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The Last Month of the Year by Linda O Johnston

December 6, 2021 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , , , ,

Yes, it’s December, the last month of the year. Where did the rest of the year go?

Have any of you started looking back? It’s early in December, yes, but it won’t be long before the new year starts.

What have you worked on this year? What have you accomplished? What haven’t you finished that you want to work on next year?

If you’re a writer, did you write what you set out to do? Did you come up with new ideas, and if so did you accomplish them, or at least start them?

If you’re a reader, did you read all the books you intended? Did you learn about new books or new authors you’d like to read, and if so have you read any of them?

In the rest of your life, did you have fun with family? Do you have more plans for the holiday season? Any ideas about next year?

Me? Well, I haven’t finished all I intended, but it’s been a good year for me. I had two new books published and have more to come in the next few years, some of which I’ve started writing and others I completed and am just waiting till their publication dates. I have a manuscript almost ready to send, and another one in which I’m part way through the first draft.

I had a good year in things besides writing. I saw family, had a fun Thanksgiving, made plans for some trips next year, and had fun with my husband and dog. We also lost one of our dogs, which is always so sad, but she was having health issues.

Next year? Well, I’ve started to consider it. How about you?


Some of Linda’s Books

BAD TO THE BONE

Buy now!
BAD TO THE BONE
COLTON 911: CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE
COLTON FIRST RESPONDER (The Coltons of Mustang Valley)

COVERT ALLIANCE

Buy now!
COVERT ALLIANCE

FOR A GOOD PAWS

Buy now!
FOR A GOOD PAWS

HER UNDERCOVER REFUGE

Buy now!
HER UNDERCOVER REFUGE

PICK AND CHEWS

Buy now!
PICK AND CHEWS

PROTECTOR WOLF

Buy now!
PROTECTOR WOLF

SECOND CHANCE SOLDIER

Buy now!
SECOND CHANCE SOLDIER

TO CATCH A TREAT

Buy now!
TO CATCH A TREAT

TRAINED TO PROTECT

Buy now!
TRAINED TO PROTECT

UNLUCKY CHARMS

Buy now!
UNLUCKY CHARMS

VISIONARY WOLF (Alpha Force)

Buy now!
VISIONARY WOLF (Alpha Force)
UNDERCOVERING COLTON’S FAMILY SECRETS

BEAR WITNESS

Buy now!
BEAR WITNESS
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Winged Victory by Dianna Sinovic

May 30, 2019 by in category Quill and Moss by Dianna Sinovic tagged as , , ,

 

This month, A Slice of Orange is proud to announce that Dianna Sinovic will be blogging regularly for us. Her column Quill and Moss is scheduled on the 30th of May, July, August, October, December, January and March.  Please take a minute to welcome her.


Winged Victory

Dianna Sinovic

 

Maple Seeds on the groundOne late afternoon after work this past week, I walked down the drive to decompress and unkink, and noticed the winged maple seeds scattered across the asphalt and sprinkled on the lawn.

Silver maple whirligigs, falling by the hundreds—thousands—each a seed that will get eaten (by the squirrels), squashed (by my car), or swept up and tossed in the trash (not the compost!). A few may find themselves on soil rich enough to sustain roots and decide to sprout.

I likened the whirling seeds to the many ideas writers sift through for their next writing project, whether a blog post or a short story or a chapter in a longer work. You might reject one after another idea—too silly, too serious, too [fill in the blank]—until you hit on the one that inspires you. Or that idea may need to lie dormant for a while, until the time is right to nurture it into a sapling.

Case in point: For several years, I sat on the first two paragraphs of a story idea. In my mind’s eye, I saw a middle-aged woman, an aging “hippie,” lighting a candle and trying to connect with the spirit of her dead husband. His name was Tommy. Her name was Weejah, pronounced like the Ouija board. That’s all I had for a long while. I would revisit it periodically, hoping the time was right, but I still stared at same two paragraphs.

Then, just like that whirligig, the seed of the idea finally began to sprout. On the next revisit, as I saw Weejah sitting in front of the candle, I knew then that she was asking Tommy about a new man in her life, one whom she was considering marrying. The conflict would be with her grown children, who were against the marriage. But then, like a seedling, the story stayed small and incomplete for a while longer.

At last I knew I was ready to write it as a paranormal story. It would be presented in scenes that were tied to a séance: Each time Weejah tried to reach Tommy, whether by herself, with her son and daughter, or with her fiancé, something would happen to make her believe he really was there—communicating across the Great Divide.

After several rewrites, it became Tommy, which made it into the Bethlehem Writers Group’s latest anthology, Untethered.

What seeds of ideas have you returned to again and again, waiting for them to finally put down roots?


 

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Movies

December 6, 2018 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , , , , ,

movies | Linda O. Johnston | A Slice of Orange

 

Movies

 

I’ve been going to a lot of movies lately. Why? Well, my husband and I now subscribe to one of those movie packages where you pay a monthly fee, and can then attend several movies a week for no additional charge. Although we’re allowed to see three, we’re mostly seeing two, and occasionally just one.

As a writer, I find that fun. I try to analyze each plot, note which ones I like and which ones I don’t. Most of them aren’t documentaries, so even if they’re supposed to be based on a true story they’re generally at least somewhat fiction.

Sometimes we just pick a show that sounds vaguely interesting, but we always hope to jump onto one that sounds a whole lot more—fun, exciting, inspirational, whatever.

And sometimes I get new ideas for my own writing from them. I’ve begun a proposal for a new mystery series which might not go anywhere, but, yes, I was inspired by movies!

I suppose that the fact I live in the Hollywood area also gives me ideas involving films, both novels and, occasionally screenplays—that I never write myself, although I’ve taken classes.
I’m wondering if the theater chains and companies that offer these multiple movies are actually making money. I hope they’re doing well enough to keep it up.

Do you go to movies? Do they inspire you to read or write?

And Happy Holidays to all of you! I’ll have a post here in early 2019. (Wow, that sounds as if it shouldn’t be happening so soon!) And when I do, I’m hoping to have some writing news to convey.

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Perk Up! Ideas Float Through the Air

November 3, 2018 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , ,

Perk Up | Janet Lynn and Will Zeilinger | A Slice of Orange

 

Perk Up!

Ideas Float Through the Air

Will Zeilinger

As authors, one of the most often asked questions Janet and I hear is, “Where do you get your ideas?”

There are a myriad of answers. Inspiration is everywhere. We never know what may spark an idea for a scene, a section of dialog, a short story, or an entire novel. One of the many methods we employ, but don’t often tell when on stage or at a book signing is, “We eavesdrop.”  Let me explain. The eavesdropping is not intentional. We may be out having dinner with friends and a conversation at a table next to us may be loud enough for us to hear.

Standing in the checkout line at a big box store or supermarket is another. Snippets of conversations may drift past us and cause us to think…”That would fit perfectly in my story.”  In this age of cell phones and in our daily travels, it is sometimes impossible to avoid overhearing private conversations. Some may think this rude, but if people are going to speak so loudly, it’s fair game.

Janet was at a buffet and overheard the parent say, “Son. If you’re going to take all that food you have to eat everything on your plate. If you don’t eat it all, you’ll have to sit and look at it.”

Even while on vacation, our “writer brains” won’t turn off. Several years ago we were on a trip to China.  We overheard one of our tour members ask another while at lunch, “Don’t you think these people would get tired of Chinese food all the time?” The comment was not meant to be insensitive, but it was funny. We love to hear stories from people we meet while traveling. and we’ve used many excerpts from things we’ve heard.

We have heard random bits of conversations people don’t think others can hear. Will was standing in the customer service line at a home improvement store when he overhead to guys complaining about the small size of his imported car’s trunk. The guy said something like, “You couldn’t even stuff a dead guy in there if you had to.” Will used part of that in his book THE FINAL CHECKPOINT. In this mystery a headless corpse was found in the trunk of an abandoned sports car. The head was dumped somewhere else because it wouldn’t fit.

Overhearing conversations is only one way of getting inspiration. People-watching at malls and airports are another way to get inspired. Everyone has something going on in their lives and as fiction writers, we can dream up plots from our imagination.  In the course of hearing things the often warm our hearts, sometime they break our hearts and other times they are so funny that we have to bite our lip to keep from laughing out loud. Janet and I often look at each other, shake our heads and think, “You can’t make this stuff up.”

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Loss for Words by @DeniseMColby

November 12, 2017 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , ,

loss for words | denise m. colby | a slice of orange

I’m at a loss for words. 

 

Me.  Someone who can talk incessantly. Who never seems to max out my words each day.

Why is it when I don’t have time to write, ideas and words flow in my mind? When I’m driving, in the shower, at a kids event.  It seems that I have no issue coming up with blog post ideas and story ideas to explore or messages to write.  I’m just not in a position to actually write them.

[tweetshare tweet=”Why is it when I don’t have time to write, ideas and words flow in my mind?” username=”A_SliceofOrange”]

But today?  Nothing.  I even left my house to work specifically on my NaNo work and write my blog post and guess what?  My brain is mush.  I want to curl up and take a nap.

Actually I think it’s because I’m exhausted.  My bandwidth is maxed.  And there’s good reason.

My husband and I are coaching my younger son’s robotics team.  We have our FIRST Lego League tournament this weekend and we’ve been pulling more than double shifts.

We have six 7th graders on our team.  Our robotics table is a large table with Lego missions all over it and our robot is made out of Lego’s.  We program it to accomplish as many missions as possible in 2 1/2 minutes.  Pretty cool.

But wait, there’s more.

Loss for Words | Denise M. Colby | A Slice of OrangeWe have a five minute project presentation as well.  Each year is a different theme and we have to find a real world problem within the theme and innovate a new solution.  This years theme is Hydro Dynamics.  Anything to do with human use of water.

As the kids did their initial research, they stumbled onto how much water is used to make shirts.  The information we found out is fascinating.  Textile mills all over the world use a process called Wet Processing to shape, color and finish clothing.  Not only do they use A LOT of water, the runoff is full of chemicals, so the water is not reused and pollutes the environment.

There are a number of solutions out there but there are over 15,000 mills in China alone.  So getting each and every one to change takes time and money.  And honestly their isn’t enough incentive to change.

Some brands such as Nike, Adidas, Levi and Patagonia are doing something about it and we reached out to several of them.  Eileen Fisher gave us the most detailed information.  We talked with their R&D chemist and learned more than we could ever put into our presentation.  But she gave us the idea we needed for our solution.

See most of us don’t know water is used to make shirts.  So awareness is key.  If you can change people’s buying habits, it just might be the catalyst for real change.  If we ask our favorite brands if they track and measure their water use, they in turn will ask their suppliers.

Loss for Words | Denise M. Colby | A Slice of Orange

So the kids created a website to build awareness and tell people what they can do to help.  We tie-dyed our own shirts and learned first-hand how much water is needed to rinse off the dye.  We made word searches and coloring pages, as well as a glossary page of all the terms they learned over the past ten weeks. They showed to it to their friends, teachers and families and asked them to take a survey.  Out of 38 respondents, 61% didn’t know that water was used to make shirts and 68% said they would change how they shop.  We took all this information and put it into a presentation. And the kids created a fun skit to go with it.

They decided to call themselves Fiber Friends (think justice league – Fiber Friends Unite).  Water waster owns a textile plant and wastes water.  Batman, Flash, Blue Lantern, Aquaman and Wonder Woman (we have one girl and 5 boys on the team), capture Water Waster and upgrade the plant to save water.  They do a great job and have lots of fun at the same time.

What I love about it is it’s just another form of storytelling and I’ve been able to help guide them in creating it.  They learn so much with this entire program – research, problem solving, presentation skills, working together as a team.

Loss for Words | Denise M. Colby | A Slice of Orange

I’ll have to update you on how we do, but in the meantime if you want to take a look at their website, here’s the link: https://ffunite.wixsite.com/fiberfriendsunite

Hugs & Blessings,

Denise

 


Denise Colby |The Writing Journey

Although new to the writing fiction world, Denise Colby has over 20+ years experience in marketing, creating different forms of content and copy for promotional materials. Taking the lessons learned from creating her own author brand Denise M. Colby, Denise enjoys sharing her combined knowledge with other authors.

If you are interested in a marketing evaluation and would like help in developing a strategy for your author brand you can find out more here http://denisemcolby.com/marketing-for-authors/

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