Voice 101 or Sing Out Loud, Sing Out Strong

Hey, it’s Rey again.  The Boss overindulged in the sugar/carbs department these last few days.  She’s groanin’ and moanin’, the poor thing.

Linda and JJ are both off enjoying holiday fun and family, so that leaves me.  But seeing as I’m doing two performances daily as an elf at a kids’ theater thru Sunday, I’ll have to make this a quick post.

Given I’m a part-time actress and not a writer—though I’m getting pretty good at it, considering all the posting I’ve been doing lately—a lot of writing and blogging rules are alien to me.  . . . Hmm, I think Linda would have called that a run-on sentence.  Whatever.

Here’s the “topic” for today: voice.  For example, an actor’s voice can make or break him or her.  You have a Minnie Mouse voice and you may be limited in the roles department.  The good thing is, like any skill or talent, you can work at it.  For an actor, a voice coach can be a godsend.

A writer/blogger needs a voice, too.  When you start out, you develop a blog concept and design that’s uniquely you.  That’s very cool.  Now you need to make sure that uniqueness is reflected in what you’re blogging about—and “be projected” in how you write.  That’s also known as—you got it—“voice”.

If you’re super smart and posting about things a lot of us wouldn’t understand, you’d probably write like one of those academic sorts.  Someone who’d be more inclined to post about shopping, fashion, and entertainment could use a more happy-go-lucky tone—one like mine.

Whatever you’re writing, that voice should totally reflect you—it has to sound like you . . . and be you.  Grammar and spelling are easily fixable (there are enough sites/programs), so don’t let them intimidate you like they do me.  Go with the flow and fix the little things later.

Write (speak) from your heart.  Let that unique voice flow.  Chances are, the longer you post, the more your voice will develop because you’ll become increasingly more comfortable and less self-conscious—like me.  You’ll become/feel more natural with how you express ideas and opinions.

If it helps, do what I do when I’m playing a role: I deliver to one person, the guy or gal who’s on the receiving end of a comment or reaction.  I don’t think about the audience, director or producer, or anyone else.  I focus on my delivery, my intent . . . and express it with purpose.  I take pride, kinda like an opera singer belting out an aria.

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The kids are waiting.  I better run because I still need to pick up my elf costume (I kinda spilled hot cocoa on it).

I hope my last post of this year on A Writer’s Grab-Bag proves of some value . . . and I sure hope I’ll have a chance to write a few more in 2018 (I’m really getting to like this).

Aloha.

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Happy Ho-ho-holidays from TTIA

The three of us are heading our separate ways, but wanted to post a little poem—a [major] reworking of Clement Clarke Moore’s classic “Twas the Night before Christmas”.

Twas the night before Christmas

And all through the Triple Threat Investigation Agency

The excited P.I. gals considered pressies and holiday places.

Keenly and happily they put to bed all current cases.

JJ was flying to North Carolina to be with family,

While Linda intended to learn more about the Nativity.

Rey was ecstatic about being a comical elf,

A far cry from playing her usual self.

Though not together this holiday season,

The Triple Threat trio was happy, with reason.

They’d soon be together, and cheerfully breezin’.

Again enjoying Hawaii’s splendid warm weather

While accepting thrilling new clients and projects

And perhaps even paid with [welcome] big checks.

But before they parted, they merrily chanted for everyone to hear,

Happy Holidays to all . . . and to all an awesome New Year!

(Hey, we never claimed to be poets.  <LOL>)

*** Thanks ever so much for your support and “followship”! ***

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Stoked & Grateful

As the year draws to a close, it’s hard not to consider all that’s transpired.  2017 was a[nother] year to grow and develop, learn and absorb.

A Writer’s Grab-Bag isn’t halfway where I want it to be (time constraints due to a 9-5 job and Mom), but that’s okay.  The important thing is it is up.  When I can eventually do this full-time, it’ll become everything I want it to be.  In the meanwhile?  I’ll simply go with the flow and figure things out—maybe what I’d initially envisioned the blog to be isn’t at all what it’s supposed to be.   <LOL>

I’m taking a little side trip from the usual and posting what I’m grateful for—that I:

  • have this post up and running
  • post twice a week, without fail
  • write daily on the Triple Threat Investigation Agency Facebook page
  • publish weekly on my other blog (a mish-mash of thoughts on a mish-mash of news, ideas, personal doings)
  • am forever learning about life, writing/blogging, Mom, me
  • have managed to keep the faith despite some trials and tribulations (God is good)
  • have “met” some awesome fellow writers and bloggers
  • am almost finished “Forever Poi”, the 4th mystery in The Triple Threat Investigation Agency series, and
  • am totally stoked about [and ready to take on] the upcoming year.

For those of you following this blog, thank you.  Whether there’s one of you, ten or a hundred, I hope that I provide you with some useful information and/or a smile or chuckle.

May 2018 be a truly amazing year—to dreams coming true, good health, and plans/goals secured . . . to always being stoked and grateful. 

Take care, my friends.  Hugs to you all.

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Happenin’ Holidays

The Boss is MIA.  Too much happening re that full-time job and Mom caregiving.  So it’s Rey to the rescue again . . . one day early.

Seeing as the holidays are nearly here again—like where’d the year go!?—I thought I’d post about what the three of us Triple Threat Investigation Agency P.I.s have planned.

JJ’s off for a week to North Carolina to visit her mother and nephew.  Apparently, her ex-boyfriend Adwin will drop by her mom’s B&B.  They were an odd match back when and he was kind of weird.  I hope they don’t get back together.  I’d rather see her with Cash/Richie J, that self-absorbed undercover-agent-playing-drug-dealer.  Or maybe not.  They’re an even odder match (but, damn, is he hunky).

Linda’s getting together with Loretta and Lido, her sister and brother.  They’ve never been close—at all—but have done some bonding since our move to Hawaii.  The two of them are kind of flaky, but that’s okay.  Family should stick together.  Life’s too short for resentment, hostility, or indifference.

As for yours truly, I’m playing an elf for 10 days at a local kids’ theater.  It’s something new for me, so I’m both excited and nervous . . . which is kind of funny, coz normally I’m pretty calm about acting gigs.  My mom called about flying over for five days, but she’s struggling to organize family get-togethers.  If she leaves it much longer, she probably won’t swing a flight.

Between you and me—and I know what I just wrote about family—we’re not very close.  Never have been.  Linda thinks I should suck it up and let bygones be bygones.  We’ll see.

As a gung-ho shopper, I got shopping (and shipping) done early.  Woo-hoo.  Feels great.  Under the trees we haven’t yet put up <sigh> JJ’ll find a Giani Bernini bag (a gal can never have enough) and Linda an awesome Free People sweater (bought three for myself).

If I’m not posting again in the next wee while, have an amazing holiday season everyone!

Here’s to 2018 being the best year yet!

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Sharing Aloha

It’s Rey.  The Boss asked me to do another post coz that full-time job of hers is taking up way too much of her time.  Actually, she asked JJ first, but JJ’s off to the dentist.  She should just have come to me; I’m getting good at this.  <LMAO>

The Boss had mentioned using audio and video in A Writer’s Grab-Bag to bring some life and animation (“one day”).  I think that’s a fantastic idea, so much so, I thought I’d post about it.  Hawaii’s our home, life, and soul.  Yeah, I may have been Cali-bound back when—where else would (should) an actress be?—but now that we’re living in the land of aloha, I feel like I’ve always belonged.

Take our awesome musicians.  We’ve got Bruno Mars (what a hottie), Iz (a talented singer who died waaaay too young), Don Ho (of course!), and Anuhea Jenkins (what a sweet voice) to name a few.  All four would definitely make for an awesome Triple Threat Investigation Agency playlist.

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I’m thinking it would be cool to have some audio and videos of fun island places—for tourists and locals.  They’d have to be short and sweet, though; we wouldn’t want viewers and followers taking snoozes.

And we can’t not feature some traditional hula dancing—the swaying and songs are so-o beautiful and soothing.

Now, if smell-o-rama were possible, we’d feature fragrant flowers like Kahili Ginger and Plumeria, local foods like laulau or poke or malasadas, and island scents like the briny ocean or produce-bursting farmers’ markets.

Man, I’m stoked.  A hundred ideas are whirling around my head.  Call me Gal on a Mission!  Back soon.  Alo-hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhha!

 

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Huh? Can’t Hear Ya

Okay, audio probably isn’t that important when it comes to a blog post—but then it depends on what your blog’s about, doesn’t it?

I got so stoked about succeeding with video embedding last time, I felt a need to attempt the audio counterpart . . . and now sweat beads are beginning to trickle.

One day, when The Triple Threat Investigation Agency series becomes a full-time blogging-writing-promoting venture, the plan is to utilize auditory effects.  The crucial phrase: one day.  <LOL>  Everything in its time.

The reasoning behind the plan to use audio: to make my private-eye gals come alive . . . share Hawaiian sounds (coz JJ, Rey and Linda would love for you to hear “aloha” as much as see it) . . . for me to talk to you as a blogger/writer.  Maybe I’ll even include a P.I. playlist.  The sky’s the limit.  It’s easy to envision; it’s merely a question of finding the time.  That crucial phrase again: one day.

Evidently, adding an audio file or music to a blog post is super easy.  They’d said that about video, and they were right (relatively).  I won’t list the steps here, but there’s a quick vid at the end of the post on how to accomplish this [another pat on back to moi].

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So, that doesn’t look too appealing, does it?  Poop.   . . . Ah, okay.  Looks fine in Preview.  Whew.  Awesome!  Yeah, the sky’s the limit.  I’m loving this.

Ya know . . . maybe I’m not so technically challenged, after all.

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If a Picture Paints a 1000 Words, then a Vid Must Paint a Mill

Eye candy’s everything when it comes to viewers/followers sticking with a post and site.  If it ain’t pretty or “fetching”, you’ll likely lose that potential follower.

A Writer’s Grab-Bag aims to be neat and organized, but from a purely personal perspective, I’d bet dollars to donuts many would claim it’s not overly professional.  That’s okay.  Blogs are often personal spaces—spheres filled with subjective thoughts or objective info, or maybe a combination of both, depending on the blogger’s focus/purpose.

Without repeating that photos, fonts, whitespace and other types of visuals make for an appealing site—oopsy, guess I just did—another effective tool to utilize is a video.  I’ve seen a few blogs that use them well—professionally, instructionally, and humorously (as it roll-on-the-floor funny).  It’s one thing I’ve longed to do, but haven’t yet [don’t ask].

For those of you who are new to blogging or technically challenged [intimidated] like me, Google “how to embed a video”.  The steps sound easy enough.  Let’s see if they indeedy-do are.

In my how-to-embed-a-vid voyage through the Google cosmos, I discovered that it’s not a great idea to host your own video.  Hey, I’m pleased as punch to get someone else’s uploaded.  I don’t need to attempt my own; that would mean I’d have to create one.  Yikes!  <LOL>  But if you’re interested in doing so, go for it: instructions abound.  As an FYI: Blogger, powered by our friend Google, is a handy tool for doing this.

Given the focus of this post is embedding a video and I’ve proven successful (it’s unfortunate you can’t see me doing cartwheels as I continue to shriek for joy) here’s a video on how to do just that.

Happy embedding.

An Update, An Update, Who Wants an Update?

We do, we do!  <JK>

It’s Rey, taking over for the Boss again, who’s feeling a wee bit “blech” these days.

The “Forever Poi” case is slowly but surely drawing to a close.  We’re real near nabbing the murderer/arsonist.  As much as we’d love to share who it is, we can’t: there’s no proof yet, just P.I. gut instincts churning and burning to bring the culprit to justice.  You’ll have to wait a wee bit longer to learn the outcome of our sleuthing endeavors.

We’ve stumbled over a few bodies along the way, but the list of possible killers has shrunk to one or three.  Thankfully, that crazy week in Connecticut—when we solved The Connecticut Corpse Caper—helped prepare and qualify us for our current roles.

download (9)We’ve really come far since that adventure, never mind opening the Triple Threat Investigation Agency on Oahu.  Pat on back to me for suggesting it.  JJ and Linda were skeptical about moving to Hawaii—hell, they were doubtful about becoming private eyes—but they’ve since seen the light.  <LMAO>

I have a feeling we’ll have another big case soon.  It’d be cool to expand the agency to another island or two, which I may have mentioned, but Linda and JJ think it’s way too soon.  Whatever.

In the meanwhile, I’m bugging my gal-pals to invest in a house—with a pool would be awesome.  I’m keeping my eyes open.  Oh, I’ve got another commercial next week for a new healthy dog food.  I play a pirouetting poodle.

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Linda’s blogging a lot and trying to forget that jerk, Makjo, who dumped her for a wedding bride.  The good thing is she stopped making those creepy voodoo dolls.  The bad thing is she seems kinda lost, maybe a little sad and withdrawn.

JJ’s happy doing some part-time weather announcing and focusing on improving boxing and shooting skills.  Man, she sucks with a gun.  You’d think she had 20/200 vision, the way she doesn’t hit targets.

There you go—a quick update on our current adventures, or mis-adventures as JJ sometimes jokingly calls them.

I’ll post again when this case officially wraps up.  Aloha, my friends!

 

 

Bagging Interest with an Interesting Non-Blah Blog Post Heading

I love alliteration.  Sometimes it really works; sometimes it simply sucks.  The point?  A blog post title or heading has to be as attention-grabbing as the post itself.

Confession?  I always write the heading first.  Why?  Because it sets the mood and establishes my thought process.  What direction am I taking?  What do I want to cover?  How will those heading words be incorporated into the post so there’s cohesion?

I generally aim to be [somewhat] snappy, humorous, or witty.  My blogging objective is two-fold.  The first is to share what I’ve learned so far.  The second is to pull in readers (and potential followers): to bag their interest and insure they gain something beneficial from the advice.

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As previously mentioned, A Writer’s Grab-Bag is still in the development stage—and I readily admit it will take time to transform it to “just right”—but I’m happy to take passengers on this exciting, educational journey.

I digress [a wee bit].  As a blogger, you have a focus/theme and purpose: to accommodate (gratify) readers with your area of expertise.  Digression is fine now and again (I’m pretty good at it, as you know), but posts should spotlight your focus/theme.

Now, while your posts will undoubtedly contain loads of fascinating and constructive information, the fact is that they may never be read if the headings are unremarkable or mediocre.  Think: catchy and captivating.  Lure those readers like fishermen (er, persons) would use hair jigs to attract bass.

If writing a heading is daunting, get a feel for what others in your realm are doing.  In addition to locating examples, you can find templates (they seem to exist for just about everything these days).

Let’s take a quick look at some simple examples.  “Editing Basics” might be okay for readers searching for juzzzzzt that.  But “The Art of Editing = Big Bucks” might be more enticing.  Here’s a standard (yawner): “Q&A”.  How about “Your Questions Answered NOW!” or “Your Questions Answered by the Best in the Biz”.

This heading, “Bag Interest with an Interesting Non-Blah Blog Post Heading”, is long and wordy.  Is it appealing?  Maybe yes, but probably no.  It does, however, capture the point of this post.  . . . Yeah, I love alliteration.  <LOL>

If you’re truly stuck, you may want to make someone else’s heading your own by playing with it, but not plagiarizing.  Google for inspiration.  If you have the yearning to learn, you have the assurance to succeed.

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The Catharsis of Writing

cathartic =psychotherapeutic = emotional = healthful = releasing artistic creation

We all need to purge now and again—be it cleaning out closets, flushing out bottled emotions, or clearing negativities.  It can be done mentally, emotionally, and physically—through writing and posting, as examples.  Purging is a good thing; it eliminates excess and the unneeded.

I’m borrowing from James J. Cudney IV’s This is my Truth Now blog**.  The 365 Day Challenge involves daily posts dedicated to specific words.  (Hope you don’t mind, Jay.)

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The idea came about courtesy of my Wattpad weekly installment “novel” Odd Woman Out.  Left in a storage box for two decades, I yanked it out during a let’s-get-rid-of-crap spring-cleaning blitz.  Back then, I’d believed it was my pièce de résistance.  <LOL>  But as I started to read it, I saw some merit in it and thus, the weekly Wattpad installments came into being.

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Where does “cathartic” come in?  The events/scenes are more non-fiction than fiction.  A lot of things really did happen—to myself or individuals close to me.  The emotions and feelings, thoughts and reflections of Alex (the main character) have provoked chuckles and cringes, and “whoaaaaaa” and “ohhhhhh” moments.

“Whoa” because it prompts the [wincing] question: did I [he/she] really do that?  “Oh” because it triggers the [energizing] revelation: wow, I actually once thought that way?

The proofing/editing process is a bit unique this round: I’m only reviewing maybe six pages at a time, breaking long chapters into several small ones.  Every reading/edit is eye- and soul-opening.  So yes, writing/posting can indeed prove very cathartic.

You don’t have to make it public if it’s too intense or personal and you’re not comfortable sharing.  (Maybe that’s why Odd Woman Out remained in a box for years?)  But you know, sharing does enable you to purge—which, I humbly admit, is very freeing (and exhilarating).

Catharsis: letting go.

. . . Damn it feels really good.

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 ** This is My Truth Now reveals“365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.  I will post a characteristic about myself and reflect on it in a blog post for the next 365 days: a full year of discovery into directing the course of my future.”   Visit Jay’s blog at:  https://thisismytruthnow.com

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