It’s been a while since I did any self-promotion. I do love supporting other authors and music artists. It makes me happy when I can help spread the word about the work of another.
But, today, I want to talk about a book that I am probably the proudest of, out of all of my babies, and that is the poetry and art book, DISCOVERY.
You may have noticed the author names include Rick Sikes. In truth, the only reason I included my name as an author, was so I could legally publish the book since Rick is deceased. And, I do write poetry, so I included some of my work in the back.
Several things about this book set it apart from other poetry and art books. Firstly, Rick wrote this book in its entirety while he was incarcerated in Leavenworth Prison. Secondly, he created all the artwork that is included in the book including the cover.
He’d always had artistic talent, but until he was locked behind bars, he didn’t discover it fully. The artwork represented here is what we referred to as ‘pen-and-ink’ drawings, but the correct name is Pointillism. The drawings are made up of millions of tiny dots. I loved to watch over his shoulder, after he came home, while he created a new piece. But, all the drawings in Discovery except for one of Willie Nelson were created while he was in prison.
The original title Rick gave the poetry book was “Etchings In Stone.” But, since we released a music CD with that title, I needed to find something different.
The first poem in the book is entitled, “Discovery,” and it tells of a turning point in Rick’s life when he decided to be, think and do only positive things in a negative situation. It was a resolve that served him well the rest of his life.
You’ll find everything from raw bleeding hurt and emotion, to off-the-cuff silly poetry, to strong political statements included in this book. It is a true baring of the soul.
The Forward to this book was graciously provided by Connie Nelson, ex-wife of Willie Nelson.
This beautiful book is available in Hardback, Paperback and eBook formats.
It is my pleasure today to host this special author who has written many books designed to help folks through potentially hard situations. Today, she talks about adding emotion to non-fiction writing. Meet Author, Harriet Hodgson!
Emotion to Non-Fiction Writing
I’m a non-fiction writer. Whether it is for young children, teens or
adults, all of my writing contains emotion.
Sometimes my emotions are detailed in descriptive sentences. Other times they are expressed with
dialogue. Writing about emotions takes
effort and often includes pain.
Why should you bother to add emotions to your writing?
There are many pluses and these are the
links the author and reader.
Rob Parnell, in his Easy Way to Write website article, “How to Write
About Emotion,” says emotions make us uniquely human. Life isn’t all about what happens, he continues,
“it is the way we react to events and people and the things they say that
defines our experience of the world.”
All of my books contain emotion. In fact, emotion is why I write them. My recent work focuses on loss, grief, and
grief recovery. I wrote these books to
identify, track and grow from the roiling emotions I was feeling at the
time. Readers can see my journey in the
words I write and the outcome in my latest book about finding happiness again.
may serve as a “hook.”
Dialogue is one way to hook a reader, according to Mary Jaksch. She expands this point in her Write to Done
website article, “3 Things You Need to Know about Using Dialogue in
Non-Fiction.” What makes dialogue a
hook? According to Jaksch, it works
“because it makes a story t of mere information.” That’s why many newspaper articles open with
Decades of writing experience have taught me that you have to set the stage for emotion. You can’t just slap it in the middle of a page and consider yourself done. Usually, I cite a resource from the bibliography, explain my reaction to this information, and tell how I used it.
Emotion stirs the reader. Steve Zousmertells how an author may stir the reader in his “Writer’s Digest” article, “Evoke Emotions in Your Readers, published in the November 2009 issue. A mistake many biographers and memoir writers make, according to Zousmer, is getting caught up in chronology. The success of this kind of writing depends on the author’s ability to see his or her story as more than a procession of events, Zousmer notes.
His comment made me think of my own writing. My elder daughter and father-in-law died the
same weekend. One week later, I sat down
in front of the computer and started to pour out my soul in words. Many of these articles were posted on the
Internet and they eventually became a book.
Shocked as I was, overcome with grief as I was, I somehow had the sense
to arrange the articles in topical order, not chronological.
Emotion helps the reader to remember facts. Psychologists like my younger daughter know people remember emotions more easily than facts. Still, I know when I add emotion to my non-fiction writing that I have to sound sincere, credible, and stable.
Harriet Hodgson, Health and Wellness Author
Rochester, Minnesota resident
Harriet Hodgson has been a freelance writer for 38 years, is the author of
thousands of articles, and 36 books. She has a BS from Wheelock College in
Boston, an MA from the University of Minnesota, and additional graduate
Hodgson is a member of the Association of Health Care
Journalists and the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). She is a contributing
writer for the Open to Hope Foundation, The Grief Toolbox, and The Caregiver
Space websites. Visit www.thecaregiverspace.org/authors/hhodgson
to read her articles.
Hodgson has appeared on more than 185 talk radio
shows, including CBS Radio, dozens of television stations, including CNN, and
dozens of blog talk radio programs. A popular guest, she has given
presentations at public health, Alzheimer’s, bereavement, and caregiving
Her recent work is based on Hodgson’s 21 years as a
family caregiver. She was her mother’s family caregiver for nine years, her
twin grandchildren’s guardian and caregiver for seven years, and is in her
fifth year as her disabled husband’s caregiver. Visit www.harriethodgson.com
for more information about this busy wife, grandmother, caregiver, and author.
To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site. If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.
Lastly, Harriet is a member of the best book club ever – RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB #RRBC! If you’re looking for amazing support as an author, or if you simply love books, JOIN US! We’d love to have you! Thanks for supporting this author and her work!
We all know there are some pretty basic and unwavering rules when it comes to writing.
Rules are necessary. Imagine a world with no stop signs or red lights. Traffic would be a mess!
We know that correct grammar and punctuation is a must. Avoid overusing adverbs (ly) words. Avoid telling words such as see, hear, feel, touch. Don’t write long run-on sentences – the shorter the better. Avoid crutch words like, just, really, well and very. Show don’t tell is a biggie! And then there is Point of View. And, that’s what I want to talk about today.
The basic rule for Point of View, in a third-person story, is that you don’t switch points of view in the middle of a scene. Right? Stay in one person’s POV throughout the scene and then you can get inside another person’s head in the next scene. They call it head-hopping if you do. BUT… you know what they say about that word – everything before it means nothing.
What if you pick up a book that switches POV in the middle of a scene, but the story is so riveting and gripping, you notice, but don’t care?
That happened to me this week.
I read a book that came highly recommended by several avid readers I know and they were absolutely right about it. Where The Crawdads Sing is a debut novel written by Delia Owens.
This book has (as of today) 3,871 reviews on Amazon. Wow! It is #1 on Amazon this week and it has shot Delia Owens to the top of the New York Times Bestseller list for nineteen weeks in a row. It was published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin. As you well know that is pretty much the top of the heap of the Big 5 Publishers.
That publishing company has a team of staff editors who work with every manuscript on various levels. So, it made me wonder if the POV rule that has been pounded into us going away? Or is the key to bending the rule, writing a story that is so compelling that even the editors don’t care about sticking to the POV rule?
Could it be that the influx of Indie Authors who tend to bend the rules anyway, cause a change of thinking about certain writing rules? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
In the meantime, I’m not going to write a review for this book, but I am going to say that it is such a compelling story, I won’t forget it for a very long time.
Here’s the blurb from Amazon:
#1 New York Times Bestseller A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick
“I can’t even express how much I love this book! I didn’t want this story to end!”–Reese Witherspoon
“Painfully beautiful.”–The New York Times Book Review
“Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver.”–Bustle
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.
Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
I had so much fun last week trying my hand at a form of Japanese poetry, Haiku, that I decided I’d continue on this week with Colleen Chesebro’s poetry challenge.
This week, the words are Cold & Storm. You can only use synonyms in creating the poetry.
The rules were simple: Follow the 5/7/5/7/7 syllable structure. Your Tanka will consist of five lines written in the first person point of view. This is important because the poem should be written from the perspective of the poet.
My words for this Tanka poem are FRIGID & BLIZZARD
A frigid north wind
My breath fogs the frosted glass
When will he return?
He promised he’d be home soon
Love ending – the blizzard wins
I don’t know if I am supposed to attach a visual, but this one grabbed me. 🙂
Excerpts are a time honored tool for
blog tours, and that’s what I’m bringing you today.
Lanternfish is a pirate fantasy. It’s
filled with monsters, magic, and fantastic creatures. It also has gunpowder, so
cannon, muskets, and pistols are included.
To set the scene, the characters are forced into starting a war with a neighboring country. They came to this city to do some historical and political research. It isn’t coming together very fast, and James is on the verge of a new plan.
James strolled up and down each dock,
occasionally checking the mooring of a ship. Putting a finger to his hat
whenever a crewman spotted him.
The end of the third dock was empty.
Even the lamps weren’t lit. The only light came from quarters on a ship tied to
the second dock.
“Hello, mate,” a rough
James cleared his coat away from his
pistol before turning.
“No need for that. I mean you no
harm. Seen you down here walking the nights away. Been watching you.”
“What for? And come forward so I
can see you.”
“You’re a cautious man, I see
that. Well armed too.” The man stepped forward. Long grey stubble covered
his face. He wore a small tricorn, and carried a cutlass. “I seen your
“And what type is that?”
“Long stares out at the water.
Touching the ships as you pass. Hand on your face while you’re thinking of
something. Probably a big loss of some kind. Family farm? Lost love? Maybe a
title? Something along that route.”
“Pretty close, mate.”
“A few of my mates and I been
lookin for a fellow like you. You’re a man of the sea, and can’t wait to get
back to it.”
“I’m sure there are plenty like
me around. Good luck in finding someone.”
“Hold up, mate. We’re just talking.
Names Johnny Jump Up. There’s men around like you and I, but not too many with
money to invest.”
“I don’t have any money,
“Your mates bought a chest.
Carried it back to the Ghost yesterday. Looked real heavy. They spent
some too. Nice kit the lady bought. Kind of pricy. Seems like you own a slave
“How long have you been watching
“Longer than that fella all
dressed in black. He only showed up the other day. Asks a lot of questions
about who’s new in town. Asked if anyone’s been flashing a lot of gold
“Speaking of him, maybe you
wouldn’t mind continuing this conversation back at the tavern.”
“Naw. Too many ears at the
Ghost. There’s another tavern, just down the way. It has ears too, but nobody
cares. Called the Dead Man’s Rest. Heard of it?”
“Saw it from a distance last
“Don’t want you to think I’m
leading you into a trap. You go there. Order a bucket of beer. I’ll be along in
about half an hour. It’s a safe neighborhood, but you might want to tuck your
purse in your boot. If you know what I mean.” Johnny held out a lantern.
“Use me lamp if you’re worried.” He struck a match and lit the flame,
before placing the lantern on the dock and stepping back.
James picked up the lantern and
Johnny stepped aside. “I’ll make sure your shadow ain’t around. Then I’ll
join ye inside.”
“Any particular draft?”
“Get the yellow one. The dark
one’s gone off, give ye the shits now.”
“Good to know.”
honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a
political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms.
James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes
through with the plan.
soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those
who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of
cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the
ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually,
they’re going to have to engage the enemy.
goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to
collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue
of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of
monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.
I was born in a
town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in
the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the
times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of
getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.
I moved to Idaho
right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career
was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in
with both feet.
I like to write
about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science
fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours.
I hope you enjoy the ride.
What I enjoyed most about this new book from C.S. Boyack is the fantastic job of world-building he accomplishes through creative writing. I had no difficulty visualizing the cities, the boats, the monsters, or the people that make up this story. The root monsters are a surprise and it’s fun to see them take on personalities and start to become somewhat human. The goal of James Cuttler is often different from that of his makeshift crew, but he manages to keep everyone happy with enough looting to satisfy any good pirate. His goal is to start a war between two countries and rescue his fiance. The adventures along the way, the battles, the exploration and discoveries kept me turning the pages. I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite character. I love Mal for his devotion to James (aka Captain Bloodshot) and for his incredible ability to grow monster creatures in dirt, using his special magic. I love Serang for her fierce loyalty and amazing physical abilities. Plus, she has her own surprising brand of magic. The romance that blooms between Fala and James’ best friend, Dan, is believable and adds a touch of sweetness to the story. But I think my favorite character is the half-goblin half-human woman, Halfrid, who ultimately gives James the magical tool he needs to accomplish his goal and rescue his fiance. The action and battles are intense. The ending is satisfying. Anyone who loves adventure on the high sea mixed with fantasy and magic will enjoy this story as much as I did.
I’ve watched from the sidelines for some time as Colleen Cheseboro issues a weekly poetry challenge. This week I decided to try my hand at Haiku – a form of Japanese poetry that consists of 3 lines with a 5/7/5 syllable count.
HERE’S THE CATCH: You can’t use the prompt words! SYNONYMS ONLY! The prompt is MYSTERY AND ATTRACT.
Let me know what you think – honesty only! 🙂 I love trying new things when it involves words!
It is my privilege and pleasure to help shine the spotlight on an incredibly supportive RRBC and RWISA author, Mary Adler. Today, she shares her thoughts on telling stories about real characters who lived and died. I’ll let her explain.
TELLING THEIR STORIES
When I am bogged down writing, when I can’t
think of any words, let alone the right words—whatever they may be—I persist no
matter how much I would like to quit. The driving force that propels me to sit
in the chair day after day, to hit the keys even when I know I will scrap the
hard-won scenes, is my need to bring to life the reality of forgotten people.
Don’t get me wrong. My first purpose when writing a mystery is to
entertain, to surprise, to take the reader on a trip to another time and place
and community. But the reason I write
the Oliver Wright series is because I want my readers to know what it was
really like to live in America during World War II, to hear the stories of the
people who lived then.
When I was full of doubt while writing my first
Oliver Wright and Harley mystery, my friend Steve, who is psychic, encouraged
me. For more than one good and
sufficient reason I believe he truly does communicate with the other side. (But that is a story for another
time.) He told me that they wanted
me to tell their story.
I assumed my relatives, Italians who had been
discriminated during World War II, were clamoring to have their story told, but
I was wrong.
Steve told me he saw a group of soldiers
holding rifles, some standing, some kneeling. It was the soldiers who wanted me to tell
their story, to try to make people understand what it was like to surrounded by
death, to watch their friends die day after day after day, and not have time to
Steve’s vision prompted me to write this passage
in In the Shadow of Lies.
Oliver, a homicide detective on medical leave
from the Marines, is back home and remembering what happened on Guam.
I was back in Pt. Richmond, but Guam was only as far away as the
next night’s sleep. It wasn’t the memory of fighting, of being wounded, that
tortured me. It was the memory of walking away from the endless graves, from
the rifles stuck bayonet-down in freshly turned dirt. My men had buried too
many friends, friends who had died beside them, sometimes quickly, sometimes so
slowly they had begged their buddies to finish them off.
Then the living
had moved on—on to more killing. The war allowed no time to mourn, to
grieve, to honor the death of a man they might have loved as deeply as they
would ever love anyone. They moved on, they fought, they buried more men, they
moved on — and no one could see they were drowning in unshed tears.
I had hidden my
face when the hospital plane taxied down the runway on Guam. The medics
expected me to be grateful that I was leaving the fighting, but grief filled my
heart. I was leaving behind friends willing to sacrifice their own lives for
each other and for their dogs. It was why they fought. Forget the pretty
speeches about preserving democracy and freedom—they died for each other,
killing and being killed to end the endless killing.
I can’t know if I have honored the soldiers in
my friend’s vision in the way they wanted, but I believe they sent Oliver’s
thoughts to me to share with my readers. I did my best.
Mary Adler was an
attorney and dean at CWRU School of Medicine. She escaped the ivory tower for
the much gentler world of World War II and the adventures of homicide detective
Oliver Wright and his German shepherd, Harley. She lives with her family in
Sebastopol, California, where she creates garden habitats for birds and bees
and butterflies. She is active in dog rescue and does canine scent work with
her brilliant dogs — the brains of the team — and loves all things Italian.
The Author’s Guild has just published their 2018 Author’s Income Survey. The largest survey of writing-related earnings by American authors finds incomes falling to historic lows to a median of $6,080 in 2017, down 42 percent from 2009.
Hmmm. That doesn’t bode well for us authors. And to be totally honest, I’d be ecstatic to make $6,000 per year from my books. I don’t personally know any Indie author who makes that much money per year from book sales alone.
So, I have to ask myself, “why do it?” Why spend hours, days, weeks and months toiling over work that only a handful people will read?
As most of you know, I never intended to be an author. That was never my goal in life. I just had a story that had to be told and I was the only one who could tell it.
But, since the last of the four books were published in 2017, I haven’t found a place to stop writing. It truly becomes a passion. I looked up “passion” in Merriam Webster’s dictionary and found this: intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept
Yep. That pretty much describes it.
The photo says it all. I dared to follow my passion, to tell a story that burned inside me, and it has now lead me to my purpose. That purpose is to write — whether it be stories (true or fiction), magazine interviews, or record reviews — it is now my purpose in life.
Of course, I would love nothing more than to be able to make a living writing. But, based on reality and the statistics shown by the Author’s Guild, that isn’t likely.
There are simply some things in life that are more important than money.
Passion and Purpose!
I’d love to hear your thoughts about the survey and your passion for writing. Does it give you purpose? Do you ever think about stopping? What would you do with yourself if you did stop? Have you ever tried?
I can’t imagine what I’d do every day if I suddenly stopped writing. Nope. I’m going to keep on writing money be damned!
As I always do at the beginning of each new year, I seek a word for the upcoming year through meditation and self-reflection.
For 2019, the word I received is CONFIDENCE!
While many who know me may wonder why I would need that word, to me it made perfect sense.
Confidence to keep pressing forward, to keep pursuing a publisher and to keep writing is exactly what I need! If I can believe in myself and my work, then it is a thousand times more likely someone else will also believe in me.
So, to honor that commitment for 2019, I made a list of goals. Trust me, I never do that, but somehow I felt the inspiration this year. The goals are not earth-shattering, but instead simple.
However my #1 Goal is: I will publish a new book in 2019.
There. I’ve said it, now I must follow through. 🙂
I’ve learned so much about poetry from Colleen Cheeseboro and while I didn’t make it into the timeline last week to submit this Shadorma, I’ll post it here and credit her for the challenge.
Basically a Shadorma is a six line stanza with the syllable count: 3/5/3/3/7/5
So, here goes!
Time to let it flow
Let it go
Let it show
Trust the Universe, it knows
Your best way to grow
I’d love to hear from you how you approach a new year!
I’m still looking back at 2018, and one thing that stands out for me, in the literary world, is the number of short stories that were published.
Part of the reason for the large surge was a 90 Day Alpha/Omega Beginning to End Short Story contest sponsored by the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.
While I didn’t read every entry, I did devour a good many and was completely amazed at the writing talent!
I’m going to list a few of the top reads I found and hope you’ll check them out.
I have to start with some shameless self-promotion. “Two Shorts and a Snort” won the GRAND PRIZE in the contest! Needless to say, I was speechless.
This book consists of two short stories and a poem. The first story, “Obsessed” is a story about a man who will do anything, even commit murder to win a lady’s hand in marriage. The second story, “Maggie” is about a baby found in the snow. Could it be that Frank and Mary prayed this baby up? The poem is one that is all-too-familiar. When friends of the opposite sex cross lines and become lovers. “Well, I think I liked you better when we were friends instead of lovers.”
It is no secret that I’m a huge fan of Wendy Jayne Scott’s writing. And this short story grabbed me from the first page!
Here’s a short excerpt from my review: “When Tequila Rose wakes up one morning with a hangover and no memory of the night before, things get even more complicated as a strange man is there with coffee and soup. Who is this incredibly hot and handsome man?”
Here’s an excerpt from my review: “When a man falls in love for the first time and she is married to an abusive man, it can’t possibly end well. But, what happens next shocked and surprised. Is he an angel of mercy or a cold-blooded killer? You decide. Well-written and easy to read in thirty minutes or under.”
Another short story I read that was absolutely fantastic was “Open, Shut” by Nonnie Jules. It tells such a compelling story of the power of faith.
Here’s an excerpt from my Review: “This is an easy-to-read short story you can finish in around thirty minutes. It shares of one girl’s unwavering faith and the ripples of that faith long after she’s gone from this life. I loved the way so many people were deeply affected and changed in the short duration of this story. “
Here’s an excerpt from my Review: “Many stories have been told about the mythical Bigfoot, but in this short story, D.L. Finn presents a different twist on every theory out there. With only a few characters, the author manages to weave an entire story including some backstory. Could it be that Bigfoot was from another planet in our galaxy? I don’t know. Read this short story and find out. This is a quick read and can easily be done on a lunch break. It will leave you wondering.”
An excerpt from my Review: “I loved, loved, loved this short story! It has a bit of everything in the mix from magic to shapeshifters. When Cassidy finds herself with a big problem, she is determined to find out who has put this damnable hex on her and what she can do to reverse it. Warlock, Hunter Rutherford, wants Cassidy. He’s courted her for months and is no closer to getting intimate than he was at the beginning, but why? He can see the desire in Cassidy’s eyes.”
That’s six short stories you can read in a short period of time and be thoroughly entertained. I hope I interested you in at least one.