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Write What You Know (#MFRWAuthor Blog Hop)

Published January 19, 2018 by francesothomas

pineisland

 

The topic for the  third week’s blog hop is how much of myself is in my writing. The old saw to write what you know is an old saw for a good reason. Really, what else could you write about?

Luckily for me, I had the opportunity to be the editor of my community’s weekly newspaper. As anyone who has worked on such a publication knows, being the editor means covering any and all local events, writing all the articles, and taking photos of everyone involved. Even a relatively short stint in that role has provided ample material for my Calusa Town Tales series.

You see, I live on an island off the coast of Florida. You might envision beaches and high rise condos, but you would be mistaken. My island has no beaches. What it does have are lots of people fiercely determined to preserve the ecology and the “Old Florida” atmosphere.

My fellow residents are a colorful, opinionated bunch. Some retired here after lives in corporate America. They now have the time to paint, make music, and, oh yeah, write books. Others have lived here for generations, fishing and growing tropical fruits. Still others are snowbirds who come here every year for several months.

Take it from me, they all know how to party. And they also are amazingly quick to pitch in to help anyone in need.

You’ll have to excuse me now, so I can go look for more story ideas.

 

 

 

 

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Not-So-Tiny Dancer (#MFRWAuthor Bog Hop)

Published January 12, 2018 by francesothomas

 

 

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This week’s blog hop topic is my earliest memory. While I’ve read that some people remember things that happened when they were age three or so, that isn’t the case with me. One of my early memories dates to about age 6 or 7.

I guess I must have received a phonograph (who remembers those, by the way?), and the first record I remember playing on it was Nutcracker Suite. Did I ask for that record? How did my mother somehow know to buy it for me? I have no idea. I came from a musical family, but their tastes ran to hymns and pop songs, not classical. What I do know is how I loved dancing around the living room of my grandmother’s house to Tchaikovsky’s music.

My mother, bless her, then tried to enroll me in dance classes with a couple other neighbor girls. But even at that age, self-consciousness had already set in. When I compared my friends’ skinny bodies to my plump one, I was too embarrassed to participate in something that would have given me such joy.

I was well into adulthood before I finally screwed up my courage and took a few dance classes. I eventually joined a senior dance team. At last, I got to wear sequins and fling a boa around. Oh, the self-consciousness hadn’t disappeared. I was still comparing my figure to those of the other women, most of whom had the body type usually associated with dancers. But this time around, I managed to power through it.

Confidence is a valuable commodity.

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How It Began (#MFRWauthor Blog Hop)

Published January 5, 2018 by francesothomas

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I’m embarking on a 52 week blogging challenge put forth by Marketing for Romance Writers.

The topic for Week One is my favorite piece of writing. I have to choose my first attempt as a favorite since it led to a lifetime of putting pen to paper followed by fingers to keyboard.

The first thing I ever remember writing, well actually co-authoring, was a play when I was in the fourth grade. We had been studying about the Spanish colonization of St. Augustine. My friend Lynda and I concocted a script about siblings, a boy and a girl, who voyaged across the ocean to settle in Florida.

Knowing my proclivity for the performing arts, I am convinced in hindsight that we wrote it so we could take the leading roles. With age-appropriate disdain for boys, we convinced only the girls to participate. Since I was taller than Lynda,  I got to play the brother. I know we cast the tallest girl in class as the sea captain. Other details have fled my memory.

The production must have had at least some merit, however, as we put it on not only for the scorned boys in our own class but also for another grade. Fifth, maybe. Upper classmen.

Who would have guessed that decades later I’d be living in Florida? I set my Calusa Town Tales series on a quasi-fictional island off the coast of Southwest Florida.

What is a blog hop?

A blog hop is a linky list that is SHARED ON MULTIPLE BLOGS.
When several blogs put the same linky list code on their blog, the
exact same list appears on each blog.

Blog visitors can submit their entries on any blog that contains the list.
The entries will appear on each blog where the list resides.

Blog readers see the same list on each blog, and can “HOP” from blog
to blog seeing the same list of links to follow: BLOG HOP!

Click here to see what other authors have to share.

How to Blog a Book review

Published August 5, 2015 by francesothomas

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For bloggers like me who also aspire to be book authors, Nina Amir’s //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=ss_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=mindmatt-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1599635402&asins=1599635402&linkId=GSUPDQP6YUR5I5XZ&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true“>How to Blog a Book is a valuable resource. Amir’s book is in its second edition and boasts two pages of testimonials from her peers.

The questionnaires at the end featuring other authors whose blogs became books are insightful. Some planned carefully, others not at all.

Amir advocates planning and a lot of it. She gives extensive instructions about how to construct a business plan for your book before you ever write a word in your blog. This plan contains 14 items to be covered although those who don’t intend to seek a traditional publisher can simplify the process down to Overview, Markets, Promotion, Competing Titles, Outline, List of Chapters, and Chapter Summaries.

Amir covers the mechanics of setting up a blog in a way non-techies can understand. She also covers such things as word count and whether or not to hold back content from the blog to be included in the book itself. There is information here on an author platform, self-publishing, and the all-important ways to earn money beyond the blog and the book.

For those who already have a blog with existing content, Amir reverses the process and talks about how to turn that content into a book.

If you need a mentor to guide you through what can be a complicated process, Amir is the one.