I Love Research and Nolan Ryan!

Today Writing Wranglers and Warriors
welcomes a new blogger,
novelist K.P. Gresham

 Posted by K.P. Gresham

Writing for me is both a compulsion and an exploration.  I know, I know, they say “write what you know,” but I’d add another clause on that. Write what you know and/or what you’d like to research.

The best book prompt that I know of is “What if?” For example, what if my heroine wants to become a professional baseball player?   (By the way, that is a cheap plug for my first novel, Three Days at Wrigley Field.) Even though I am an avid baseball fan, there’s no way I had enough baseball knowledge in my head to complete a novel on the subject.  More important than knowing that Nolan Ryan pitched seven no-hitters in his career (a record known by thousands of fans), I needed to know how he pitched those no-hitters. To that end, I purchased Nolan Ryan’s video on how he pitched. That information is integral to making the book work. (Side note: I’m nuts about Nolan Ryan. When I lived in Houston, I’d drive an hour to his hometown of Alvin just to get my hair cut. I kept hoping on the off-chance I would see this super-human walking down the street.)

Research for me is one of the most fun parts of creating a fictional piece.  For example, in my Pastor Matt Hayden Mystery Series, I do indeed write what I know. I grew up a PK–preacher’s kid (I prefer the term TO for theological offspring, but alas, that never caught on). I know a whole lot about what a preacher does, about how congregations work (or don’t work), about the ever-present pitfalls for even the most devoted. But I didn’t know anything about the Federal Witness Protection Program or how to own and run a sports bar. (I hope that’s a tease–what is my series all about??)

In the coming blogs, I’m going to talk about how and/or where I do my research.  A writer may write in a bubble, but IMO they certainly can’t research in a bubble. She has to join groups, go to conferences, hit the bars J, and talk to experts in the field. (Hence why I had to hit the bar.) She has to get the facts right, or she risks losing the trust of the reader. Why is this important? A “This is bogus!” reaction from the reader means they’re slamming the book shut never to pick it up again, and, worst of all, telling others not to read it.

Research is necessary, but fun! I hope you’ll enjoy my escapades into research that I’ll share with you in coming blogs.

***

Photo of Nolan Ryan:  This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Wahkeenah at EnglishWikipediaWahkeenah  grants anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

***

About K.P. Gresham

K.P. Gresham, author of the Pastor Matt Hayden Mystery series and Three Days at Wrigley Field, moved to Texas as quick as she could. Born Chicagoan, K.P. and her husband moved to Texas, fell in love with not shoveling snow and are 30+ year Lone Star State residents. She finds that her dual country citizenship, the Midwest and Texas, provide deep fodder for her award-winning novels. Her varied careers as a media librarian and technical director, middle school literature teacher and theatre playwright and director add humor and truth to her stories. A graduate of Houston’s Rice University Novels Writing Colloquium, K.P. now resides in Austin, Texas, where life with her tolerant but supportive husband and narcissistic Chichuhua is acceptably weird.

Who’s Afraid of Big Words? by Cher’ley

This blog by Cher’ley  Grogg

When trying to express oneself, it’s frankly quite absurd,
To leaf through lengthy lexicons to find the perfect word.
A little spontaneity keeps conversation keen,
You need to find a way to say, precisely what you mean…

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious!
If you say it loud enough, you’ll always sound precocious,

Ensemble:
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Um-diddle-diddle-um-diddleye
Um-diddle-diddle-um-diddleye

 

When writing you have to think about your readers. I used bigger words in “Stamp Out Murder” than I did in “The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk”.  I used a few challenging words that could be figured out by the context in which they were used in both books.

I’ve read some books that I have to keep a dictionary close by and it’s not that enjoyable for me and I’ve heard other people complain when a book has too many “big words”.

So what makes a word “big”? Of course, it depends on who’s doing the reading. Readability studies have been done and it’s been found that most readers, read at a 7.8-grade level.

Some words were invented or coined during the process of writing a novel. One of the words is:  

Serendipity. Horace Walpole author of the first Gothic novel coined the word “serendipity” in the 18th century. It means the “faculty of making happy and unexpected discoveries by accident.” He coined the word in a letter of 1754 when recounting the “silly fairy tale” (“fairy tale” is another term he is credited with inventing) of “The Three Princes of Serendip” (Serendip being a former name for Sri Lanka). We have written about Walpole previously, and in more detail, here.

To find more of these words check out this site: 20 Essential Words we got from Literature.

 

Today is NATIONAL DAY OF UNPLUGGING

The second Friday in March is National Day of Unplugging.  This holiday consists of a 24 hour period from sundown to sundown, to unplug, unwind, relax and do things other than using today’s technology, electronics, and social media.

Since you are here perhaps you should use:

National Get Over It Day - March 9

Just as it sounds. Use this day to “Get Over It”, whatever it is, and you can share this on your media sites.

Back to Words (Just for Fun)

The braggart got in a grueling brawl with the flagrant, capricious bigot concerning the statement of a deceased politician.  Using some vocabulary words from a page listing 7th grade words I made up the above sentence. Now you use this 7th grade vocabulary list to construct a sentence.

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. 

Stamp Out Murder”.
 The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren
The JourneyBack 3The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey Back
Boys Will Be Boys   The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology
 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 

All About the Girls 5(3)

    Image may contain: 2 people   please join me on my Facebook Fanpage that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell

Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE 

 Song source: Mary Poppins song   

 

Useless-Time Sucks-Aggravation by Cher’ley

 

This blog by Cher’ley Grogg

Seems,  every time I find something I really like, it gets discontinued. There have been several programs over the years that I used a lot and then they were no more. Remember the sheep?

Image result for computer monitor sheep?

I want you to know I spent a half hour trying to download a version of the Scmpoo Sheep. I was unsuccessful. Yesterday I was trying to find a Google Calendar that would work on my sidebar. I used to have Google Desktop, and I loved it, but of course, it was discontinued—I imagine it’s at the sheep farm where retired computer programs and games go. I spent a couple of hours trying to find a sidebar that would have a notepad and a calendar. I wanted them both to stay open when I was working on other things on the internet.

Then what happens, I end up downloading all these zip file openers, and download managers that I don’t need, so I have to waste more time taking them back off.

Why-O-Why can’t you just get what you ask for or get a no way answer? What would you rather get, a stumbling through of all kinds of programs that unrelated to what you are searching for or a plain old No-No Way Jack-Nope-Not Possible-Thanks, but no thanks? Technology Woes and Time Sucks.

And why would you ask about sheep and your search gives you wild and crazy zig-zags? How are they related?

Ancestry.com

Family Tree Maker, I bought the original, the Family Tree Maker II and then III, IV, and V. Now it’s  useless. I’m hoping I can get my family tree information which I saved on a CD (before DVDs), to transfer to my computer so that I might update it someway. I gave a couple of feeble attempts and didn’t get anywhere, so I know this is going to be a major time suck.

I did find a program that would allow me to upload my videos from my Camcorder after the original program discontinued. It took me a while, but at least I can still use the recorder. I figured out a workaround for my very expensive digital camera that is only a few years old because that program discontinued too.
Records, 8 track tapes, cassette tapes, micro cassette tapes, VHS tapes, CD’s, DVD’s, Flash Drives, External Hard Drives, Cloud Storage, and so it goes. I’m not sure if there is something newer, perhaps you know.

Normally I try to find solutions to the Woes, but in this case, I think the solution is, don’t try to bring the past back. What’s gone is gone. I even donated things from my garage yesterday, a perfectly good microwave, because I updated to a built in one, my TIVO, my Qualcomm communication system, a GPS, and some other old electronics. Maybe some Geek can revive these expensive electronics that have been discontinued or replaced by newer models.

How many old cell phones do you have lying around?Magellan Blazer12 GPS Receiver.                                              How about Wireless headsets? What programs did you love that are no more? Do you spend a lot of time trying to find comparable programs? 

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. Her newest book is an Advanced Coloring Book and she has one that is freshly published with 11 other authors.

Stamp Out Murder”.
 The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren
The JourneyBack 3The Journey Back-One Joy at a Time and the B&W Edition of The Journey Back
Boys Will Be Boys   The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology
 Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 

All About the Girls 5(3)

Four Moons and Fair Ladies Four Moons and Fair Maidens

Memories from Maple Street U.S.A: Pawprints on My Heartlink coming soon

Wonders of Water      Advanced Coloring Book

And please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell
Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE

Favorite Things by Erin Farwell

IMG_3021_1Tomorrow Willow and I leave to visit my some of my family who live in North Carolina. My mother and older sister’s family live in the same subdivision and my brother’s family is just a few miles away. Due to various life situations, I haven’t seen my siblings for a while and can’t wait to spend time with them, though I wish my younger sister could be there, too.

My sister, Michelle, emailed and invited us to participate in a game while we are there. The game is called “Favorite Things” and each participant selects something that is a favorite thing to them and brings two of these “things” to the party. The items should be inexpensive, costing no more than $5 each. The favorite thing can be a favorite treat, gadget, book, or product; anything you enjoy.

When the players gather, they put their names in a container two times. Each person takes a turn and shares what their favorite thing is and why they like it. When that eosperson is finished, two names are drawn and those two people receive that favorite thing. In the end, everyone gets to hear what everyone else loves and everyone goes home with two items.

This sounds like fun, so off course we’re in. Now comes the tricky part: What is a favorite thing that we can give to someone? Willow noted that her favorite things are her cat and her phone (in that order) and not possible to give as gifts. Finally she selected her favorite brand of lip balm (eos) in her favorite flavor which happens to come in a container which is also her favorite color.

Now it was my turn. Like Willow, my favorite things aren’t something I can share in this manner. Family, friends, my kindle, etc. are all things I love but not conducive to the game. I have lots of favorite books but I’ve already shared many of these and it didn’t feel quite right.

What has kept coming to mind is my Mom’s Night Out group. All of us have daughters the same age and in the same grade, and the group started as an extension of the girls’ summer book club. The MNO group and book club had been active for a few years before we were invited to join. Willow is not an avid reader so I was delighted when they let me stay in the MNO group even though my daughter doesn’t participate in book club.

three_female_friends_answer_2_xlargeOne of the reasons this group is dear to me is that I don’t make friends easily, acquaintances yes, friends not so much. I cherish the few true friends I have in my life but am generally uncomfortable in social gatherings, often feeling like I don’t belong. While I have twinges of this with my MNO group, I genuinely like and enjoy each woman and trust they feel the same about me. Although I don’t spend a lot of time with these amazing ladies outside of our monthly gatherings, the connection is still strong.

Another reason I love this group is that we share our lives, give each other guidance, support, or suggestions, but we rarely gossip. When we share personal information, it is our own. When we discuss what is going on at our daughters’ school, it is about how it impacts our daughters or ourselves. We gather as friends and treat ourselves, each other, and those in our community with respect. This group dynamic is rare and one I highly value.luxury-cabins

So how do I share this treasure with my family as part of the game? Obviously I can’t, not directly, but I think I’ve found a way to do it in spirit. A few months ago we had our second Mom’s Weekend Out, sharing a house in the north Georgia mountains for a weekend. Everyone arrived Friday night, bringing two appetizers to serve as our dinner. While I would normally bake something from scratch, my kitchen was still less than functional so I had to do something different. In the end I brought the ingredients to make a simple, but tasty brie bites from a recipe that I had recently found in a magazine. They turned out great and whenever I make them I remember that wonderful weekend with those amazing women.

So, my “favorite thing” I will bring to the game is the recipe and the ingredients for the appetizer, along with the story of my MNO group, for that is what I am really “sharing.”

What are the favorite things in your life?

Raspberry Brie Cups:

1 Box Filo Cups

8 oz Brie cheese – rind removed

Raspberry Jam (I prefer Smucker’s  Natural Fruit Spread)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the cups on a baking sheet. Cut the brie into equal pieces and place in the filo cups. Bake 5 to 10 minutes or until brie has melted. Remove from oven and add 1 teaspoon jam on top of the cheese. Serve warm.

Learn more about me at:

http://www.erinfarwell.com
Facebook
Amazon
Goodreads
Pinterest

 

Farwell-Shadowlands-Final Cover.inddAHE New Cover

 

Men Have Boxes

 This Blog  by Cher’ley Grogg

Men have boxes. I was watching this very funny video comparing the minds of men and women. I laughed so hard, yet there was a lot of truth in the little skit.

I’m glad my man is different than me. I sometimes fall apart, especially when I am in deep grief, and he’s there to hold and support me. He grieves too, but it’s done differently.

Most men are left-brain dominant and women are more evenly balanced between left and right-brain activities. Women are slightly more intuitive, and sometimes better at communicating. Often men are not as social as women and are more task-oriented. Men are sometimes better at math. There are some cross-overs where men are very social and some women excel in math, so this is more of an in general idea. The main point is that men and women are different.

As I was researching men and women and their brains these games came up to strengthen your brain, you get seven days free if you want to try it. Happy neuron brain games. 

In “Stamp Out Murder” James Freeman is not only handsome, he is supportive and great at research. He’s a collector and Carolyn could care less about antiques. She was raised in McKeel’s Bed and Breakfast, which is full of antiques and other kinds of memorabilia.

Now for the funny video about boxes . Please watch it. So true too. A Tale of Two Brains. 

Do you see differences between men and women? I can’t resist there is a wonderfully funny woman named Jeanne Robertson 

I hope you enjoyed both these videos. Sometimes we just need to laugh and that doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman. 

Stamp Out Murder”.

The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren.

Fans of Cher'ley Grogg,AuthorAnd please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell