Theme

This winter, the Roses are finding inspiration in the words of others. For March:

She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails. ~ Elizabeth Edwards

Our lives are fashioned by our choices. First we make our choices. Then our choices make us. ~ Anne Frank

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Monday, March 30, 2015

Choices and Consequences by Diane Burton



Our lives are fashioned by our choices. First we make our choices. Then our choices make us. ~ Anne Frank

One of the hardest things for a parent is to teach children that choices have consequences. Too often we want to protect them by preventing them from making a poor choice or bailing them out of a bad situation. From the time my grandchildren started climbing, my daughter’s frequent refrain was “make a better choice” instead of “don’t do this” or “don’t touch that.” And when they continued anyway, she told them “as a consequence” they had time out.

A better choice. And consequences. The choices we make—whether consciously or unconsciously—affect us in ways we cannot imagine. Not doing something is a choice. Little, everyday decisions accumulate and have consequences. When my husband changed jobs or was transferred, things happened fast. He went to work in the new town, leaving me behind to put a house of for sale. Putting off painting the front hall, repairing that screen door from the dog’s claws, and other household chores caught up. Should have made a better choice.

At the end of February, we had all the documents needed for taxes. Past history told me “corrected” documents could come in March. So I kept putting off gathering all the info to take to our tax person. Did I consciously make a decision not to work on taxes? Nope. I was preoccupied with my newest WIP. Writing about space adventures was much more interesting than gathering medical expenses or figuring out business miles. Avoidance was a choice. And the consequences were that last week I scrambled to get ready for Friday’s appointment.

Procrastination is my middle name. Granted, I work better under deadlines. It’s amazing how much I can get done when I have to. Not so amazing is that I could have done things ahead of time—like the taxes. Procrastination is a choice. Choices have consequences.

As I write this post, a line from a Robert Frost poem kept swirling around in my head. This ending from “The Road Not Taken” is perfect choice on which to end this post.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

Diane Burton writes romantic adventure . . . stories that take place on Earth and beyond. She blogs here on the 8th and 30th of each month and on Mondays on her own site: http://dianeburton.blogspot.com/

Friday, March 27, 2015

Toes in the Sand by Betsy Ashton

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." 
~Henry David Thoreau

I had no idea when I started my path to be a writer where it would lead. My dreams were to learn to write, to tell a good story, and to entertain those who chose to read it.

I taught a memoir-writing class yesterday at a 55+ retirement community where I met eight outstanding people. I asked them to tell me stories about their parents or grandparents. Many focused on the values taught them as children and how those values shaped their lives. I asked them to think of a favorite smell from one relative. Smells ranged from sweat, machine oil and pipe tobacco (factory worker), cotton (textile worker), talc, perfume and Ivory soap (various grandmothers) and fresh biscuits with jam (home maker). I could see the people had never thought how important it is to capture scents to give a relative flesh and blood. I left them writing away, happily sharing memories with each other.

I had always written for business and pleasure, but when I became serious about writing fiction, I knew squat. I had no idea about the different ways to approach characterization or scene. I simply told a story, plopped in some dialogue, and called my draft done. Not so. It took the patience from a writing group and some beta readers smacking me upside the head to help me focus on the craft of writing. I'm pretty dense, but something finally came through.

I didn't dream of publishing a novel. I dreamed smaller in the telling of the story. Now I know the importance of showing that story through action and dialogue and less through plain narration. Beta readers now look forward to the next book or section of a book. They encouraged me to dream large.

I did. With one novel in print since 2013 and the sequel coming out on Tax Day, I am now living the life I imagined. From toes in the sand of writing to a couple steps on the journey, I'm on my way. I still don't know where writing will lead, but I'm willing to follow my dreams.

Now, if I could just win the lottery...

###

Betsy Ashton is the author of Mad Max, Unintended Consequences, and Uncharted Territory, A Mad Max Mystery, which is now available for pre-launch e-book orders at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I never imagined this ...

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. ~ Henry David Thoreau

 I've always been a writer. I write professionally (technical documentation), I have 2 degrees in English (Masters Thesis), 2 in Information Theory (Masters Thesis), and a degree in Horticulture (final project: landscape maintenance handbook for homeowners).

In 2004 I decided I wanted to learn how to write fiction. I always wrote fiction, but badly. I decided to learn to Write Good. Long story short, in 2007, three of my books were published and here I am today, 25 books later.

One part of the Writing Life I never imagined was the promotional aspects. I guess I figured I'd have books published, people would discover them and everybody would be happy. I didn't count on the constant need to sell myself and my books. When you're with a small publisher, you don't have large distribution (i.e., in every bookstore in the country), so you need to lead people to your books rather than let your books be found.

I've tried various promotional activities over the year. This year is the Year of Good Reads. I'm a member there but haven't done much with it. This year I'm dabbling in giveaway (details below) as well as a few other activities. Will it affect my sales? No idea. It's hard to track what helps sales because royalty reports trickle in so slowly. But if I see a bump in sales next year, I think I can safely assume it's because of GR.

My first giveaway is up now. Check it out right here. I timed it to coincide with spring because, hey, this is the first book in my Deadly Landscaping trilogy, and in spring a person's thoughts turn to gardening (and, in my case, murder). Feel free to share the link, share the info, share it all -- the more the merrier. Good Reads will choose the winners and I'll send 'em a book.

I'll report back later if I see a bump in sales -- stay tuned!



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How Romance Has Been Influenced by Gothic Fairytales by Marina Myles


Please welcome Marina Myles, our guest blogger, to The Roses of Prose!

Sleeping Beauty. Beauty and the Wolf. Hansel and Gretel.  These classic fairy tales evoke visions of dark, gothic castles or of creepy shadowed forests. They also bring to mind the fight between good and evil as well as visions of wicked witches and frightening beasts.
Like many of us, I loved fairy tales as a child. I had my mother read them to me over and over again. That’s why their timelessness is ingrained in my brain—having secured a special place in my childhood memory bank.
But what makes them still appeal to modern readers?
There is plenty of evidence that they do. Consider all the current television shows and motion pictures based on fairy tales. From Grimm to Once Upon A Time to Snow White and the Huntsman to Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie, there is still a strong market for retellings.
To answer the question, I believe fairy tales appeal to modern readers thanks to the idea that love conquers all. Look around us. There is so much stress and tragedy in the world. We all need a little hope and romantic salvation…a little escapism, as it were. The other day, I turned on the news and watched a horrific story about the violent murder of a college girl. Following the story was an account of a restaurant customer offering to pay his waitress’s college tuition after hearing about her monumental student loans. He was her fairy godfather!! I was so relieved that a positive story followed the tragic one. It actually changed my attitude for the morning.
What could be more positive than a fairy tale? We are able to get lost in the magic of them, cheer for the hero, sympathize with the heroine, and shout with joy when the prince and the princess end up with one another. We know there will be a happily-ever-after, but isn’t that why we read them?   
I hope readers enjoy all of the stories in my Cursed Princes series. They contain a little mystery, suspense, and action, but you are guaranteed to get your positive ending!
Thanks for having me!


 Marina Myles’s love of books began as soon as she read her first fairy tale. During her college days in Dallas, she received degrees in English Literature and Communications—and enjoyed the unique experience of being a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. Now that she lives under the sunny skies of Arizona, she hasn’t left her glamorous life behind completely. After all, she gets to divide her time between her loving family, her loyal Maltese, and worlds filled with fiery—but not easily attained—love affairs. 
Visit her at www.marinamyles.com
Represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency

Works published by Kensington:    The Cursed Princes Series
BEAUTY AND THE WOLF
SNOW WHITE AND THE VAMPIRE
A WARLOCK’S DANCE (novella)
SLEEPING BEAUTY AND THE DEMON
CHRISTMAS AT THORNCLIFF TOWERS (novella)
CINDERELLA AND THE GHOST

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

NEVER TO OLD TO FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS by Brenda Whiteside

Is it easier to follow your dreams earlier in life rather than later? I honestly have voiced such an opinion. I've often thought if I had started seriously pursuing a writing career back in my twenties, I'd find success so much easier. There's no denying the truth I'd have more years to hone my craft, to take chances, try different paths.

I'm in the middle of writing a series. I can't get the words down fast enough. Book three is nearly done but I've got two more books percolating in my head and I'm not getting any younger. I spend hours alone, pounding the keys, listening to the characters in my head. There are days I wonder why I'm driven to make up stories. They become real to me. Yet those thoughts of I should've started this years and years ago plague me some times. I wonder if what I'm doing is worth it. I consider quitting and joining friends and family in activities I deprive myself of during long writing hours.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Then...a trip...a location that sparks an idea, a character whose story springs into my head. Another series idea forms and my drive to get it on paper and entertain is sharp and needy. What has time got to do with it? Nothing I decide. Dreams know no age.

I hope you follow your dreams all of your life!

Note: Roses and Readers, I'm away from my computer today having a test done (preventative medicine) that we should all have done every ten years beginning at around fifty or sooner if you have any problems. It's the dreaded colonoscopy. I know enough people that should've had it done and didn't with bad consequences, so I'm not going to wimp out over a day of discomfort. I'll check in eventually.



Visit Brenda at www.brendawhiteside.com.
She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at http://rosesofprose.blogspot.com
She blogs about prairie life and writing at http://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/