About Once Upon a Word: We're a large group of multi-talented authors working together, to bring you the best romances. Please, stop by our websites and check out what we've been up to: Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery and Victory Tales Press.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

TIS THE SEASON @Linda Swift



No, I am not talking about the Holiday Season. (Bet you thought for a minute there I  was getting ahead of myself, didn't you?) But I could be justified in doing so since that season has been confronting us in stores and the media since the 4th of July. To clarify, the subject of this post is the fall season.

Every year, I welcome signs of spring, and enjoy summer's abundance, but I bask in the fulfillment of autumn most of all. There is something about nature's burst of glorious colors just before earth's winter sleep that is both exhilarating and sad.  And it inspires me to attempt to put that feeling into words. Autumn is the season when my thoughts are most likely to spill over into poems and I want to share a few of these with you. I write varied forms of poetry but am usually described as a lyric poet and the poems here are of that classification,  although I have included haiku for those who prefer prose. 
I invite you to take a few moments from your busy day to have a cup of apple cider and a slice of gingerbread while you read the poems below. (Please don't get crumbs on your computer) I hope the words will paint autumn scenes in your heart to remember long after the last leaf has fallen. 

SURVIVORS

Once vibrant autumn colors,
subdued but clinging still,
reflect past season's beauty
defying winter's chill.
Though fragile now and faded,
they flaunt survival's will
made rare by lack of number,
undaunted, clinging still.
~ ~ ~
HAIKU
Fingers of wind weave
A bright autumn tapestry
As leaves drift toward ground
~ ~ ~
I MISS YOU MOST IN AUTUMN

I miss you most in autumn
when maple leaves are gold
 and early twilight subtly hints
 of winter's biting cold.

I long for you in autumn
 when shadows fill the sky
 as wavering wings of wild geese
 echo their lonely cry.

I wish for you in autumn
 to walk where frost has browned
 the slender ripened stalks of grain
 now dying on the ground.

I grieve for you in autumn
 when gentle  rain-kissed wind
 plays hide-and-seek with harvest moon
 that marks the summer's end.

I miss you most in autumn,
 but then I should have known
 there would be many autumns
 and I would be alone.
~ ~ ~
HAIKU
Incandescent lamps
 Illumine autumn's twilight
 Maple trees gleam gold

~ ~ ~
CHICKAMAUGA…RIVER OF DEATH

The towering oaks stand silent by the road
 that winds below the sturdy limbs they spread
 to intertwine and shelter this abode.
 Brief golden canopies now laud these dead
 who lie beneath a century of dust,
 all splendor spent. And now the battle's sound
 is choked, muffled in cannons cloaked in rust,
 still guarding those who fought to hold this ground.
 The rows of stones that mark each place in time
seem endless even as the leaves. Gray hue
of monuments wreathed in September's rime
now consecrate this hallowed ground anew.
Brave men of North and South now peaceful lie.
And yet, a silent question haunts us.  Why?
~ ~ ~
HAIKU
Honking in transit
 Impatient heavy traffic
 On skyway express
~ ~ ~
SEPTEMBER SILENCE

No sound, only silence
 as September days fly
 on wild geese wings
 that shadow sapphire sky;
 as winsome wind flings
 the flaming leaves high;
 as gilded golden sun
 reflects a lovely lie;
 but I know summer's done
 and all things die.
  ~ ~ ~
HAIKU
Bright colors bleeding
Orange, gold, red from rain-washed limbs
September's last stand
~ ~ ~


All of these poems except the first are from A Potpourri of Poems, available from Amazon and other distributors in print and ebook. It contains almost one hundred poems and thirty-three full color pictures. Or if you prefer to hear the poems read by the lovely voice of Becky Doughty you can also purchase an audible edition.
http://www.audible.com/pd/Drama-Poetry/A-Potpourri-of-Poems-Audiobook/B01DFJJBAC



Monday, September 26, 2016

SHOULD BOOKS HAVE A DEFINITE THEME? @celiayeary @rebecccajvickery


What makes a good book?
There are myriad reasons, but the over-riding one is trouble, spelled with a Capital T. Your characters must be in some kind of Trouble, a conflict that leads to...more problems and trouble.
These make us care enough about a story to keep turning the pages. The conflict always has something to do with one or more of the following Dramatic Themes:


Betrayal
Acceptance
Crusader
Healing (wounded hero or heroine)
Protector
Redemption (righting past wrongs)
Rescue
Second Chance
Transformation (change)
Obsession

There are many themes—these are only a few of the major ones to set up Conflict.
We don't want to be hit over the head with Theme. A good author will write so that it emerges from the story. We don't need to be told.

Most book club discussions revolve around the discussions of Theme. This might be a good way for an author to self-review his/her book. "What is the underlying theme?"
One of my book club’s selections was To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel we chose to fulfill our commitment to read one classic per year.
The members gave numerous ideas of theme for this famous novel, but the one that stood out was Morality and Judgment. Another one mentioned was Good vs. Evil.  

As an author, do you (a) invent a story, which has a predetermined theme, or (b) do you create and write, and in doing so, a theme emerges?
Do you ever think about the Theme?

~*~TEXAS DREAMER is one of my "Texas" novels. In this story, Lee King realizes he has hurt his family by running away at age fourteen, and during his adult years, decides to re-connect and ask forgiveness. The theme: Redemption and Second Chance.

BLURB-Texas Dreamer
Lee King is a dreamer. When he realizes he was born under a lucky star, he went for the jackpot and won. But winning a big prize isn't the same as keeping it safe from interlopers and greedy fortune hunters--including women. When oilman Tex McDougal crosses his path, Lee believes he has found the perfect man to help him. His daughter, Emilie McDougal, while not a buxom beauty, impresses him with her intelligence, her courage, and her selflessness. Could he strike a financial bargain with her? One that would suit them both?

Emilie McDougal has no family except her father, and she has followed in his footsteps from age one. When Lee King enters their lives, she begins to dream--for the first time in her life. She only wants one thing from Lee, one tiny thing that would make her life complete.

Would he agree to her counter-bargain?
~~*~~
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/celiayeary 
99Cents for a full-length novel.
 
Celia Yeary
Romance, and a little bit of Texas





Saturday, September 24, 2016

Falling into Autumn

My husband's grandfather was fond of saying, "You can fall anytime, but in September comes Autumn."

It's all true. Autumn is a great time. I love stories set in the change of seasons. There are so many settings and ideas in which to create havoc. Autumn highlights bring to the forefront home and family. It is the perfect time to create small town stories set around harvest festivals, Halloween activities, Thanksgiving, all leading to holiday stories.

Small town stories bring back the warmth and nostalgia of life that never grows old. Stretch your fancy and imagine a single mother moving into a new community and doing what's best to help her child fit in to a new school. Can she find love with the mechanic that saves her car. Or perhaps, she butts heads with the new principal, a single man, at the school. She is elected to the PTA and finds herself pitted with the man in order to organize the local fall festival.

Thanksgiving could find an estranged family members returning to their roots only to be rocked at the core by a family tragedy. Can love between estranged spouses or an old love rekindled, mend broken hearts?

Holidays bring their own wave of magic to small towns. High school rivalries are stirred up as opposing teams compete over building the best holiday float. Even better, an old grump can be visited by friends of his past in order to change his heart for the better. Maybe you could go inspirational, a young minister tested as he tries to bring a message of hope to his congregation. His mentor, the old pastor, tries to steer him in the right direction.

Whatever your choice, let the fountain of stories come forth. Bring on the fun, bring on the love, and let your imagination take wing. Welcome Autumn and bring on your magic.

Until next time,

Nan  

About the Author

Home is where the heart lies. Nan O'Berry grew up listening to stories at her grandparents' feet. So it's not surprising that her love of a good story pushed her to begin writing her own tales for enjoyment. As these grew she shared her historical perspectives about the heroes of her imagination, cowboys, lumberjacks, and the country they founded.

Armed with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Degree from Old Dominion University, Mrs. O’Berry loves finding those interesting facts that might lead to a good story. So pull up a chair and grab that glass of sweet tea and enjoy.


Website

Saturday, September 10, 2016

How I Became A Pinterest Addict by Sarah J. McNeal


It all started innocently enough. I needed to do some research for a WIP and I remembered another author mentioning Pinterest and how it could help with research and inspire authors. So, I thought I’d give it a try. I decided to look up the cost of things in certain historical times.

You know how the cost of household necessities, houses, and services are important to people today. I realize the comfortable income I once had, doesn’t buy what it used to buy back in the 1970’s and 80’s. If I had to live off that kind of income now, I’d be living in a tent with nothing but rice and beans to eat. I knew the same concerns weighed on people throughout history.


If I was going to write about my characters worrying over costs of things like coffee, beans, a house, or milk, it might be a good idea to actually know what incomes were and costs of things. So far in my writing, I’ve only mentioned costs as “expensive” or “unaffordable.” I have avoided stating costs in my historical fiction. Why mention something about which I know nothing?
And then I found Pinterest.

In that delightful, sometimes overwhelming world of pictures and famous quotes, I found lists of costs for specific years in history. Well, let me tell you, that was such a relief. I got excited about them and chucked them into my Pinterest board titled “Writer’s Corner.”

But that’s not all I found on Pinterest. I also found photos of scenes, activities, people, as well as clothing from certain time periods that helped me formulate and tell my story with more accuracy. And, just so you know, helpful advice and quotes for writers.

I created a story board where I put interesting photos that may be used later to inspire or form a story. Pinterest is a visual research depot for authors.

When I’m outlining a story and preparing to write, I find pictures relevant to that story and put them on a board with my working title for that story. It’s so amazing to me how helpful it is to see those photos I’ve collected to depict a particular WIP. I’m totally inspired by them.

How 'bout some monsters from the deep?

Now I admit I can get lost in Pinterest. Sometimes I just need to get settled into some quiet time or get my mind off some persistent problem in my life. It is like therapy for anxiety and worry, especially for introverts like me. But therapy aside, I am convinced that Pinterest is a very positive asset for authors who are developing a story or need inspiration for a story. Of course, it’s possible I’m just trying to make Pinterest addicts out my author friends. It’s like crack to the imagination.

Another helpful thing about Pinterest is that an author’s boards can be shared with others. It can be used as a tool to promote an author’s work. An author can make a board for each book and include relevant, short excerpts or snippets under certain pictures that give an enticing introduction to their book or their work in progress. An author can create a board using their book covers to identify their bodies of work in a most charming and enticing way to increase interest.

If you haven’t already checked out Pinterest, here is a link for you to get started: https://www.pinterest.com/
I hope you will visit my Pinterest boards and see how I put together a visual collection of story elements. My Pinterest page is: https://www.pinterest.com/sarahmcneal9/

WARNING! Pinterest can be habit-forming.


Sarah J. McNeal is a multi-published author of several genres including time travel, paranormal, western and historical fiction. She is a retired ER and Critical Care nurse who lives in North Carolina with her four-legged children, Lily, the Golden Retriever and Liberty, the cat. Besides her devotion to writing, she also has a great love of music and plays several instruments including violin, bagpipes, guitar and harmonica. Her books and short stories may be found at Prairie Rose Publications and its imprints Painted Pony Books, and Fire Star Press. Some of her fantasy and paranormal books may also be found at Publishing by Rebecca Vickery and Victory Tales Press. She welcomes you to her website and social media: