Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mom’s Big Day by Konnie Enos

Being a mother isn’t the easiest job in the world. There is there no effective guidebooks covering everything so you are pretty much doing just about every single job you can think of all at once. You are also on duty twenty-four/seven from the time you have your first child until the day you die.
As a mother I think the hardest part is raising well-adjusted, capable, human beings. That alone takes a great deal of effort and you’re almost completely on your own.
There are tons of books out there on parenting. And there will probably be lots more. And it would be easy to find parenting books that didn’t agree with each other, or with tips and ideas that really don’t work for your family.
I’m going to repeat myself now. No two people are exactly alike. You can’t find answers in books because there isn’t anybody else exactly like “Jonny”.
Don’t get me wrong. Those parenting books can help. Glean what you can from them, but because each child is an individual, you just have to figure out each of your children to know what works and doesn’t work with them and for your family.
That’s the hard part, and time consuming.
You spend twenty or thirty years putting all your time and effort into raising these kids, hoping for the best, praying they turn out okay and then just waiting to see the end results. That’s all you can do, wait and see how it all turns out.
You watch them as they grow up and always wonder if you are doing things right. If maybe you should handle something differently.
They go through their rough spots, their teenage rebellion, and you’re positive you’re not doing it right. They have problems in school or making friends and you wonder what else you can do or what you did wrong. It never gets easier because every bump in the road you wonder what you did wrong and what you need to change to make things better.
But dealing with another human being means they have a roll in how things turn out too so you can never tell what the outcome will be. With your first born you could just take away the TV, but your second born doesn’t mind spending hours alone in their room. Each child is different. So it’s hit and miss, a learn as you go experience, raising kids.
But one things for sure they are probably not going to come right out and tell you how to raise them or that you are doing things right. That’s why you have to wait and see how they turn out.
My children are getting to the age where I can start to see how they are going to turn out. My oldest will be getting married soon and her two sisters are in college. (My boys are in high school.)
But the real test is seeing how they do raising their own kids. We’re clearly not there yet.
But the other day I had two separate conversations with my two daughters still at home. I don’t remember how either one started other than I was driving each one somewhere, or really what we were talking about to begin with. I also know that I never mentioned my first conversation to the second girl. 
But at some point both my daughters said, “You got it right, Mom.”
I raised them right. I did a good job. Made my day.
Oh, and Happy Flag Day.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Write What You Know by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Writers the world over have probably been told a time or two to write what they know. I heard it a lot in high school, and at some point, I began to wonder how any author could come up with more than one story, if authors can only write what he or she has experienced personally. To my mind, even all those years ago, I didn’t think I’d be able to write a decent story, if I had to stick with only things I’d personally experienced.

I mean I did try. My two novels dating back that far have a heroine who was two years behind in school. That was something I did know. And in one of them, I originally had a scene where the hero and heroine meet while watching a pair of swans taking off in flight from a place called The Oxbow, it’s on the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park.

The setting exists, and that pair of swans did once take off in flight, but there had only been one person standing on the bridge above watching — one young lady. Me.

And, just so you know, that’s one sight I will never forget.

But even as I wrote both of these stories, I felt like I wasn’t really writing what I know. Yeah sure, I’d seen those swans myself, and yeah sure, I had been two years behind in school, but neither of those characters were twins. I’m a twin, I know what being a twin is like. And yet, while I have had characters that are twins, I’ve yet to write a story where the heroine is a twin.

And I’m still not sure why.

Then I discovered Dick Francis.

Now anyone who knows me knows I’m a big fan of his. I have been for years, but well after reading a couple of his books, I started thinking he must have led a fantastical life, considering all the careers he knew so much about. I was beginning to wonder how I could ever write anything when I had such limited experience. Then I learned a few things about him personally.

Number one, he had been a jockey, which explains why horse racing plays such a major role in many of his stories, but he’d also been in a pilot in World War II, explaining his stories where the hero is a pilot. But he never lost a hand; he never suffered the injury his character Sid Haley suffered nor have I ever discovered any information on him saying he was a fraternal twin like his character Kit Fielding.

And what of the artist living on a Scottish mountainside? Or the wine merchant, or the glassblower, and oh so many other characters. He didn’t do all those things! It was physically impossible for one man to have that many careers in one lifetime.

So how did Dick Francis do it?

Research! From what I’ve read of him, he’d interview people in those fields, picked their brains for details, or even follow them around for a few days. And his writing shows that knowledge, making each novel interesting and fresh.

So the take away is, write what you know, but don’t limit yourself to personal experience. Go out there and find the information you need to make your story realistic!

Happy writing everyone. J

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.