Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Animal Characters by Konnie Enos

Recently we were discussing using animals/pets in our stories. Bonnie mentioned she has them in a number of hers but I can only come up with two of mine that do, and only one of those has indoor pets. They both start on farms.
Considering I have a house full of animals, Bonnie found it surprising I didn’t incorporate them more into my stories.
Since we’ve moved into this house, a little over twelve years ago, we’ve develop something of a menagerie here. Dogs, cats, mice, Guinea pigs, hamsters, and parakeets. All of which have personalities all their own.
My own Mabel insists on joining me in the bathroom than stands, with her back to me, staring at the door until I open it. I haven’t decided if she’s standing guard or simply doesn’t like closed doors, but then she doesn’t do that when the bedroom door is closed. Maybe it’s the small space?
My husband’s dog will cower at loud noises. So the Fourth of July will find him either shivering in our bed or cowering under my husband’s desk. Though he could find another place to hide if he doesn’t feel safe enough there. The other day he climbed in our daughter’s bed and laid on her considerable amount of hair because something scared him. Took forever to get him off because we couldn’t find Dad.
Then there is said daughter’s own dog. He doesn’t like loud noises either. One time a neighbor kid was over here and he had a balloon.
You guessed it. Somehow that balloon popped, and near Gunner.
That poor boy was so terrified we could see the whites of his eyes. It was all I could do to hang on to him while yelling for someone to run for my daughter who was at the neighbor’s house.
Thankfully one of the boys visiting here ran fast to get her from his home where she was visiting with his sister.
One of our previous dogs (Rusty died nearly three years ago) was really laissez-faire. He was our largest dog and at the time we had two cats. He walked into this house and his whole attitude was like, “Oh you live here, I live here now too.” He was a huge sweet heart and he really loved our one cat.
Anyway as I was thinking about this total lack of animals in my stories, I thought of all the personalities of our pets. Each and every one of them, large and small.
And my one overriding thought was, “I can see how “The Incredible Journey” could be written.”
Including animals in your stories isn’t just giving your character a pet, but creating another character for your story.
They need a name, a description and a personality.
And just like with humans, no two are exactly alike.
My one daughter has now had two Guinea pigs. One really loved his green vegetables and loved being held and would pull on her zipper every time. Her current one doesn’t mind being held and petted, but doesn’t pull zippers and much prefers his fruits to his vegetables.
Even our dogs, each and every one has been different. You can get some idea of their temperament and personality from what bred they are, but that is never the whole picture. Just like with humans, you have to get to know each one individually.
I believe that’s why I don’t put more animals in my stories. I already have enough characters in them.
But then writing another story similar to “The Incredible Journey” might be fun too.
What do you think?

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Writing Gene

Writers abound in my family; poets, journalist, and just plain writers, there are lots of us, most of my siblings, several cousins, Father, Mother, grandmother, aunt. For years, we’ve talked about writing being in our genes, and I believe I’ve found the proof. (Well except for my mother and grandmother, they only married men on that line.)

I was online looking at my family tree and the name Shakespeare jumped out at me. (I’ve always been a big fan.) Then just a couple generations later, I find a Shakespeare who lived in Stratford on the Avon! So I opened another window and looked up The Bard’s birthday, and the fellow I was looking at was older then him. So I looked up The Bard’s father’s name, and it wasn’t Richard, the name I was looking it, but well Richard was enough older then good old William that I decided to check who Richard’s kids were, well of course I did know one, the one I come from, but when I checked, the first child listed was John!

That was Shakespeare’s father’s name. And yes, when I checked who John’s children were, William was there — the William Shakespeare, picture and all!

The fellow I descend from was John’s little brother, but that still means, William Shakespeare is a distant cousin of mine! Writing really is in my genes.

Now to go back to my WIP, I have a lot of editing to do. After all, I have a rather auspicious heritage to live up to.

 Happy writing everyone! J

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Of Bras and Other Monstrosities by Konnie Enos

Everybody is different.
Yeah, I know, I’m a broken record.
My husband has a stuffed full closet of clothes and every morning when he gets up he jumps into his clothes, including shoes, almost before he does anything else. Every day. Even when all he is going to do is walk across our room and get on his computer.
Me? Are you kidding? Why get dressed if I don’t have to?
Once upon a time I went rounds with my husband because of my tendency to stay in my pajamas all day. It is often used as a sign of depression so he was understandably concerned.
I finally had him step into our walk-in closet, look around and tell me what he saw. It took some coaching but he finally saw what I already knew.
Our closet at the time had two long bars on each side as you walked into it. I figured his and her sides and put clothes away accordingly. My husband, however, has never understood this his and her space or that a closet can be organized. That and the fact he simply had more than I did meant his clothes overflowed onto my side. I also had a selection of our children’s Sunday best clothes hanging there. About eighty percent of the closet was full of clothes that wasn’t mine.
I pointed out that dressing everyday meant doing my laundry far more often than I already was and since I was already doing several loads a day, well, I didn’t need or want to do more.
 So my husband and kids have gotten used to my non-clothes hog ways and not getting dressed every day. Even now when I have more than three outfits to my name they know I have no plans to go anywhere simply because I’m not dressed.
Of course it isn’t really to save time on keeping them clean. Bras and shoes are monstrosities. Abominations to be endured. Preferably for the shortest period of time possible. And clothes? Only the most comfortable. I’ve never worn jeans of any kind simply because I don’t find them comfortable.
Keeping all this in mind, yesterday morning my husband returned from taking our sons to school to find me up, dressed and reaching for my shoes.
What would you be thinking at that moment?
He asked me, “Do you have errands to run?”
Now mind you we had talked before he took the boys off to school. Yes, I realize it was early and he may have been half asleep, I certainly wasn’t awake. I was in fact still lying in bed with my eyes closed, but I know I told him I had no plans for the day.
I looked at him like he was crazy, thinking he’d clearly forgotten the obvious. When he didn’t immediately realize his error I said, “No. I have a dog.”
I’m still laughing about.
He’d clearly forgotten I’d recently acquired a dog who likes her daily walks. Good exercise for both of us.
And don’t worry, the shoes came right back off as soon as I returned. If I’d been at all uncomfortable I would have changed back into my nightgown. I really didn’t have anywhere to go.
But even Mabel, who I’ve only had for about a month now, knows when I get my shoes one on I’m going outside. She even knows what it means when I grab my purse and keys.
Smart dog.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Bane Of Writers by Bonnie Le Hamilton


In centuries past scribes everywhere groaned and complained about worn nibs and ink splatters. Even to this day, writer’s who prefer pen and ink, complain when their pen stops working or they run out of paper. (I’ve never known a true writer to ever be without a pen, but even I’ve run out of paper, once in a while.)

But it is an age old problem, needing to write, wanting to write, and not being able to write due to mechanical error. In days gone by a quill nib failing meant you either had a spare, or you had to go find a new one.

I don’t know how hard that would be, but I do know not all feathers will work as quills. And even if you found one, it did require work to shape the nib. And the invention of pens didn’t improve things all that much. Back then you had to fill the pens with ink by yourself. A messy job from what I’ve been told. But modern pens run out of ink, with no way to refill them. Having spares does work, of course. But you can’t always bring the spars with you.

I recently had a pen give out on me while I crossing things off my grocery list. It was the only pen I had with me. And I usually have spare on me, that time I didn’t.

Though when it comes to writing stories, I prefer using my computer, so the problem is — what happens when one key on a computer isn’t working, as it should? If I had a desktop, it would be easy to replace a keyboard. Just unplug the malfunctioning one and plug in a new one. But I don’t have a desktop I have laptop. The keyboard is replaceable, except it will require time in the shop —time where I won’t have my lone computer.

I do have pen paper, I use those for all sorts of lists, but I also have horrible handwriting, and carpal tunnel syndrome, writing a lot, by hand, would be painful, being without my computer for a couple days isn’t going to fun either.

Though by the time this is posted, I might just have it back, or at least soon after. 

Happy writing everyone! J

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Dinner Surprise by Konnie Enos

Image result for family dinner pictures
For the last couple of years in my household it has become increasingly harder to have a family dinner.
Now I know what you’re thinking.
I have teenagers. They are always busy and would rather spend time with their friends.
No. That isn’t the problem.
Around here the problem is diets.
No. Not the losing weights type of diets, though I am attempting to lose weight, but rather the medically necessary types of diets.
There are six people in this household. Fully half of us have restricted diets. And none of our diets are the same. So to get a meal on the table I would have to accommodate four different meal plans in order to make sure everyone had something they could eat (well, and the boys would eat). So family meals just went by the wayside. It was too hard to accommodate everyone.
Now even when I do try to fix dinner for the family my sons would rather get something for themselves, or only eat part of what I fixed (example: the entre but not the side dishes I fixed to go with it, or the side dishes but not the entre.) While my daughters have to pick and choose. One can’t have the meat, like at all. She’s now vegetarian, not to mention all she’s allergic too. And the other one can only have certain food, on a very short list. Believe me her medical condition is not fun.
So the other night when I went to make dinner I wasn’t thinking about what all my kids could eat. In fact, I only asked my husband what he’d want for dinner. Once I had his order, I proceeded to cook it.
He requested baked potatoes.
Okay, I’ll cook four, then we can have leftovers if none of the kids want them.
He also wanted hamburgers. Yeah, weird combination with baked potatoes, but okay. I went with four again. Either leftovers or maybe a kid or two.
He desired green beans too. Okay. I fixed dinner.
When everything was cooked. I fixed two plates. One for me and one for my dear husband.
I told my youngest son he could have any of the food he wanted.
He took one of the hamburger patties, got some bread and, well, made a hamburger.
I told my youngest daughter there were baked potatoes if she wanted one. She took one
I told my other son there was food.
He did the same thing his younger brother did.
Then my oldest child at home came out and her sister pointed out the last potato. I confirmed she could have it if she wanted.
Finally my husband came out to get his food.
I looked around the table.
“Unbelievable. I actually made dinner for all of us.”
My oldest child and boys never touched the green beans. My boys never touched the potatoes and my girls never touched the meat. So four hamburger patties and four baked potatoes fed six people.
I was amazed.
If you’d been in our house anytime in the last two years and seen the struggle it was to get a family dinner on the table you would understand why I found that simple meal so amazing.
The other thing I’ve found amazing this week is my baby is now a whopping sixteen years old. Not only that, but that big baby boy has turned into the biggest family member. Well, our immediate family, so it wouldn’t be that hard to be the tallest, though he is 5”9’. Nice to have someone to reach the top shelves and change the lightbulbs for me.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Doing Book Reviews by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Earlier this week C. Hope Clark (editor of Funds For Writers, and author of several books) posted on Facebook about buying books, not taking freebies. She’s posted stuff like this before, and she has a valid point. Publishers only pay Authors pennies on the dollar, so unless they are a big name like King, Rowling, or Patterson, they’re not getting a huge sum of money.

(And please don’t use this to argue in favor of self-publishing, because without the backing of a publishing company to distribute your books, you have to do that yourself. You won’t be able to get your books into more than a handful of bookstores, just those within a few miles of your or your family and friends, if even that, since some won’t take indie or self-published works.)

What Hope was actually saying is that as authors ourselves we should never deprive our fellow authors of money. We should never accept a free book, unless we give a review of that book. But that isn’t always easy to do.

I once accepted a free book that was so awful I never read past page 18, and I never did a review because I couldn’t get past the fact that I didn’t want to hurt my friend’s feelings. Unfortunately, she stopped talking to me after that. But really, I couldn’t finish it, how was I supposed to review it?
Then there’s the time I learned my niece had published a book. I went immediately to her site where she had a sample chapter available and read it, instantly learning it wasn’t my type of novel. It’s a fantasy. (Look it up. Fatal Heir by L.C. Ireland.) I also realized that it was well written, engaging, and possibly something Konnie would like, so I did two things. I pre-ordered the reader version of it (my niece deserves the money no matter what), and I contacted Konnie drawing her attention to the site. Within the hour, she also pre-ordered the book.

After Fatal Heir actually came out, there was a time when Konnie informed me that her youngest daughter had swiped her reader to read LC’s novel. I posted about this on Facebook because my niece (on my side of the family) swiped her mother’s reader to read a book written by niece (on my husband’s side of the family). It was funny at the time.

And while I do have the novel, I did buy it after all, I have never read more than that sample chapter. I know its excellent writing, and an intriguing story. It did almost draw me in, but I’m not much into fantasy. I keep telling myself I have read some, and I really should read it, it is after all my niece’s novel, maybe one day. Until then, whenever I learn someone likes fantasy, I mention LC’s book. It’s the least I can do, and word of mouth might not be a written review, but it is a review.

I also am poor, so buying a lot of books isn’t in the budget. I do buy, and I sometimes do buy new, I just bought a new Donald Maass book yesterday, but most of the time I go to the library. Some authors I like, I just can’t afford their books, even on a reader.

Maass I can afford, Francis I can’t. I go to the library to read Dick and or Felix Francis novels. And anyone who knows me knows I like their books. I talk about it all the time. Again, not a written review, but it is still word of mouth; I think it should still count. And I think the fact that I have mentioned this on Facebook a time or two should count too. Even if it isn’t an eloquent paragraph or two extolling all the virtues of their writing, it is still a review.

Don’t you agree?

Happy writing everyone. J

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Fur Babies and other such family members by Konnie Enos

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As I’ve mentioned before, we have dogs in this house.
Now being dog owners we tend to have noisy greetings when someone comes to our door. It’s impossible for anyone to ding-dong-ditch and run away before we can open the door and find them running away. (It helps that there is only one way to get off our property and there isn’t any place to hide while you make that rather exposed dash.)
It’s also impossible to get into the house without enthusiastic dogs greeting you and or trying to get out the front door.
For this reason when we return to the house we play what my daughter refers to as “soccer”. An exercise in blocking furry family members from exiting the house. Generally when you open the front door you have to expect to see one or more black noses.
Recently I was returning to the house with one of my daughters and fully expected at least two black noses at the door. Her three-legged dynamo and my energetic little lady. And quite possibly my husband’s big ball of fluff. There was also the possibility of my other daughter’s yellow cannon ball. Though her tiny guy was least likely he still might show up too.
I cautiously opened the door.
No noses.
I opened the door further.
No furry family members.
I finally opened the door all the way and stepped into the house, glancing though the clearly empty front room and kitchen and all the way down the hall to the back door.
Not one person or furry family member.
“Notice the decided lack of greeting.”
Daughter walking in behind and closing the door. “Yeah. But I can hear them. They must be blocked by something.”
Clearly. The only door in the hallway not closed was the hall bathroom and that was no dogs land, strictly for the cat.
So they were either in a bedroom or the backyard.
As we moved down the hallway my other daughter opened her bedroom door spilling out her cannon ball and tiny guy plus her sister’s dynamo. As they came out one of my sons opened my bedroom door and my husband’s fluff ball ran out with my lady.
There was our usual and enthusiastic greeting.
What was I thinking about through that whole experience?
With all the writing I’ve done I’ve never once given any of my fictional families pets.
I don’t know.
I do know animals add another dynamic to the family experience.
And there are so many ways they could be included.
Are they part of the family or just a pet, or a working animal?
In my household our animals are part of the family.
If the family lived on a farm, their animals could likely be working animals.
If a person is disabled, their animal is more than just a working animal or a pet. Or at least that’s what I’ve heard.
The other thing to consider when writing stories with animals in them is that they all have their own personalities, just like humans do.
With as many pets as I have, I should consider adding pets to my stories.
It is food for thought.
Have you written stories with pets in them?
I’d write more but my little lady needs her walk.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.