.  Just believe.

And there you have it, folks.  My first un-work-related interview with the Triple Threat Investigation Agency private eyes’ boss.  You know?  I could get to like this.  . . . Maybe I’ll set up a blog of my own.

Cheers.

Coming . . . Soon?

You’ve seen them—those signs advising that a restaurant or retail store is, yup, opening soon.  In fact, you’ve seen them day after day, week after week, and month after month.  Sometimes, yup, even year after year.

I can now totally relate to that.  It seems as if “Forever Poi” has been “forever coming soon”.   <LMAO>

There are times when I want to smack my head into a brick wall.  Never, ever, has it taken me this long to get a project completed.  Never, ever, have I “lollygagged” (what a great word) when it comes to my passion of writing. WPCrazyFaceC

Okay, okay, it’s not that I’ve truly been lollygagging.  It’s that I’ve been finding it difficult to find [sufficient] time to work on my labor-of-love, a fact I’ve shared, ad nauseam.  Another reason to smack my head.  Maybe the action will put a stop to that sense of madness, the kind you experience when too many disruptions/diversions distract from the ability to get something urgent, significant, or special done.

But, as they say, everything in its own sweet time.  So what if my e-book is behind a year?  It’ll get there.  So what if my blog isn’t where I want it to be?  It’ll get there.  So what if I’ve not been able to network, promote or market as I’d like to (dream of)?  It’ll [all] get there.

Patience, as they also say, is a virtue.  I readily acknowledge, however, that I am not very virtuous (though it genuinely is at the top of the personal-development plan).  <LOL>

I’ve returned to to-do lists.  Small ones.  Workable ones.  This week’s list encompasses:

  • researching formatters / cover designers
  • writing an interview (maybe two)
  • doing another installment of “Odd Woman Out”
  • continuing with Facebook Triple Threat Investigation Agency posts
  • learning something new, even if only a valuable tidbit (as opposed to a Timbit, which is a good [and very yummy] thing, too).

<LOL>   You know, I should indulge in copious amounts of caffeine more often: this post has been a breeze to pen.  It’s amazing how jazzed you feel, as if you truly can truly do anything.

Here’s to always opening sooner than later, my friends.

. . . Now, where’d I put that can of Red Bull?

 

When I’m Calling You-ou-ou

Not gonna happen.  <ROTFL>

Today, an aside from the regular writing/editing or Triple Threat Investigation Agency post.  . . . Or, could be, I just want to avoid thinking about—and disclosing—all the things that need doing re “Forever Poi”.  Like getting it done.

Confession: I can’t stand talking on the phone.  I will avoid answering the blasted thing, tell it to go away, curse it, tuck it in a drawer when not at work (and sometimes even then), and fire off damaging laser beams at it with a wrathful gaze.

I make promises to call people, and at the time I make the pledge, I truly do mean (and expect) to do so.  Then, something—chores, Mom, email perusal, a newly realized task—throws a wrench in the works, er, promise, er . . . .

Fact: it’s not that I don’t want to talk to people, it’s that I don’t want to talk.  Period.  I’m simply not a chatterer.  Or maybe it’s that I feel I don’t have anything interesting to share.  And it’s not that I don’t want to hear all the wonderful things everyone’s up to, it’s that I . . . simply put . . . hate the phone.

Must be the writer in me.  I’d rather type a 100 emails than spend two minutes on the blower, as they used to call it.  In an email, you can create a mood, edit repeatedly before replying, get creative/fancy or keep it simple, state that all’s hunky-dory even if it’s not.  On the phone, voice and tone betray disposition and attitude unless, of course, one’s a stellar actor.

Why am I revealing this little quirk?  Guilt, I guess.  I was supposed to phone someone Saturday, but come the agreed-to time, I simply couldn’t get my fingers to comply, but then, there was some vacuuming that was crying out to be done.   (Honestly, I think visiting a dental surgeon would be easier, if not more enjoyable.)

Funny, huh?  I suppose we all have our idiosyncrasies.  <LOL>

On that note, my friends, feel free to email or message me as often as you like.  I’ll [very] happily reply.

Starting from Scratch

It sucks when you lose someone you’ve come to like/depend on for your e-books.  Okay, I haven’t exactly lost her; she’s just MIA (or totally ignoring me), which I suppose amounts to one and the same: loss.

Time is already tough to juggle for this non-juggler (can you hear those balls dropping?).  It’ll be a daunting task to locate a new resource. WPSatPoss

Sigh, sigh, sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  Okay, self-pity moment over.  <LOL>  Pulling up socks, lacing up [army] boots.

The positive side: yes, I do have to start from scratch, but I’ll also relearn everything . . . recall all that’s been forgotten over the year-and-a-half since attempting to get “Forever Poi” completed.  Once I get over the “trepidation factor”, it’ll all prove a positive and insightful experience.

On that note, I’m returning to the beginning of the end: formatting an e-book that’s ready for publication.

There are quite a number of sites that will do this for free.  Free is nice.  Who doesn’t like f-r-e-e?  That said, though, I’m not sure I’m ready (or willing) to go it alone.  I’d prefer to have someone hold my hand, so to speak.  But please don’t let my lack of confidence hold you back from taking the free route.

Some things to note if this is your first e-publishing adventure.  E-books will look different on different devices; as such, text has to meet certain e-book formatting requirements (to ensure the document is neat and readable).  Some e-book publishers will request you stick to a specific format.  You may want to avoid getting super fancy and providing too much “pizzazz” (like a sundry of fancy fonts).  Keep it [fairly] simple.

You’d be best to start with a Word document/file which, of course, you’ve previously formatted for formatting.  <LOL>  You can use an epub, too, but they aren’t as easy to work with; changes are harder to make (this I can attest to).  Formatting is fairly simple, if all goes right—fortunately, there’s a ton of info out there that will guide you from one step to the next.

PDF or epub are the options for formatting your e-book.  The former is said to work best with complex, image-heavy e-books while the latter is perfect for simpler ones.  But do  check what e-publishers want/require (Kindle will have different “rules” from Smashwords, for example).

Visit various sites to see which free formatting folks you’d like to go with, or find a professional formatter.  They’re not that expensive.  (I initially found mine through Smashwords and she was great, so I may return there before checking out other sites.)

Next task after formatting: cover and back designs.  Unless you’re skilled or adventurous enough to do it yourself (I’m not) . . . or fellow writers recommend someone reputable (anyone have one?). . . do that due diligence.  You don’t want to end up paying an exorbitant fee, unless you’re Rockefeller rich, of course.  (Me, I’m going to pull out Piggy and start counting pennies.)

Given “Forever Poi” is approximately two-three weeks away from final completion, I’d better get those scuttling ducks [back] in a row.

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The Journey . . . Back

Hey there.  Okay, so I’m finally getting there re “Forever Poi”, which got me to thinking about my next post.  Should it be on marketing?  Promo plans?  Hopes and dreams re the fourth Triple Threat Investigation Agency book and the series?

All sound fine, and I can certainly put pen to paper—er, fingers to keyboard—for any one of them.  The question is: can I [truly] do any marketing or promotion, given what’s happening in my life right now?  Maybe.  If I could survive on two hours of sleep a day.  <LOL>

So, that got me to thinking some more (yeah, it did prove a little taxing on the ol’ gray matter) and that took me back to where it all began—i.e. what got me started loving and writing mysteries.  Nancy Drew.

Remember her?  She was a young detective who resided in River Heights.  Well-to-do, she had a supportive father, who was also a lawyer, and a kindly housekeeper who provided motherly support.  Nancy solved mysteries around the globe with best friends, Bess and George.  The two were cousins, but polar opposites.  While Bess was timid and leaned toward pudgy (the way I remember), George was athletic and, as her name suggested, a tomboy.  Nancy’s beau was Ned Nickerson.  Let’s see if memory prevails.  Dave was Bess’ boyfriend and . . . right, Burt was George’s.

My first Nancy Drew mystery, which will always hold a very fond place in my heart was The Haunted Showboat.  I can still visualize the murky, marshy bayou, hear the birds in the twisting branches and creatures clambering in the foliage, and smell the molding wood and dense vegetation.  . . . What an awesome journey back in time this is turning out to be. NancyDrewuse1

I just took a gander re Showboat and learned it was the 35th book in the series.  Spunky Nancy first appeared in 1930 (who’d have guessed she dated back that far?).  As a bit of FYI trivia, publisher Edward Stratemeyer featured her in a series as a “counterpart” to the Hardy Boys (which I also read, but with less zeal).

Carolyn Keene wrote all the books, but the name was actually a pseudonym for several authors.  “She”, by the by, also penned the Dana Girls mystery series.  Oddly, I never really got into them, though I did regularly play the Dana Girls board game with a friend.  OMG—recall/flashback!  I’d forgotten all about those days.

Thank you, Nancy, for setting me on the path to writing mysteries.  I couldn’t have done it without you.  . . . And thank you, followers, for allowing me to travel back and share a period of my life that was genuinely enjoyable.

nancydrewusetoo

An Abundance of Accolades

Many bloggers share personal everyday experiences, even when their blogs have a particular non-personal theme.  I like that.  A lot.  I’m not as prone to disclosing facets of my life.  Truth is: I have next to nothing at this juncture to disclose (not being negative, just candid).

Currently, my time (for those not in the know) consists of caregiving for Mom and working a 9-5 job.  I was recently put into a new role  and, to be frank, it’s “tryingly stressful”.  Time has become even more of a factor—i.e. I’m scrambling to grasp it.  Also have another [minor but unpleasant] health issue.  As such, my life at this time doesn’t seem overly joyous/joyful, but it’s all good (downs and ups are par for the course).

I do, however, find absolute joy in the fabulous blogs I follow, too many to mention here.  They entertain, inform, inspire . . . and keep me motivated when I sometimes want to give up.

I love that my fellow [faithful and focused] bloggers:

  • write so eloquently that a casual walk along a sidewalk sounds exciting
  • share their struggles [addictions/disabilities] and successes in overcoming them
  • post picturesque pictures of travels and loved ones with lovely lyrical tales
  • engage in ambitious projects . . . and then engage us in the excitement
  • have adorable pets that provide much pleasure and that awesome unconditional love
  • communicate their writing progress and process in enlightening detail
  • reveal their faith—and inspire us to maintain ours
  • impart information in fascinating and edifying ways
  • offer [welcome] support, guidance, and friendship.

joypost2Accolades to you all, my friends.  You make the blogging world such a brighter place.  Count your God-given blessings, and honor your talents.  And should life/work ever seem tough or challenging, never give up.  We’d be lost without you.

Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah . . . A Personal Post about Zip

Rey, who often covers posts when I’m not around or feeling a need to step away, isn’t available.  So, here I am.

I decided to break from Editing Tidbits this weekend and share a few thoughts and happenings.  Nothing earthshattering or life-changing.  Nothing of major significance—“zip”—but a little personal.  wkndblog2

This week, I seriously gave thought to stop blogging/writing.  It’s kind of a conundrum in that I’m stressed when I’m not able to write, I’m stressed when I do.  Heck, I’m plain stressed.  Period.  <LOL>  But then I have to ask: do I truly want to cease doing what I so much enjoy, even if I can’t do it to the extent I’d like?  Should I?  Could I?

Some health issues have been plaguing me of late.  Not sure if they’re a result of being frazzled or because I’m truly [annoyingly] experiencing a glut of minor [irritating] maladies.

As you know, I take care of my elderly mom and work a 9-5 job, so juggling time is tough.  The job, in fact, is actually coming to a close as it’s being—drum roll <rat-ta-tat-tat>—automated.  Yeah, that popular early 21st century word we know so well.  They’re moving me into a new role, but I’d rather they do what they’ve been doing to others in and around my age: urging early retirement (with a decent package).  Why?  Besides that fact I really don’t want the new role (I’m not sure it’s a good fit, to be honest), I’d like—love!—to write and blog full-time.

About 18 months ago, give or take, I started A Writer’s Grab-Bag and a corresponding FB page (The Triple Threat Investigation Agency).  Dreams and plans abounded, as they still do now, which is awesome, but they’re also still that: dreams and plans.

Writing’s been a decades-long joy.  It’s fun, therapeutic, and challenging.  I like to think [hope] that maybe I’m entertaining people with my tales.  Teaching and mentoring have always been pleasures, too; thus, the [hopefully] edifying posts.

Here’s to stress and “frazzlement” dissipating soon and getting back on course.  Two simple sayings we know well: “when one door closes, another opens” and “things have a way of working themselves out”.  Deep within, my heart and soul say: just continue to keep the faith, kiddo (even when some days prove super challenging).  Trials and tribulations, great or small, help us learn and grow.  Who can argue with that?  Ultimately, it’s all good.

There you go, a little wearing of the heart on one’s sleeve from yours truly—a personal post about “zip” . . . “a-dee-doo-dah”.  <LOL>  After the rain, there’s always sunshine.  As James Baskett wrote . . .

♥  Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay  /  My, oh, my, what a wonderful day  /  Plenty of sunshine headin’ my way  /  Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!  ♥ 

Have an awesome weekend, my friends.

And from the trio at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency—who intend to enjoy the beach and watersports this sunshiny weekend, those lucky gals—aloha!

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A Triple Threat Sing-A-Long

Hey.  Rey here.  Got a treat today—all three of us are posting.  The Boss is in a bit of a funk this week.  She’s missing “home” (H-a-w-a-i-i) and can’t find a way of getting here any time soon.  But she’s keeping the faith.

To boost her spirits, we decided to do what she calls “an aside”—we’re sharing about our time on Oahu.  We’ve already posted about our life as P.I.s and our likes and loves about this place, but we haven’t really talked about why it’s so near and dear, how it’s shaped and influenced us.  So, here’s a sum-up from each of us, including what we consider the quintessential mele (that’s Hawaiian for song) from our favorite Hawaiian artist.  . . . Have to laugh.  Linda’s eyes bugged out when she saw me use “quintessential”.  But as I often say: I’m not just a pretty face.

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Reynalda Fonne-Werde

Life here has softened me a bit.  Yeah, my colleagues think I’m melodramatic and sometimes reckless and self-centered.  I am, I admit it.  When I want something, I go for it.  And I think this is perfectly all right when working a case—a private eye needs to go with her gut.  On the human side, I’ve learned to like animals (a lot) and have taken to saving the monk seals (a cause dear to my heart).  I tend to listen to people more and can be sympathetic and feeling.  So yeah, I’ve definitely softened.  Damn.  I hope I don’t turn into a mush-ball or anything like that.  My quintessential song is by the very talented, and greatly missed, Iz.  “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.

JJ Fonne

I’m loving that Rey’s become proactive in different ways.  Life here has changed her.  It’s changed us all.  We’re happily ensconced in burgeoning careers and personal crusades.  My cousin and I have bonded.  Sure, we have our tiffs and life’s not always rosy, but I can’t complain about anything.  It may be a cliché saying, but it’s true:  it’s all good.  This is going to sound cheesy, but my quintessential song is “Tiny Bubbles” by Hawaiian pop icon Don Ho.  (Even if I sound like sound like a frog that’s barely been missed being run over by pick-up truck, I have no prob singing his signature song in the shower—with absolute gusto.)

Linda Royale

Contrary to what JJ’s posted, I can’t say I’ve changed a lot since moving here, but I’m certainly grateful and count my blessings for having the opportunity to live and work here.  I have to confess, when Rey suggested becoming professional private investigators, I didn’t take her seriously.  In fact, I humored her—for weeks.  When it became obvious she was totally serious, I attempted to talk her out of it.  But she’s strong-minded, among other things, so P.I.s it was.  I don’t regret it.  At all.  As for Hawaii, the aloha spirit does exist—it’s almost tangible—and it’s infectious.  And on that note, my quintessential song is Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk/Formation”.  Talk about infectious.  It makes me want to dance every time.  . . . And maybe, just maybe, it will “up” The Boss’ “funk”.

Aloha from Rey, JJ, and Linda!

Confessions of a Quasi-Novice Blogger

I confess!  I know not how to respond to a Google reply/notification!  I have trouble replying to a Facebook message!  I struggle (still) to figure out Instagram!  <LMAO>

Is it an age thang?  Or a simple lack of knowledge?  Maybe a bit of both.  I love technology, though I [often] curse it.  Social media I totally get and attempt to pursue as regularly as limited time will allow, but—another admission—some sites/applications [to me] are as nebulous as clouds of dust.

I should probably find a social media expert who works [super] cheap, someone who can explain it in layman’s—er, layperson’s—terms so it’s understandable and doable.

Another bit of a digression today.  When ideas/thoughts pop into the ol’ noggin, you sometimes yearn to share them—maybe because, when you let others in on what you’re thinking or experiencing, the process provides a bit of that warm and fuzzy feeling (and that’s kind of ni-ice).

Blogging: what an awesome platform.  It enables us to open up, confess, entertain, instruct . . . sell . . . meet and greet.  We can reveal dreams, worries, and inexperience/naiveté.  We can expose ourselves to the world, something many of us may never previously have considered, much less done.  In essence, we’re able to wear our hearts on our sleeves (and that’s kind of ni-ice, too). blogsun1

Departures from the norm are a good thing now and again.  But next post, it’s back to the straight and narrow.  . . . Maybe.  Who knows what may catch my fancy the next few days?  <ROTFL>

Thanks for letting me in, my friends.

 

L’amour du Fromage or The Love of Cheese . . . y

Love cheese.  It’s nummy, as P.I. Rey would say, and full of calcium and protein, which is a good thing (we’ll overlook the cholesterol component).

Love cheesiness.  Not in a vulgar or crummy way, but as in silly and fun.

This blog certainly leans toward cheesy.  Many of the photos are stock and are “manipulated” by yours truly.  I’ll readily admit that they lean toward amateurish, which is fairly evident, but I’m okay with that . . .  ‘cause I love cheese-y.

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Sure, I’d like this blog to look professional, but that would require paid-for services, which equals $$$, which I simply don’t possess [at this time].

But what’s wrong with a blog looking homemade?  Muffins and cookies prepared by a loving hand are 10X better than store-made bought.

I’m off on a bit of a tangent today and, therefore, not offering any bona fide advice, observations, or findings.  Merely having a bit of fun, doffing my layperson hat, and patting myself on the back for having gotten this far.

As I grow and develop, gain knowledge from other blogs, and learn through [a lot of] trial and error, A Writer’s Grab-Bag will undergo some tweaking.

In the meanwhile, I’ll stick with cheesy, because as a lover of le fromage, I’m fine with that.

Don’t take life [and blogging] too seriously.  Our time on this planet is incredibly short, my friends.  Have / poke some fun now and again, in an entertaining harmless way of course.  What’s meant to be, will happen . . . in its sweet, blessed time.

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