Resolutions, Pledges, and Promises

Call them what you will—most of us make them at the start of a New Year.  And then many of us sweep them under a mat before the end of a New Year we’d hoped would be different, better, calmer, different.

It’s Linda, authoring the first official post of 2019 for The Boss, who’s managed to catch someone’s nasty cough and cold.  T’is the season!

It seemed fitting to reflect on something we focus on once the spectacular, celebratory fireworks show has ended.  We’ve all made resolutions at one time or another—those qualities, habits and manners that need improving (as we perceive).  In terms of the Triple Threat Investigation Agency trio, we haven’t made them in years, but I asked Rey and JJ, as well as The Boss, to each provide three resolutions they’d like to adopt for 2019.  My BFF only agreed when I offered to provide mine as well, so here we go:

Rey:

♦   Resist learning and open my mind more.  ♦   Be less melodramatic or devil-may-care (Linda suggested that one).  ♦   Expand the agency.

JJ:

♦   Become a better marksperson.  ♦   Be less “waffley” when it comes to boyfriends/lovers.  ♦   Learn to surf (because I so hate the water).

Me:

♦   Become skilled at a martial art.  ♦   Do more volunteering.  ♦   Eat healthier again (private eyeing often means eating/snacking on the run, which results in grabbing/scarfing fast food).

The Boss:

♦   Not allow negativity/depression to re-gain the upper hand.  ♦   Re-embrace faith and hope.  ♦   Learn, learn . . . and learn some more (so that blogging and all the technical knowledge that it requires no longer daunts).

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All these are certainly achievable.  The big question, though, with any resolutions/pledges/promises is: just how much effort will be invested to make them actually happen?   <LOL>   Time will tell, dear friends, time will definitely tell.

Have an awesome 2019, everyone—may your dreams and desires come to fruition this year.  God bless.

Downs & Ups . . . Ups & Downs

Life truly is like a seesaw; one second you’re up, the next you’re down.  It’s all good, simply par for the course.

Given it’s year-end, I feel a need to look back.  No, I won’t reflect on the downs of 2018; there were many and it’d be wise to consign them to lessons learned.  As such, I’m focusing on the ups . . . the plans for a better year . . . such as:

♦   getting my e-book covers redesigned, even if I do it myself (which I rather like the idea—challenge—of doing)  ♦   editing a few books for others (something I’m skilled at and enjoy)  ♦   getting a better handle on creating graphics  ♦   having the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series available in hardcover  ♦   redesigning this blog (a lot or a little remains to be seen)  ♦   making more blogging/writing friends  ♦   endeavoring (with all my heart and soul) not to allow negativity to run roughshod, and . . . not just saying it, but doing it . . .  ♦   going with the flow.

The above reads like a list of resolutions, doesn’t it?  I prefer to view it as “an itemization of things to engage in”.  Time will [continue to] play a great factor, but approach and attitude will prove the essential components.

approach = gambit = advantage

attitude = positive mindset = accomplishment

Now that I’ve stated and posted it, I have to make it happen.  <LOL>

WPcheering Gifer – by Tygradar

Another Year . . . Another Chapter

As 2018 draws to a close and a new year arrives, bringing oodles of possibilities . . . revitalized dreams and objectives . . . fervent anticipation and optimism.

Frankly, for me, 2018 wasn’t a good year.  Faith was tested, hope pretty much spent.  Depression hovered nigh like a mammoth cumulus cloud.  Nope, 2018 was not a good year.

With 2019 around the corner, however, a fresh view and approach are not only conceivable, they’re achievable.  So here’s to:

♦ shutting out the past (and leaving it far behind)     ♦     trusting that things will work out     ♦     ensuring wishes and goals remain true    ♦     embracing the positive    ♦     maintaining compassion    ♦     developing solid relationships    ♦     being grateful for friends and followers    ♦     strengthening faith, and    ♦     believing—knowing—that the Big Guy is walking alongside.

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My fellow writers and bloggers, followers and colleagues: may 2019 be everything you desire and deserve!

To new [amazing] beginnings!  God bless.

Poetry in Motion

More like poetry in john (but it sounds better).

Once upon a time, I dabbled with poetry.  Was never a big fan, in all honesty, but did challenge myself to write it . . . and once written, into a drawer or storage box it went.  And stayed.

The approaching end of a year motivates me to clean up and out—anything and everything.  Last week, I found a few “gems” dated 20 years ago.  (Like, wow, how’d they remain there so long?)

I couldn’t remember writing those poems and some, I confess, seem so bleak/black.  Oof.  But some were interesting, revealing maybe.  Indicative of the time and events in my life, no doubt.

I’ve picked one to post—a purge, as it were.  Given year-end seems a fine time for clearing and cleansing, I’m sharing it . . . as is, even if the temptation to edit and refine is overwhelming.  It should remain as is (as it was was)—a tribute to the evolution of yours truly as a poet, er, writer.

A Tree, Me, To Be

I’ve watched the green-blue waters flow, gently and not-so-gently

And I’ve viewed many vivid sunrises and just as many sunsets.

Wildlife is scarce; watersnakes and alligators and frogs and fish

And many types of birds—their plumage magnificent, their colors intense.

Hanging moss and pungent mold surround this great swampy river. 

The bogs.

Rocks are few, unless you look beneath the darksome waters, near my roots and those of my sisters.

The sky is azure, peacock and mauve, depending on the time of day and year.

Sometimes it’s iron and slate and pitch and it’s not even evening.

This is because

         the storms and hurricanes have arrived.  And with them,

         great winds and pelting wetness.  Fierce and determined.

         Then, finally, calm.

Sounds are minimal.  Chirps and warbles and singsong twitters.

My friends, the birds.

Splashes can also be heard—those amphibious creatures.

Occasionally, man-made noises fly overhead or rumble in the distance.

Hunters?

One night I dreamed about a person who was a successful writer.

She told me how she kept the faith, held it, embraced it, squeezed it and welcomed it

Until it finally guided her to the point, the place she knew she had to be.

One night I dreamed about this same person.

She was a recognized author, a winner of awards.

She instructed me to pick up my pen and never lay it down.

“Have no fears.  Your pen will know the words.  It will create

         the written images

         the brilliant visions

         the probing thoughts

         for you.

It knows what’s inside your head and heart.”

One night I dreamed about her again, this artist of words.

She was standing on a patio—hers—overlooking the crystalline waters of the Atlantic.

She said nothing, simply gestured the aqua expanse.

Believe.

In self and spirit.

This silent message drifted as a veil of opaque white before me.

Then, I knew

Conviction of self was all it took . . . and all it takes.

Some time later, I had another dream.

         But the writer—acclaimed, spiritual, and sage—was not in it.

         In her stead was . . . me.

I stood on the patio, overlooking the Atlantic, a pen and notebook within reach

And all the conviction I’ve ever and never possessed coursed through my veins, heart, and mind.

I was no longer confined, bound by fear and doubt;

The thin, twining bindings that had held me firm, my confidence from spilling forth,

Had fallen.

Fallen into the water . . . to be carried away by the currents and flows.

I could breathe.

Deeply.

Inhale the sweetness of foliage

         the brininess of water

         the coolness of the night

         and warmth of the day.

I’d finished my book.

It had not finished me.

I had another dream.

The writer came to me—

A smaller version

A birdlike version.

She sat on my branch

And placed a gentle, warm palm to

My body, my trunk.

It kissed me and whispered,

“You believed.  And I came.”

I studied her white, crystal face

Delicate and fragile

Like the rime on a cottage window

On a late December’s eve.

There was strength and knowledge

And wisdom that surpassed all time

And events.

The longer I looked at her,

The longer I stared,

The more I saw.

That face, that essence

Belonged to no one

Yet everyone

And, above all, me.

 

yuckReactionGIFsReactionGIFs

OMG.  Can you spell y-u-c-k?  I see why I ceased writing poetry.  <LMAO>  But it’s all good, because evolution truly is a splendid thing.

Hump Day

Silly name, Hump Day.  Get it.  Still silly.

So the tour’s over . . . and I’ve no more daily tour-update posts.  Back to the regular routine of posting Wednesdays and weekends.

Two takeaways: find a new cover designer to give the Triple Threat Investigation Agency books a new [appealing] look and not call Cash “Aloha Shirt Man”.  <LOL>  Okay, okay, there were a few more takeaways and I’m most grateful for them.  Thank you again, everyone.

On that note, I bid you a lovely Hump Day.  May it be a pleasant and positive one!

Aloha!

Hula for Present Blog Post

 

 

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.

WPDucksinaRow1

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

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