What’s Your Story Question? My Top 5 (#Preptober #NaNoWriMo)

We must write or paint or make music that pleases us, and,  we are fortunate, what we love will be loved by others, too – Writing the Novella by Sharon Oard Warner

Thinking “She’s Not That Good” may make for a better novella than novel, I’ve been reading “Writing the Novella” by Sharon Oard Warner. The current chapter I’m reading is “What’s the Story Question?” This, of course, has led me back to my previously published novels/novellas and those story questions. For example, here are my top 5:

1. Real Women Wear Red – Is pink a woman’s favorite color from childhood to grave?

It was the chick lit heyday and pink was hot – not only were covers in pinks but one Bachelorette had a completely pink wedding. And while I have worn pink many times, I never forgot those candy apple red shoes I just had to have when I was about 8-years-old. So, naturally, just to be different, I had to write Real Women Wear Red.

This was my third novel but the first to get an agent and publishing contract.

Btw, one woman told me, “Real women wear whatever color they want to wear.” Of course, but for my book, I chose to highlight red, considered to be a power color.

2. Real Women Sing the Blues – What if you left your corporate job to pursue your dream?

The sequel to Real Women Wear Red where I explore the idea of leaving behind the corporate life to pursue your dream, something we probably all think about. Personally, I started with writing and moved into music.

3. Letters on Balboa Island – What if a woman regrets leaving behind the one who got away? What if she could have made a different choice?

This book was a very personal story for me because it was a fictionalized version of my mother sending my father a “Dear John” letter and then marrying somebody else, who I grew up calling “dad.” I liked to think she’d had regrets.

4. Myths of the Fatherless – What if you meet your father for the first time that you can remember as an adult?

The story idea in #3 was so strongly-felt for me that I had to write a nonfiction version of my search for my father.

5. Déjà at the Blue Diamond… – What if a psychologically abused woman imagines her second husband is her first husband in disguise?

Okay, so this one is a little far-fetched. In fact, the opening scene came to me in a nightmare. I couldn’t let the story idea go so I had to write the book. Originally, it was called “Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon” but some thought the word “saloon” made it sound like a Western so I left off saloon, even though my ear liked the lyrical rhythm of it.

So what is the story question for “She’s Not that Good?” Is not knowing her true identity getting in the way of pursuing her real dreams of career and romance?

Do you often consider the story idea before writing your book or does it just unfold as you write?

Musings by Morning Light

(I first posted this on my Travel blog, and wanted to share it here, but the reblog feature isn’t working so I’m posting it here in its entirety. I’m thinking of doing a “Musings by Morning Llght” series here for Blogtober.)

Again, I am up before the first morning light as the red-hued hint of the rising sun intersects with the last vestiges of neon from a nearby casino. One of the many things I love about the desert, filling me with a lifetime of memories that harken back to childhood.

At times I miss meeting first light of New Smyrna Beach out on my Florida lanai overlooking green grass, trees, and pond. Other times I’m reminded of our first Florida living adventure in the Tampa Bay Area.

And maybe because it’s been almost 2 years since our return to Las Vegas or blame it on the pandemic, but I can almost miss passing through El Paso on our way moving between the West Coast and Florida.

I’ve enjoyed our moving adventures (but not always those necessary in-between stages), although they have also meant leaving pieces of our hearts in distant places where you can’t just hop in the car at a moment’s notice and experience them again.

But being close by doesn’t guarantee peace as Hardy Falls attests. As we go about our daily business, the emotion sometimes overwhelms me as, just for a moment, I relive feelings of home and family, Skipper, Lovey, and Buddy, and I long to turn back time.

Gratitude for today’s blessings pulls me out of the past and into the future, one step at a time.

“Keep It Movin'” (#50/90 Challenge for #MusicMonday Kickoff)

My plan was to wait for October to do a blocktober/vlogtober deal, but I couldn’t wait. So last week I posted a video/blog post for “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” for #Writer #WineWednesday and today I’m kicking off my first #MusicMonday with a video highlighting my 50/90 kickoff song, “Keep it Movin.”

I started off 50/90 with that song because the song prompt was about introducing yourself and I think “Keep it Movin” is a great introduction to me because (a) I love a dance club beat and (b) We need to keep moving forward no matter what life throws at you.

Of course it’s accompanied by some biker video from Mount Charleston (one hour from the #LasVegas Strip) and I couldn’t help but mention my two novels that feature a Las Vegas setting, “French Martini” and “Lucky’s Last Chance.”

It’s a lot to take in, but I’m hoping you will find something there that you like.

Have a good Monday!
Keep it Movin’

 

My 75K YouTube Experiment: Lucky’s Last Chance Collab with Screamie Birds

Ever since CruiseTipsTV mentioned they were doing “Vlogtoberfest” again this October, I started thinking about whether I should do it, too, to promote my music. I have never done a “vlogtoberfest” – only a “blogtoberfest.” But during this pandemic, my original travel channel started getting noticed and one video in particular – Oasis of the Seas now has over 75K views! That’s humongous for me!

The photo below shows the views, as of today, for video created in March (beginning of Pandemic):

So, I created a video featuring the rerelease of Lucky’s Last Chance (previously known as The Tom Jones Club) with “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” a Screamie Birds EDM song created during 50/90. And I uploaded it to my original travel channel now revamped as Screamie Birds, as well as my Kathy Holmes youtube channel, which had absolutely no videos whatsoever.

I’m curious to see how the song will perform – one on a more established site (albeit, pretty small) with varied content or a brand new site with targeted content. Or will it matter at all? (PS – It performed better on the already established channel so I deleted the “new” one.

Link to Lucky’s Last Chance/I Wanna Dance with Somebody Collab:

Screamie Birds

 

#Blogtoberfest Day 31: Happy Halloween

Halloween or All Hollows Eve or All Saints Eve is a remembrance of the dead and celebrated liturgically in some churches such as Roman Catholic, Byzantine Catholic and Eastern Orthodoxy.

Not to take away from any of that (the liturgies are beautiful), but speaking of the dead, I’m reminded of recent discussions I’ve read online where people seem to be competing over who has had the worst loss – the death of a mate, the loss of a pet, or divorce and I’ve said that it all depends on the person and the circumstances. But whatever it is, it’s not a competition. And so when I read this quote from On the Brink of Everything (see yesterday’s post), I had to share it:

“At my age, I know people who have lost the dearest person in their lives.”

That is the key – the “dearest” person in their lives. And for some people, that dearest “person” is a pet.

He goes on to say:

At first, they go into deep grief, certain their lives will never again be worth living. But then they slowly awaken to the fact that–not in spite of their loss but because of it–they’ve become bigger, more compassionate people, with more capacity of heart to take in other people’s sorrows and joys.

Loss is not a competition nor is it a narrowly-defined category. Loss is loss and all must be dealt with in compassion.

Happy Halloween, Happy November! See you in December.

Halloween on Mount Charleston

#Blogtoberfest Day 30: On the Brink of Everything

On the Brink of Everything by Parker J. Palmer caught my attention on my recent visit to Barnes & Noble. He may be on the brink of turning 80, but while I don’t agree with some of his thinking, he does share the things that are true for him about growing older, being mentored when he was younger, and becoming a mentor to younger people now. The point is that people of all ages have something to learn from or share with others.

I totally agree. When I was in my 20s through 40s, I often gravitated toward older women who taught me so much. I even wrote a song called “Wise Woman” about my friend from Montreal who I met in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Then somewhere along the way, I noticed younger women were gravitating toward me, looking at me as a mentor and I love fulfilling that role. Sometimes it’s people I’ve met online or at church or wherever. Sometimes it’s my readers.

They say that when you want to learn something new, you have to be willing to be a beginner. And that’s me with music. I have to be a beginner. And so I’ve met such interesting young people as we travel this road together, whether music or poetry.

November is just a couple of days away and I really do feel like I’m on the brink of everything, experimenting with a bit of unplugging and planning another cross country move. I invite you all to travel that road with me. And while I hope to take a blog hiatus during November, I’ll be back to share any experiences/insights worth sharing and I invite you to do the same.

No matter how young or old we are, we’re all on the brink of everything that’s going to come next.

#Blogtoberfest Day 28: Real Women Sing the Blues

I’ve almost made it through the month of October blogging daily, but I’m running out of steam. It’s a good thing I’m taking a hiatus in November.

Yesterday’s visit to the Guitar Center was so much fun! I ended up getting a songbook on playing the blues, which is making my piano practice a lot more fun!

The original version of the sequel to Real Women Wear Red was titled Real Women Sing the Blues. I was trying to keep a color theme for the trilogy plus the fact that the main character, Robin, quits her corporate job to chase after her dream of singing the blues.

The fun part about being an Indie author is that you can experiment and make changes to your books. And somewhere along the way, I thought Real Women Go Hawaiian was a better title since it highlighted the Hawaii setting (Real Women Wear Red is set in the Caribbean) – so if you buy the double set, that’s what you’ll get.

However, as I get more and more into playing the blues on the keyboard, I’m thinking Real Women Sing the Blues as a single is more fitting.