May 9, 2017 – Prompt – Lost

A note to all our members for the time being members are contributing the prompt this week’s “Lost” was chosen by Ellynore Smith.
I was feeling frantic. The papers with all of my computer passwords were lost. Well, they weren’t really lost. I had put them somewhere “safe”. I clearly remember moving the papers three weeks ago, putting them in a special place. But for the life of me, I couldn’t remember where.
I rifled through files and boxes, tearing the house apart. But no luck. I finally gave up and did the only thing I could think of that would help. I prayed. I prayed that either I would remember where I had put the passwords or I would find them “accidently” while looking for something else.
The very next day I was looking for some legal papers for my son, in a box of papers I had already searched through many times before. There they were!
Changing the secret hiding place…I won’t do that again.

Rose Anne Faulkner

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A Good Place to Meet

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It’s essential to have a good place to meet and something you must consider when you start your group. It will depend on what your plan is: just critique, writing together, presentations about all the facets of writing, editing and publishing.

We meet at one of the branch libraries and it has been a great place for us to meet. We have a large enough room for the group, access to a flat screen and the internet for programs or projects, appearance on the calendar and support for programs or presentations we want to make.

Last week they had a special presentation. They invited poets from our group and others to submit poems then they gave them to artists to interpret. The project extended over five months and then the poems and art were displayed together and the public was invited to come and see the results. It was an amazing outcome. Artists and poets were excited to meet and see the results and a good number of partroms enjoyed the exhibition. Now we all look forward to next year when the program will be reversed. As a poet I welcome the challenge.

Here is a picture of me with the artist who interpreted my poem “Mother’s Hands” followed by the poem.claire & Chris Mother's Hands

MOTHER’S HANDS

 

We sit, unmoving

I hold her hand in mine

Grasp her warm fingers

My grasp is not returned

Once those fingers tightly held my hand

Guided me, protected me

Now they lie motionless

 

Soft and warm, these gentle hands

Once caressed my cheek with tenderness

They will never caress another cheek or

Throw a softball,

Hold her rolling pin

Roll egg noodle dough thin enough to see through

Now her grasp is weak and she can barely bring her cup to her lips.

 

She asks me to put lotion on her face

This women has diapered the bottoms of eight children

Held them close and cuddled them

Washed dirty faces myriad times

Held a book of poetry and read to each one

Carried pails of water up hill to wash their clothes

Now she asks me to put lotion on her face

 

In the Day Room the other residents are having a party

August is ending and they celebrate those born in this hot, muggy month

White haired women clap their hands

Old men with stained trousers nod their heads

Balloons and streamers decorate the walls

Glowing with candles a grand cake is brought for all to share

Now I listen to “Red River Valley” tears stream down my cheeks.

 

I want to rescue her from this place

Steal her away in the night

Find some miracle hidden in the darkness

I lift my hand and wipe my cheek

Not wanting her to know I weep

Clap as the musician ends his song

Now I sigh, smile and hold her hand securely in mine

©Christine J. Howard 2008

 

 

Meet A Nation

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WhereBookcoverjpgOne of our members, one of our Winter Writers, writes Science Fiction, social science fiction, she calls it. She’s been a member for at least four years and had written four books. She’d never taken on the NaNoWriMo challenge and was hesitant to do it. However, she decided she would try and signed up with the other eight members of our writing group.

November first she started writing. By the fourth day she had written over 18,000 words and couldn’t believe how easy it was. She had the rest of the participants gasping: “How did she do it.” By day eleven she had reached the 50,000-word mark and all she would tell us was: “I have lots of time I just sit and write.” Some of us were thinking about taking her out we were so annoyed as we struggled just to get to the 1667 words per day you need to finish in thirty days.

She didn’t sit on her laurels she had her count verified and then began the editing process before January was over she published her book: Where Did They Go. Now she has five books available for readers.

Here’s a short blurb about the book and a link to it on
Amazon:

Susan was devastated when her husband dies in a car accident. Friends and family cannot fill the void left in her heart from his passing. One thing after another keeps disappearing around her home until she steps into another world. The characters she encounters help her with lost memories until she realizes who killed her husband.

http://www.amazon.com/Where-Did-They-Go-Globe/dp/1518755844

Writing Group Structure

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Every group has their own make-up: some only do critique, some are genre selective, many are concentrating on getting published, some limit membership to published author only.

Our group is not exclusive we structure ours this way: first we write from a prompt for ten minutes then share them, second we have a presentation around some area of writing, marketing or publishing and third if asked we will do critique for one person.

One of the first subjects we looked at this year was WORD CHOICE make-up: “Words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” — Lord Byron.

We had a Power Point presentation addressing the importance of choosing the right word. We included cheat sheets (what we call them) with pages of substitutes or different choices for such words as bad, very, went, words to describe smells, sounds, voice, anger and different words for how we walk, body types, how pain is experienced and much more.

All of our presentations and these cheat sheets are uploaded to a Drop Box Account that everyone in the group can access and use as needed.

We also have private group within Facebook where we share these types of files as well.

 

Life Flights

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My 2015 accomplishment was the publishing of my book of poetry Life Flights. It includes a variety of poetry everything from three-line Haiku to the 973 word “Buried With Her Boots On” which was actually inspired by a story a friend and custom boot maker told me of a woman who was buried with her boots on.

This three line senryu:

ten past ten my son

time to put away youthful toys

welcome manhood’s joys

 

Written thirty years ago for my then twenty-year-old son who just turned fifty. Is one of the ninety poems in the book.

What inspires me you may ask? If you read the book you will know. Here’s a hint places I’ve lived, people in my life and the challenge of writing in form. Until I took a creative writing class Id’ never heard of a pantoum and a friend turned me on to the sestina.  You may not recognize each form I included but you will know those I tried when you read them.

Life Flights is available at Amazon as both a POD book or an e-book.

And my son he’s a father now of a pair of six-year-old twins and a two-year-old. He’s definitely taken on the joys of manhood, but he still finds time for a bike ride one of the joys or toys of his youth.

AM I Cuckoo??

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Not a bad mystery. I didn’t see the end coming. Some of it was a little disjointed. I didn’t realize until after I finished that this was actually J. K. Rowling writing as Galbraith. It doesn’t meet the same standard as the Harry Potter books. It was good but not great.

I’m Back!!!

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It has been over six months since I posted to my blog and I’m sorry I have neglected it. Does it mean I’ve given up on my writing group? No Way! They are more important to me now than they were six months ago. Has the group dwindled? Nope, it has more members all the time. Are long-term members losing interest? That hasn’t happened either. We have members that were there at the beginning and many who have been members three years or more. We have Winter Writers who have been coming back for several years. They seem happy to join us for the months they are here be it one month, two months, three months or more. We have lost members but most of those are because of moving away from the area and even though they are gone we stay in contact with e-mail and on Facebook. No my group is just fine.

I have a plan for my blog. I will inform you of all the things we have been doing and I will introduce to our members and their books. Yep! I said books. We have a significant number of our members who bit the bullet and published. Most are self-published but that isn’t a bad thing and it isn’t an easy thing. Once the creative part is over the work begins, editing and then formatting you book so it can be printed. Are we getting rich with our books? No. But we love to write and we will share with the reading public.

So I have plans and much to share about the group, about the group’s successes, about the group’s activities and about what we do within the group to keep it vibrant.

The Purity of Vengeance by Jussi Adler-Olsen

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<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25310708-the-purity-of-vengeance&#8221; style=”float: left; padding-right: 20px”><img alt=”The Purity of Vengeance: A Department Q Novel” border=”0″ src=
My rating:5 of 5 stars
This is the fourth of Adler-Olsen’s books I’ve read and I can’t wait to read the next. I need to know more about Assad and Rose. Carl Morck too. <br>In this book Department Q the solver of cold cases is looking into the disappearance on a woman only to find four other people went missing at the same time. However, when the identify whom they think is a suspect they are caught up in a group The Purity Party who doesn’t want their past actions known. <br>As Morck, Assad and Rose work to find what happened to the missing persons they become the target of this group. Assad and Morck nearly come to the end of their lives and only a cigarette lighter saves them and exposes the group’s nefarious actions.<br>The story fluctuates between three times the early 1950’s, 1987 and 2010. <br><br>
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<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/5641445-christine-howard”>View all my reviews</a>

The Absent One by Jussi Adler-Olsen

13505130Again you are dragged into a cold case when a folder suddenly shows up on Carl Morck’s desk in Department Q. He begins trying to find out who put the file there. His chief wants him to leave the case alone as the murders in it were confessed too and that person is in prison. People in the upper echelons of the government and society all students of a boarding school want it left alone as well.<br><br>However, Morck is stubborn tell him not to do something and he doggedly goes ahead. He and his helper Assad and a new person, Rose research the case and go looking for Kimmie. <br><br>It ends at the hunting preserve on one of the former boarding school students and Morck get a arrow from a crossbow in his shoulder but manages to survive.

 

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/5641445-christine-howard”>View all my reviews</a>

Should Writers Read?

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As a writer should you read? This is an often discussed subject in my writing group; there are often a few who think it isn’t necessary. Yet when I see well known authors commenting about writing invariably they will talk about who their favorite authors are. It’s a clue isn’t it?  King, Koontz, Patterson, etc. are readers.

I often wonder how those who are writing current fiction (but even non-fiction) can keep up with the trends that are attracting readers. I read across a wide spectrum of genres and still enjoy reading a classic on occasion. I recently read Pride and Prejudice and although I don’t care for the narrative style of that time I still appreciate Jane Austen for giving us a window into her world.

However, if you are going to capture an audience of readers and you are writing in a certain genre you need to be reading in that genre. It’s also important I think not to get too stuck reading in one genre because they are techniques in other genres that may be helpful in yours. Also to keepers readers interested it is good to have a little romance in a mystery and a little mystery in romance, etc.

I also think it is important to read poetry because poets are definite wordsmiths and if a writer can master being a good wordsmith they can attract a bigger audience. Do I read Stephen King because I like to be scared, definitely, Do I appreciate how he uses words to create a feeling most definitely.

Poets are masters at saying much with few words. Read a little haiku if you doubt it. Even longer pieces like a sestina or a sonnet are one page but can tell us the story on that one page. I once had a friend who said a novel was the easiest thing to write, a short story was a little harder but a poem was the most difficult and of poetry a haiku is the biggest challenge how do you convey a thought in seventeen syllables.

I include this senryu (much like a haiku just a difference in subject matter). What story does it tell?

ten past ten my son
time to put away youthful toys
welcome manhood’s joys

So must authors read? I say yes, yes, yes.