My Author Booth – 2020 WC&BE #RRBC

This has been such an incredible week attending the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB 2020 Writers’ Conference and Book Expo. The way it is presented this year, truly FEELS like a physical conference. Of course, it’s all virtual, which is beautiful in and of itself. I can go on with daily responsibilities and still participate fully in educational informative workshops, play Bingo, guess the answers on the Fact or Fiction game, and go on a scavenger hunt! We even have a chat lounge this year where we can gather and share our thoughts with other authors over a glass of wine or cup of coffee.

But, one of the highlights of the conference are the many author booths.

The author booths are open to the public.

I’d be thrilled if you’d stop by my booth and take a look at the books, book trailers and everything else it has!

Please do me a favor, if you visit, and tweet it out or share it to Facebook!

Of course, you’re welcome to leave a comment! So, what are you waiting for? Head on over!

https://rrbcwritersconferencebookexpo20.wordpress.com/author-jan-sikes/

#RRBC #Writers’ #Conference & #Book #Expo – #WCBE20! @RRBC_Org

Wow! It’s almost time for this fabulous Writers’ Conference to kickoff and it promises to be one for the books! Literally!

What better way to enhance your writing skills, interact with other authors, find new books to read, play games, win prizes and all from the comfort of your home!!

Five years ago, when Nonnie Jules, created this conference. there were few, if any, virtual conferences taking place. We were all still enjoying getting out and attending physical events. But now, in the midst of this pandemic, virtual conferences are the new normal. I say this just to demonstrate the innovative thinking of our fearless leader!

The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is an international book club dedicated to reading and giving honest reviews. But it is SO much more. It is a community of writers who develop friendships, encourage each other, uplift each other, and support each other in so many ways.

This conference is one of the highlights of the year for this community!

Take a Peek at our 2020 Sessions and Workshops!

  1. Amazon Author Central:  What It Is and How It Can Help You Sell More Books
  2. Anatomy of an (Almost) Perfect Book Review
  3. Anatomy of a Blog Post / Your Content Is King 
  4. Are You Failing As an Author?  The Reasons Why and How To Start Soaring
  5. Book Marketing Without A Plan: ‘Know Where’ You’re Going Before You End Up ‘Nowhere’
  6. Creating A Writer’s Platform That Will Get You Noticed
  7. How To Blog an Entire Book in 30 Days
  8. How To Build An Audience and Sell More Books
  9. How To Turn Your Blog Into A Hot Spot!  Keep Readers Coming Back For More
  10. STOP Marketing Your Books! How To Get Others To Do It For You
  11. The Basics of Spelling & Grammar: What You May Have Slept Through In School That’s Now Hurting Your Writing
  12. The Easiest Way To Format Your Paperback via Word Doc
  13. The Elements of a Short Story
  14. Powerful Keywords and How They Can Increase Your Blog’s Traffic
  15. The Simplification of “SHOW DON’T TELL”
  16. The Skinny on Social Media – Using It The Right Way So You’re Not Just Spinning Your Wheels
  17. TRELLO – A Step-by-Step Guide to Using it Effectively to Organize and Write Your Next Book
  18. What It Takes To Become A More Productive Writer
  19. Writing Dialog That Feels Like Realistic Conversation
  20. YOU the Reviewer Are Ruining YOU the Writer. Why Your Book Reviews Are Turning Off Potential Readers and How You Can Turn It Around
  21. FREE BONUS SESSION
  22. Filter Words and How To Avoid Them In Your Writing
  23. What RWISA-Ready Looks Like

Want to know the benefits of attending this conference? I can’t say it any better than Nonnie.

You’re a writer.  You realize that there is a lot for you to learn to become a great writer…heck, even a good writer.  You’ve heard about writers’ conferences but you’ve no time to attend, you’ve no money to spare, and most of them are just too darned far.  You’ve heard that they are wonderful, though, and you’d really like to see what they’re all about, so, what do you do?

Well, there is such a thing as a virtual writing conference, and below I’m going to share with you some of the benefits of attending an RRBC writers’ conference & book expo.

*A virtual conference allows you to attend from the comfort of any place of your choosing (living room, bedroom, bathroom, your car trunk, Starbucks, etc…).  Writers’ conferences and book expos come a dime a dozen as we say down South.  I mean…just like churches and liquor stores, there’s practically one on every corner.  But, with the busy lives that we lead, we often find it difficult to get away to visit or participate in one, so the next best thing is to find one online.  No need to worry about the cost of travel fare (car, bus or plane), no need to worry about hotel accommodations (you get to sleep at home), or, the cost of eating away from home…you get all that you need, when you need it, right where you are. #BENEFIT

*Resources you will use forever.  When you attend a virtual writers’ conference, you have the ability to revisit much of the information that is shared because it is all online.  The sessions and workshops presented at an RRBC writers’ conference, are all created with the purpose of educating attendees.   Our sessions and workshops are on carefully selected topics that we know authors need in order to grow in their writing careers.  The handouts that you receive (virtually), are invaluable along your journey as a writer.  No matter the format utilized to present these sessions, attendees leave our sessions and workshops enlightened and with a renewed sense of having learned something that will make them a better writer and stronger marketer for their books. #BENEFIT

*Payment Plans.  Have you priced writers’ conferences and book expos lately?  Well, I have and who can afford them without skipping a mortgage payment?  Geez!  There again lies the beauty of a virtual conference (at least an RRBC one).  Not only are the prices lower than any others we’ve found, but, we also have payment plans to make it easier to afford an author booth to promote your books, a vendor booth to introduce and sell your wares, and all the sessions and workshops your amazing brain can handle! #BENEFIT

*Community.  The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB popped onto the scene over 7 years ago and has offered to writers something never heard of before:  a community of support that truly cares about the success of its members, and a community of like-minded individuals who care about the success of their fellow members just as much as they care about their own.  There’s no competition here.  We’re all trying to get to the same place, and we’re gladly sharing the load so that we all get there quicker!   This community (or family as we like to call it), is there through the good times and the bad;  there to lift you up when you’re feeling low and need the encouragement to write another page; there with advice on how to handle certain situations involving your writing, tips on how you should write, what literary services you should utilize, and so much more.  We purchase, read and review each other’s books, we give our honest opinions on those books, we promote one another via our blogs and social media forums, and during the conference, we all get to commune to further our careers and friendships even more. #BENEFIT

*Friendships.  Many RRBC members are surprised at the bonds of friendship they form once they immerse themselves within the club.  The World Wide Web is known to be a cesspool of ‘crazies’, stalkers and any other negative label that you can attach to someone who you should be wary of on the net.  But, not so in RRBC.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some that I’m sure you should be leery of, but, I can assure you they are not within the realm of our core members…the professionals who work hard to protect and maintain their reputations as authors.  We are a global organization with members around the world, which means, when you find those to call ‘friend’, you’re never without a place to rest your head along your travels. #BENEFIT

*Find great new books.  Since the inception of RRBC, we hear on a daily basis how readers were introduced to amazing books they might never have found had it not been for RRBC.  The traditionally published have their work plastered all over the place, and sometimes, our Indie awesomeness is a little hidden…you have to dig deep to find it.  That’s not the case within RRBC.  We have amazing talent in our midst and their books speak for them.  If you’re looking for great reads, look no further than our catalog.  The conference & expo is THE place for our members to introduce their latest work and you don’t want to miss out on any of it! #BENEFIT

***

So, there you have it…  the most important benefits of attending a virtual writers’ conference & book expo hosted by RRBC.  What you will walk away with will far outweigh the pennies you will spend to take part in it.  And, because 2020 is our year of being judged on the skill with which we write, we hope that all our members care enough about their writing and their reputations as writers, to take part in this awesome event, which can only serve to further their writing growth.

Last year’s event was amazing and it was our 4th year putting it on.  With the past few years under our belt, can you imagine the things that we’re going to do this year?  I don’t think you can!

Everything about this event is geared towards your success.  If you haven’t registered yet, we invite you to do so today.  Don’t be the lone wolf standing on the sidelines of this wonderful event, wishing after the fact that you had been part of it.  Jump right on board our rocket to the stars.   We certainly have enough room for ya!

See you at the conference!

*JOIN RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!

There you have it! There’s still time to jump in and participate in any of the workshops that interest you!

PLEASE NOTE: the conference site will go offline at some point over the weekend, but will re-open on Monday at 10 AM CT, in the event that you get an error msg saying the site is private when you visit.

Authorpreneur, Nonnie Jules – #RRBC #RWISA @NonnieJules

Nonnie (aka Wonder Woman) has been super busy organizing the 5th Annual #RRBC Writers’ Conference & Book Expo (a super-duper virtual literary event!!!!), so a group of us decided we would shine the spotlight on Nonnie.

Please support an author who gives tirelessly and selflessly (on steroids!) to other authors every day of the year. So, as well as sharing our posts & tweets, please buy her books, and post your honest reviews.

#RRBC and #RWISA – Let’s make some NONNIE NOISE!!!!

Nonnie Jules – President & Founder of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB {RRBC} and RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS {RWISA}

“As a writer who values the (polished) written word, it is my mission to help my fellow authors understand that their reputation as a writer should be treated as a rare treasure and that the only way to be taken seriously in this business, is to ensure that your writing (no matter the forum) is impeccably written and well-edited.”

RRBC Author Page https://ravereviewsbookclub.wordpress.com/about-nonnie-jules-nonniejules-rrbc-rwisa/

You can find Nonnie’s books listed under the following categories in the RRBC Catalog:

Non-Fiction

Novels

Parenting & Relationships

Poetry

Short Story

Latest Release: No Pedigree

Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, Baylee never quite fit in…anywhere. She was taunted and teased because her clothes had no designer labels, and spit upon because her only pair of shoes had holes in the bottom. The butt of many jokes, she was excluded from all social activities, sneered at by the parents of her peers after school as she waited for the bus, watching them drive away in their fancy cars; assaulted in the most unthinkable fashion.

Having been born to a white father and a black native American mother didn’t make things any easier. In fact, that circumstance made her life ten times harder – until the day she made them all stand up, take notice, and regret every ugly word and deed they had inflicted upon her.

My 5 STAR REVIEW OF “NO PEDIGREE!”

SWEET REVENGE!

This is a short story that addresses a social crisis that still plagues us. Racism has never gone away in the United States, and in fact, over the past four years, has escalated. This short story shines a light on that hard subject. When a beautiful girl of mixed race is forced to attend an all-white up-scale school, she is shunned by everyone but one girl. So, when the most popular boy in school shows an interest in her, she has no idea of his motives. The story is well-told and the best part was the ending. Satisfying is not a strong enough word to describe the ending. This book is inspiring because in real life we all know that the good guy does not always win. I highly recommend that every teenager in America be required to read this story.

RWISA Author Page https://ravewriters.wordpress.com/meet-the-authors/author-nonnie-jules/

Watch out for Wonder-Jules truth lasso!

Social Media Links

Contact via:

Email:  nonniejules@gmail.com

Twitter:  @nonniejules & @AskTheGoodMommy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BooksByNonnie/

Blog/Websites:

Books By Nonnie

Watch Nonnie Write!

Ask The Good Mommy

4WillsPublishing

#RRBC #RWISA Thanks for supporting author, Nonnie Jules!

Welcome to Day 8 of “THE LOST AND FOUND BILLY BATTLES” Blog Tour! @JHawker69 @4WillsPub #RRBC #RWISA.

GIVEAWAY:  (2) Complete sets of the Billy Battles trilogy.  For your chance to win one, please leave a comment below!

I am thrilled to welcome talented author and journalist, Ron Yates, to my blog today where he’ll share some hard-earned wisdom with you.

The Lost and Found Billy Battles Tour

Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing: Annotated

At least once every year I find it useful to take a look at the late Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing. It is sage advice from a master. Every writer should read these rules and remember them. I’m doing my part by posting them here at the beginning of 2019 for your edification and enjoyment. 

I began reading Elmore Leonard’s books before I knew anything about writing or even that I wanted to be a writer. Back then, a lot of his books were westerns filled with gritty characters, compelling stories, and robust, convincing dialogue.

I remember reading Last Stand at Sabre River and Hombre, both of which became successful movies. Later, after Leonard had moved from westerns to crime and suspense stories, I read Mr. Majestyk, The Big Bounce, and the Moonshine War.

From 2010 to 2015 I watched with great pleasure the TV series “Justified,” based on Leonard’s book “Raylan” and partly written by Leonard. It has run its course, but I encourage you to take a look at the series. I am sure it is available on Netflix. Timothy Oliphant plays Raylan to a “T.”

Elmore Leonard was a writer’s writer. Not only could he spin a great story, but he could also create characters you loved to hate or hated to love and some you simply learned to tolerate because they made the other characters interesting.

If you like reading William Faulkner or Thomas Wolfe, you probably will not like reading Elmore Leonard. As brilliant as those two writers were, their stream-of-conscious narration probably drove Leonard nuts.

Leonard believed the writer should never get in the way of the story. (NOTE: See “Hooptedoodle″ at the end of Leonard’s rules)

I am not sure when Leonard wrote his 10 Rules of Writing, but I found them a few years ago and filed them away.

Some of you may already know those ten rules, but I am betting a lot of you don’t. So let me share them with you today. Read them, consider them and most of all, and try to follow them when you write your books. I think you will be glad you did.

Here they are in Elmore Leonard’s own words:

These are rules I’ve picked up along the way to help me remain invisible when I’m writing a book, to help me show rather than tell what’s taking place in the story. If you have a facility for language and imagery and the sound of your voice pleases you, invisibility is not what you are after, and you can skip the rules. Still, you might look them over.

    1. Never open a book with weather.

If it’s only to create atmosphere, and not a character’s reaction to the weather, you don’t want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead looking for people. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways to describe ice and snow than an Eskimo, you can do all the weather reporting you want.

   2. Avoid prologues.

They can be annoying, especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in nonfiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want.

There is a prologue in John Steinbeck’s Sweet Thursday, but it’s O.K. because a character in the book makes the point of what my rules are all about. He says: “I like a lot of talk in a book and I don’t like to have nobody tell me what the guy that’s talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks like from the way he talks . . . Figure out what the guy’s thinking from what he says. I like some description but not too much of that. . . Sometimes I want a book to break loose with a bunch of hooptedoodle. Spin up some pretty words maybe or sing a little song with language. That’s nice. But I wish it was set aside, so I don’t have to read it. I don’t want hooptedoodle to get mixed up with the story.” (NOTE: I already violated that rule in my Finding Billy Battles trilogy. Sorry, Elmore. I won’t do it again.)

    3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.

The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But said is far less intrusive than grumbled, gasped, cautioned, lied. I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with “she asseverated,” and had to stop reading to get the dictionary. (NOTE: I learned this important rule in journalism school at the University of Kansas. It has served me well.)

     4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” …

…he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost anyway) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances “full of rape and adverbs.”

     5. Keep your exclamation points under control.

You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.

     6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”

This rule doesn’t require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use “suddenly” tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.

    7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.

Once you start spelling words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with apostrophes, you won’t be able to stop. Notice the way Annie Proulx captures the flavor of Wyoming voices in her book of short stories Close Range.

     8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.

In Ernest Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants, what do the “American and the girl with him” look like? “She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.” That’s the only reference to a physical description in the story, and yet we see the couple and know them by their tones of voice, with not one adverb in sight.

     9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.

Unless you’re Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language or write landscapes in the style of Jim Harrison, but even if you’re good at it, you don’t want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.

And finally:

     10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

A rule that came to mind in 1983. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. What the writer is doing, he’s writing, perpetrating hooptedoodle, perhaps taking another shot at the weather, or has gone into the character’s head, and the reader either knows what the guy’s thinking or doesn’t care. I’ll bet you don’t skip dialogue.

My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative. I attempt to remain invisible, not distract the reader from the story with obvious writing. (Joseph Conrad said something about words getting in the way of what you want to say.)

If I write in scenes and always from the point of view of a particular character — the one whose view best brings the scene to life — I’m able to concentrate on the voices of the characters telling you who they are and how they feel about what they see and what’s going on, and I’m nowhere in sight.

What Steinbeck did in Sweet Thursday was title his chapters as an indication, though obscure, of what they cover. “Whom the Gods Love They Drive Nuts” is one, “Lousy Wednesday” another.

The third chapter is titled “Hooptedoodle 1″ and the 38th chapter “Hooptedoodle 2″ as warnings to the reader as if Steinbeck is saying: “Here’s where you’ll see me taking flights of fancy with my writing, and it won’t get in the way of the story. Skip them if you want.”

Sweet Thursday came out in 1954 when I was just beginning to be published, and I’ve never forgotten that prologue.

Did I read the hooptedoodle chapters? Every word.

And there you have it: Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing. They are well worth remembering and following. Of course, there are some who believe there are no rules when it comes to writing. I don’t believe Leonard himself felt his ten rules were inviolable. To me, they seem like common sense–especially when it comes to avoiding the dissemination of hooptedoodle.

BOOK BLURB:

The Finding Billy Battles trilogy tells the story of a remarkable man who is born in 1860 and who dies in 1960. For decades Billy lives an improbable and staggering life of adventure, peril, transgression and redemption. Then Billy mysteriously disappears. For several decades his family has no idea where he is or what he is doing.

Finally, with his life coming to an end, Billy resurfaces in an old soldiers’ home in Leavenworth, Kansas. It is there, when he is 98 that he meets his 12-year-old great-grandson and bequeaths his journals and his other property to him — though he is not to receive them until he is much older.

Years later, the great-grandson finally reads the journals and fashions a three volume trilogy that tells of his great-grandfather’s audacious life in the old west, as well as his journeys to the Far East of the 1890s—including French Indochina and The Philippines—and finally, in the early 20th century, to Europe and Latin America where his adventures and predicaments continue. One thing readers can be sure of, wherever Billy Battles goes trouble is not far behind.

AUTHOR BIO:

Ronald E. Yates is a multi-award winning author of historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy. His extraordinarily accurate books have captivated fans around the world who applaud his ability to blend fact and fiction.

Ron is a former foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and Professor Emeritus of Journalism at the University of Illinois where he was also the Dean of the College of Media.

The Lost Years of Billy Battles is the final book in the trilogy and recently won the Independent Press Award’s 2020 Distinguished Favorites Award. In 2019 it also won Best Overall Book of the year and the Grand Prize in the Goethe Historical Fiction Category from Chanticleer International Book Awards as well as a Book Excellence Award and a New Apple Award. The second book in the trilogy, The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles, was published in June 2016. It won the 2017 KCT International Literary Award and the New Apple Award in the Action/Adventure category. The first book in the trilogy, “Finding Billy Battles,” was published in 2014 and won a Book Excellence Award and Laramie Award from Chanticleer International Book Awards.

As a professional journalist, Ron lived and worked in Japan, Southeast Asia, and both Central and South America where he covered several history-making events including the fall of South Vietnam and Cambodia; the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing; and wars and revolutions in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, among other places. His work as a foreign correspondent earned him several awards including three Pulitzer Prize nominations.

Ron is a frequent speaker about the media, international affairs, and writing. He is a Vietnam era veteran of the U.S. Army Security Agency and lives just north of San Diego in Southern California’s wine country.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

-Twitter   https://twitter.com/jhawker69

-Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ronaldyatesbooks/

-Website   https://ronaldyatesbooks.com/

AMAZON OR OTHER PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon:

Barnes & Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/finding%20billy%20battles/_/N-8q8

I hope you enjoyed Ron’s post today. Please remember to leave a comment to be entered in the GIVEAWAY!

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 schedule your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.  Thanks for supporting this author and his work!

Flash-fiction Challenge – A Foreign World #FictionInAFlash @pursoot @IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity.

In response to the Flash-Fiction photo prompt from Suzanne Burke this week, here is my contribution.

A FOREIGN WORLD

“Oh, the memories.” I sigh, and squeeze his hand a little tighter. The dried orange, brown and yellow leaves crunch beneath our feet as we shuffle along the sidewalk.

He smiles down at me. “Yes, my love. I remember when we sat on this very bench and I asked you to be my bride.”

Tears came unbidden and trickled down my wrinkled cheeks. “We had a pretty darn good life, didn’t we, Harold?”

“Yes. Yes, we did, in spite of the hardships.”

“But, I no longer recognize the world we live in. Where is everyone? Why are the streets empty? There was a day when this park would have held the laughter of children and young lovers strolling hand-in-hand.”

“Let’s sit, Margaret. My old legs are giving out.”

We shuffled over to the bench and Harold brushed away the leaves that covered it.

He blew out a long sigh and leaning on his cane, dropped onto the very bench where we started life together fifty-two years ago.

“I’m troubled, Harold. No, I’m more than troubled. I’m scared. Not for me and you. We’re pretty much out of here, but for the ones coming behind us.”

Draping an arm around my shoulders, he pulled me closer. “It’s not the same America that you and I grew up in. Soldiers on the streets, looting, killings and so much hatred exists. You know it’s not even safe for us to venture out.”

“I know, but I really needed some fresh air. Thank you for appeasing me.”

“Oh, my love, that is what I have lived for these past fifty-two years. My greatest joy is to make you smile.”

“What is that noise? Sounds like firecrackers.”

“I think we better mosey on back home, honey. It’s getting closer.”

He struggled to his feet, then leaning heavily on his cane, reached for my hand.

As we shuffled back toward safety, I turned to look back at the bench that meant so much, only to see a group of hoodlums spraying graffiti on it.

“Harold, we need to move faster. Trouble’s coming.”

“I’m going as fast as I can go. Don’t worry, dear. I won’t let anyone hurt you. It’s just a few more blocks home.”

That’s when it happened. A blow to the back of his head, took Harold to his knees. I screamed and turned to face our attackers only to see sneers and glowing hatred in the eyes of what should have been intelligent young men.

“You old people don’t need to be alive,” one of them growled. “You’re just taking up space and eating food that belongs to us. This is our country now. Old people like you are a nuisance.”

I kneeled down beside Harold and cradled his head in my lap. “You’ve hurt my husband.” Tears flowed uncontrollably.

One of them laughed. “So what? What are you going to do about it old woman?”

The first blow knocked me backward onto the hard concrete, and I frantically reached for Harold’s hand. The second blow brought oblivion.

Then, I was flying and when I looked down, I saw the shell of our bodies lying on the concrete, our blood mixing together and staining the sidewalk.

Harold floated up beside me.  “We’re free now, sweet love. No more aches, pains or persecution. We’re free.”

He was right. I no longer had the familiar pain in my joints and his cane no longer had any use.

“What will happen to our once beautiful world?” I took one more glance downward to see the men who’d taken our lives strolling away casually as if nothing had happened. They laughed and joked and slapped each other on the back.

“I don’t know the answer to that. We may have to come back to find out.”

“I’m not sure I want to come back again. Maybe we’ll stay with the Angels for a while.”

“Whatever you say, dear.”

With his hand nestled softly in mine, we drifted slowly and peacefully toward the brightest light that you can imagine. Then we disappeared into it.

We were home.

I hope you enjoyed my contribution. If you’d like to participate or just know more about Suzanne Burke (by the way a fabulous writer), visit her website or better yet, pick up one of her books!

Contact Suzanne at …

Her author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

Celebrating Harriet Hodgson @healthmn1 #RRBC #RWISA

Today, Wednesday, 5/27/20 we are honoring the GRAND PRIZE Winner of our 2019 KCT INT’L LITERARY AWARDS Contest“SO, YOU’RE RAISING YOUR GRANDKIDS!” by RWISAAuthor, Harriet Hodgson.

And I’m SUPER excited about that. At 84 years young, Harriet is an inspiration!

HARRIET HODGSON BIO

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 training.

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 conferences.

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 Harriet’s RRBC Author Page to find out more about this busy wife, grandmother, caregiver, and author, as well as more information on her many other books listed in the RRBC catalog.

BOOK BLURB:

If you are a grandparent raising your grandchildren, help has arrived.

According to the US Census Bureau, more than 10% of all grandparents in the nation are raising their grandkids, and the number is going up. You may be one of the millions of these grandparents and it’s a role you never expected. Willing as you are to assume this role, you have some questions. How will I find the energy for this? Is my grandchild normal? What if I “blow it?” Each day, you look for ways to make life easier.

This book will:

•Help ease your worries and guilt;
•Offer tips for creating a grandfamily;
•Give methods for improving grandparent-grandchild communication;
•Suggest ideas for how you can connect with your grandchild’s school;
•Provide child development information;
•Recommend approaches to help your grandchild set goals;
•Stress the importance of having fun together;
•Offer ideas of how to foster your grandchild’s hopes and dreams.

So, You’re Raising Your Grandkids blends Harriet Hodgson’s wise and moving grandparenting story with recent research and findings. It shares her 21 years of caregiving experience, including seven years of raising her twin grandkids. Each chapter ends with What Works, proven tips for grandparents raising grandkids.

At the end, you’ll cheer for all the loving grandparents—including you—who are putting grandchildren first.

PURCHASE LINK:

#RWISA “RISE-UP” TOUR DAY 12, Nonnie Jules @nonniejules #RRBC #RRBC_COMMUNITY #RWISARISEUP

Today is the final day of the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour and we close it out with our RRBC and RWISA President, Nonnie Jules.

by Nonnie Jules

By Friday, I doubted that I would even be part of this event.  I’m sure many of you noticed that I kept moving others ahead of me and ahead of me, until I ran out of members to move – as I struggled with finding the time in my schedule to write something.  As of this morning, I had finally decided that I just wasn’t going to be able to participate, as again, I saw no opening in my schedule that would allow it. 

Then, I got a phone call at 7:37 this evening from a friend, sharing that her relative had just attempted suicide due to his personal struggles since the arrival of COVID19.  He had lost his job, had received an eviction notice, and saw no clear path to anything remotely close to “better” while the Coronavirus lingered.  That conversation forced me to sit down at my desk just as soon as I hung up the phone.  What you will find below may not be that great, but it’s what my heart rolled out in the final hour. 

***

And So, I Believed

We are living through what is possibly the most trying time in many of our lives.  We are a world on lock-down, and though there are those of us who are living a bit more comfortably than others during this pandemic, many in the world are suffering.

Some of us are not concerned with how our mortgages and car notes will get paid.  Some of us aren’t concerned with where our next meal will come from, or, if we’ll have to suffer through another night filled with tears streaming down the faces of our hungry children, along with our own tears of helplessness.

For those who suffer with mental illness, their situations are creating a new wave of crisis, as many who see no way out, are, out of fear and desperation, turning to suicide.

My heart breaks for these innocents in this war.

***

It’s quiet.  

I’m afraid​. ​

I’ve been locked up inside for so long, I don’t know my nights from my days.

It’s lonely.  

I’m scared.

There’s no place to hide, ​and ​no other place to go​, ​because it’s everywhere.

I need to make a run

​…​just out to the store

…but, I’m not even sure

…it’s safe to open my door.

It’s in the air ​we breathe​

​…​on everything that we touch

I never realized ​until now​

​…​I needed people so much​. ​

I’ve no medical insurance

…so, I mustn’t get sick​. ​

My stomach is growling​​​ 

​…​but, it will soon quit​. ​

I’ll just stay inside for now.

I do need my meds 

…to kill the voices in my head.

They’ve never been this loud before.

A little knock at the door 

…would really help right now.

It’s ​too ​quiet.

I’m ​so ​afraid.

I open my wallet and remember…

I haven’t even gotten paid.

What will I do?

​How will I survive?

I don’t even know if it’s worth staying alive.

And, what will I eat?

What about the heat?

I know that it’s summer

…and it’s supposed to be hot

…but​, ​this thing has me terrified

…all tied up in knots.

​So, I strangely shiver as if it is cold.

While parts of the world move, my life is on hold. ​

Under the covers

…the only place I feel safe.

Oh, how I wish

…to feel the sun on my face.

How will I ​cover​

…the rent that is due?

My landlord’s expecting 

…to be paid at two.

Some understand 

…but others not

My luck ran out

…with the landlord I got.

“I’ve got a family to feed – you’ve only got you.” 

He does not ​see​ that only me has to eat, too.

I don’t have the rent, dear Lord. 

What will I do?

Where will I go?

I need a sign

…because I just don’t know.

How long will this crisis last?

No one knows for sure.

I’m afraid​ of my thoughts​.

How much more can I endure?

I just don’t know.

My mind is racing

…it just won’t stop.

Please slow it down, Lord

…these thoughts are just not – to your liking.

I cover my mouth

A cough escapes.

​I d​rift over to the window

…and pull back the drapes.

Unlocking the locks

…one by one

I can hear the calling ​

​…​not a voice​, ​but a gun.

​No, too noisy, I think.

And what if I miss?  

I’m already afraid to even consider this.

Now, it’s a voice – louder – more clear  

Almost a shout – deep in my ear.

“Come closer to me. 

Look, I’m down here.” 

Five stories below me

Cars rush​ing​ by

​I hear the voice again​

“​C’mon, you can fly.”

I look back over my shoulder

As my landlord knocks

Then I glance at the wall

…it’s straight two o’clock.

“Why are you hesitant? There’s only pain here for you.

There’s nobody to help, so, what will you do?

The world is on lockdown, but you can be free.

Do not wait another second; come and join me!

You see, I am free – down here. 

And don’t forget, you can fly.”

And so, I believed.

***

To everyone reading this who might be struggling with thoughts in their head, that under normal circumstances wouldn’t make sense, yet, they seem to make sense in the moment, what you should always remember is that the devil is alive and well, and sometimes looks and sounds just like you and me. {And of course, he wants you to join him…in hell.} 

Fight those voices that encourage you to harm yourself and others. 

If you were not born a bird or created in the likeness of some type of aircraft, listen to ME – you cannot fly.

Please take a moment to visit Nonnie Jules’ RWISA Author Page!

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of 15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!  

#RWISA “RISE-UP” TOUR DAY 11, Peggy Hattendorf @peggyhattendorf #RRBC #RRBC_COMMUNITY #RWISARISEUP

I’m happy to welcome RWISA Author, Peggy Hattendorf to my blogsite today.

by Peggy Hattendorf

“Mother is the most beautiful word on the lips of mankind.” Kahlil Gibran

We define, mother or mom, as the female parent, whose responsibilities center around the physical and emotional care of a child, who may or may not be her own biological offspring. In certain circumstances, childcare commitments may be handled by the grandmother, stepmother, foster mother, godmother, or mother-in-law.  All categories of “mothers” who have a hand in nurturing, teaching, and fostering the development of a child, deserve respect and admiration.

The American terms, mother, or mom, adopted from the British English names, mummy or mum, sound remarkably similar or are spelled the same, in many languages around the world.   

Whether we say,  

  • Mother or Mom – American English
  • Mummy or Mum – British English
  • Mother or Mom – Canadian English or Maman – French-speaking province of Quebec
  • Madre – Spanish
  • La Mere – French
  • Moeder – Afrikaans
  • Ma – Hindi (India)
  • Moeder – Dutch
  • Madre or Mamma – Italian
  • Mama – Romanian
  • Matka – Polish
  • Mor or Mamma – Norwegian
  • Mum – Australian English
  • Mum – New Zealand English
  • Mueter – Swiss German
  • Mamma – Swedish
  • Mutter – German
  • Me – Vietnamese

the meaning and the identity of the person referenced is the same – the female parent of a child.

The initial love and affection, devotion, and care, given by our mothers, cultivated our early introduction to life and the universe around us. It provided the initial foundation and perceptionsof the world as a happy, gentle, and kind place or a world to be viewed as hostile, brutal and unkind.  

Without the support, training, guidance, and discipline set by our mothers, we would not have grown into social beings, in the image of God. Mothers help prepare us with knowledge, skills, and abilities to mature and become independent. In so doing, our mothers sacrificed many of their desires and needs for our necessities and demands.

If the virtuous governing principles of life are learned by teaching and examples bestowed by our mothers, then a “world without mothers” would be:

  • A world with significantly less women
  • A world devoid of selflessness and unconditional love
  • A world less disciplined and restrained
  • A world less organized and efficient
  • A world less righteous, decent, and understanding
  • A world less emotional, demonstrative, and affectionate
  • A world with less compassion and empathy
  • A world less patient, kind, and gentle
  • A world with less encouragement and motivation
  • A world less balanced and controlled
  • A world less polite and respectful
  • A world less thoughtful, tender, and considerate
  • A world less merciful and forgiving

Mothers play an indispensable role which is hard to duplicate.  As infants nearly all of our physical needs are attended by our mothers. That physical care prevailed as we started to crawl and then walk, babble, and then talk, and shed our diapers when toilet trained. Our safety, protection and physical well-being remained paramount to our mothers even as we matured and entered adulthood.

For many of us, the emotional care given by our biological mothers originated before we were born. After birth, we were embraced with love and affection. That unconditional love stands as the cornerstone of the mother and child relationship. As our mothers motivated and inspired, encouraged, and supported, they provided the strength necessary for us to grow and mature. As our first instructors, they taught us about love, and hope, faith and spirituality, acceptance and tolerance, courage, and bravery, confidence, and determination, giving, and charity.

And they raised us to let us go and assume independence; all-the-while, we remain in our mothers’ hearts and souls forever. Mothers change the world with every child they raise.

Women are not handed an “instruction kit” as they assume the role of motherhood. No guidebooks, training manuals, or college courses prepare them for the most challenging, yet most fulfilling experience of their lives.

It is hard to envision a world without our best supporter, best listener, and best friend forever. Mothers are the ones who are always happy to hear from us, no matter what we are calling about, or when we are calling. They are the ones that will drive us crazy – but we know will always be there.  And no matter our age, we always need our mothers.  My mother has been gone for twenty-one years, but there is not a day, I do not wish I could pick up the telephone and speak with her.

Below, my grandchildren and daughter have shared their perspectives on what life would be like without mothers.

From my 16-year old granddaughter Anabella:

“I can’t imagine a world without moms, as my mom is my biggest supporter and sometimes my biggest critic. My mom has always been there to laugh at me when I fall, but to also pick me up and wipe my tears. I love my mom; she is always there to help me. She is my best friend. I can come to her with all my problems and she is always there with a witty comment and some friendship knowledge.”

From my 15-year old granddaughter Skylar:

“A world without moms would be dark and unforgiving. There would be no one to love you unconditionally, no one to bring you back up when you are sad and feeling down. You would not have your biggest cheerleader and fiercest defender by your side. You would not have that unconditional love that a mother gives to her child. And you wouldn’t have anyone who utterly understands you like your mother.”

From my 10-year old grandson Erik:

“What a world without moms? No, that cannot be, because it means everything in the world to me to have a mom. She takes care of me when I am sick.”

From my daughter Rebecca, the mother of Anabella and Erik:

“Strong women raise strong girls and you are the strongest woman I know. I can’t imagine the world without you and all the other strong wonderful moms.”

It would be a decisively different and fragmented world without the love, hugs, and the comforting touches of mothers.

In a world without moms, we would lose our navigational compass, our emotional barometer, and our positioning in the world-order. We would be set adrift in an ocean of ever-changing conditions and unknown dangers. Thankfully, we have mothers and live on a planet fondly called “Mother Nature” or “Mother Earth” from the Greco-Roman personification of nature that focuses on the life-giving and nurturing aspects of nature by embodying it, in the form of a mother.

Please take a moment to visit Peggy Hattendorf’s RWISA Author Page!

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of 15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!  

#RWISA “RISE-UP” TOUR DAY 10, Maura Beth Brennan @maurabeth2014 #RRBC #RRBC_COMMUNITY #RWISARISEUP

Today, I welcome a new RWISA member, Maura Beth Brennan to my blog.

MEMORIES OF MOM

By Maura Beth Brennan

I miss my Mom’s quirks. Her superstitions, for instance.

“Don’t you dare put your shoes on that table,” she would say. She wasn’t talking about putting shoe-clad feet on the coffee table. She didn’t want anyone putting a shoebox containing new shoes on a table—any table. Such an action could have dire consequences. That box must be placed on the floor. Period.

No one in our house would have dared leave a wet umbrella open to dry inside the house. That would have, according to Mom, invited disaster. And if you left the house by the front door, you had better return that way. If not, who knew what tragedy might befall you?

Now, when I walk my dog through the woods and take a shortcut home, I double around the house to reenter through the same door. I can still hear her voice, warning me. I leave that dripping umbrella on the porch. I place that shoebox on the floor. Because my mother—she’s a deep, tenacious part of me.

I miss so many things about her—her funny remarks, her kindnesses, her soft voice. I say things to my daughter and think, there is my mother talking. She blurted the funniest things sometimes, and Dad, my brothers, and I sometimes teased her about it. One source of our amusement was her habit of mixing up common clichés. “Sit down, let’s chew the breeze,” my mom would say. Or, “It’s six of one, a dozen of the other.” When we’d laugh, she’d look confused until she realized what she had said. Then, she’d laugh along. She was the inspiration for the mother in two of my short stories, where the mother’s sayings always came out wrong.

I miss having Mom to lean on. One difficult year, I had to take a leave of absence from work. A new house, a demanding job, a young daughter, night school to earn a degree—it was suddenly all too much for me, and I couldn’t seem to stop crying. One morning, as I sat feeling sorry for myself, I heard a knock at my door. There was Mom, smiling, bearing homemade muffins for us to share. She settled me at the kitchen table. “Now, don’t you cry anymore,” she said. “It will all work out.” She made me a cup of tea and brought it to me. “This is nice,” she said. “Isn’t it? Just us girls.”

What I would give to have a cup of tea with her now. To let her know how much that meant to me.

Mom was a shy and quiet woman, but she had courage and a steely spine when it came to her family. Her courage showed when, during World War II, she packed a suitcase and took her baby daughter (me) three-thousand miles across the country, by train and bus, to be with my father while he was stationed on the west coast. She stayed there, making a home for us until the war was over.

She showed that courage when she won her first battle with cancer. She never told either of my recently married brothers how ill she was, not wanting to worry them. She told them she had “a little procedure.” When her health returned, it was as if it never happened. She never spoke of it.

But cancer struck again, a different one this time, more deadly.

And this is the memory that breaks my heart. She was in the hospital after exploratory surgery and a terrible prognosis. I went to visit, pulling my chair close to her bed to hear her quiet voice. Her eyes stretched wide and she grasped my hand in hers. 

“I’m so scared,” she said.

She died nine months later. That January, the doctors had “given” her three months to live. But she was determined to live until her fortieth wedding anniversary on September 20th.

The afternoon she died, my father, my brothers and I were gathered around her bedside. She asked my father, “Bud, is today our anniversary?” She was suffering and my father couldn’t bear to watch it go on. It was September 19th, a day too early.

He pulled her close and embraced her for the last time. He knew what he had to do.

“Yes, sweetheart,” he said. “It is.”

Please take a moment to visit Maura Beth’s RWISA Author Page and take a look at her work!

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of 15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!  

#RWISA “RISE-UP” TOUR DAY 9, Heather Kindt @HMKINDT #RRBC #RRBC_COMMUNITY #RWISARISEUP

RWISA Author, Heather Kindt joins me here today to share her post for the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour! I hope you enjoy!

LOSING MOM

By: Heather Kindt

Have you ever lost someone? The pain is unimaginable, ripping through you like an express train. But what if you lost that person again and again? The agony of the loss knocks you off your feet until you’re numb. That’s what it’s like when you lose someone to dementia.

My mom was my best friend.

She was my shoulder to cry on, and I told her everything. On summer mornings, she’d lie in bed thinking, so I’d hop in next to her and we’d talk about everything or nothing at all. She was there to hold me when I lost my first love and to celebrate with me when I found my last. We spent an entire summer planning my wedding and finding ways to keep the costs within my measly teacher salary. Rummaging through bargain bins at the Christmas Tree Shop, we found the perfect, gold-trimmed ribbon to don the pews at the church.

After I was married, I moved to Colorado and being two thousand miles apart put a dent in both of our souls. But, she was there when my babies were born, helping me figure out the tasks of new mother for the few weeks she was able to be away from home. She was always there, even if it had to be over the telephone wires.

Until she wasn’t.

It started off slowly—spoiled milk in the refrigerator, aluminum foil in the microwave, and accusing my uncle of leaving tiny, recording devices under her couch. She’s getting forgetful with age…paranoid. That’s what I told myself.

But then things weren’t so small. When my mom and dad finally moved to Colorado, she and my brother took separate cars to church one night. Matt followed my mom back to their house but instead of turning down their road, my mom went straight. I received the phone call from Matt frantic, explaining the situation.

“Why didn’t you follow her?” I thought it was a reasonable question.

“I don’t know?”

I lived an hour and a half away, and it was eight o’clock at night. Pulling on my coat, I waited by the phone. There was no way I’d be able to find my mom in a city at night, though I’d search all night if I had to. Before leaving out the door, I called Matt one last time. Why wasn’t he searching?

A pair of headlights turned up our driveway. Impossible. We lived in a housing development in the country littered with dirt roads and deer. I rushed down the stairs to greet my mother. Tears streamed down her cheeks, and her whole body shook as she melted into my arms.

“He left me,” she sobbed. “I found a road that I recognized that went to your house, and I kept going.”

I wrapped her in a blanket and lay next to her on the bed in the spare room, her body heaving as she fell asleep.

As time went on, the incidents became more frequent. My parents moved back to New Hampshire because Dad couldn’t handle the altitude. My sister insisted they live in a retirement community. My mom didn’t like the price tag, so six months later she found an apartment in the town I grew up in. I was their telephone caregiver, calling every day on my way to work.

That summer when we visited, it was becoming more and more apparent that Mom couldn’t care for Dad, who was eighteen years her senior. He fell a couple of times, and she called the ambulance because she couldn’t lift him. Being there, I learned it was because he was malnourished and dehydrated. A local independent living facility provided them with at least two meals a day, and they could make friends. It worked for a while. Mom accused the maids of stealing her things, but it was her paranoia setting in again.

But then Dad got sick.

My mom insisted on coming to live with us. It was always how I imagined things would be. When Dad passed away, Mom would come live with us and help me with my children. But Dad wasn’t gone yet.

She insisted.

We moved her out to Colorado, and she lived with us. Frequent plane trips to New Hampshire drained my bank account. She missed him and in less than a year she wanted to move back. Things were different now. We hid her car keys, we arranged for her to go to a local senior center while we were at work, and she became severely combative.

For three years, my mother lived with us as I lost her day after day. At times, it felt like she ripped my heart out and stomped on it. I lashed out at her in my own frustration one day when she helped me clean out a closet. I missed our conversations, our comradeship and the love we’d always shared. It was as if someone reached down to Earth, snatched my mother and replaced her with a stranger. After three years, my husband and I made the decision to place her in a nursing home on a memory care unit.

I lost her again.

It was the most difficult thing I’ve done in my entire life, but I had to do it for her safety. Mom would get angry with me for no reason at all and storm out of the house. My husband followed her in the car until he could coax her inside. Her leaving also saved our marriage. The strain and stress it put on us those three years isn’t something I would want anyone to go through.

Have you ever lost someone? I lose my mom everyday, but it’s not as painful now. When you lose someone to dementia, at least for me, it’s like you’re going through the pain of losing someone suddenly again and again over many years. At some point, the pain numbs because it has to, or the stress will eat you alive. I love my mother, but the disease has stolen precious years of her life. It’s in the small glimmers of her spirit—a smile, an mischievous eye aimed at my husband, a hug from recognition—that I find hope that someday we can be together fully again.

Please take a moment to visit Heather Kindt’s RWISA Author Page!

Thank you for supporting today’s RWISA author along the RWISA “RISE-UP” Blog Tour!  To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page on the RWISA site.  For a chance to win a bundle of 15 e-books along with a $5 Amazon gift card, please leave a comment on the main RWISA”RISE-UP” Blog Tour page!  Once you’re there, it would be nice to also leave the author a personal note on their dedicated tour page, as well.  Thank you, and good luck!