Friday, August 28, 2015

Big Jim had a Dream.........Joyce Oroz

Today it's me, the computer and my old friend, Author Big Jim Williams. He says he had a dream he wants to share. I love the way he squishes humor into his writing. As a major radio personality, humor is part of what he does. If you don't mind a little cattle dust in your throat, but love a good story, read his newest book, "Cattle Drive."
Here is Big Jim in his own words:

 “Abraham Lincoln Likes my ‘Cattle Drive’ Book”

By Big Jim Williams

I spoke with Abraham Lincoln the other night,” I said.
“You did what?” asked my friend. Dan.
“I exchanged words with the Great Emancipator,” I repeated.
“But Abraham Lincoln’s been dead a hundred and fifty years.”
“I thought so, too, but that didn’t stop him from swapping words about politics, books, and how the Dodgers are doing?”
“The Dodgers? The baseball team?”
“Abe’s a big fan. Watches all the games”
My friend cleared his throat and smiled at me like a straightjacket salesman measuring a new client.
“The great Civil War president,” I continued, “came right into my dream.”
“Ah, now I understand,” said Dan. “So you admit you were dreaming.”
“Of course. But things were just as real as when John Wayne rode a horse into my bedroom last week when I was dancing with Marilyn Monroe. Pooped on the floor, too.”
“The horse, John Wayne, or--”
“The horse of course,” I interrupted. “A man can always use another scoop or two of fertilizer for his garden.”
“Jim, those are sure mighty strange dream you’re having,” said Dan. “But all you writers are weird or you wouldn’t be writers.”
“The real nice part about my dream,” I continued, “is that Honest Abe, the Old Rail Splitter, said he’s been reading my new western novel, Cattle Drive, and liked it. Said it was some of the most exciting words he’d read since writing the Emancipation Proclamation.”
“You’re kidding?”

“Nope, I wouldn’t lie about something that important. Abraham Lincoln sure made my day, or should I say night. Said he also loved my new series, Jake Silverhorn’s Revenge, and would be delighted to write a supportive blurb on the back of my Cattle Drive book if I wanted one.”
“An endorsement by Abraham Lincoln!” exclaimed Dan. “That’s unbelievable.”
“That should help sell a few copies,” said I.
“So, what did our sixteenth President write on the book jacket?”
“He wrote, ‘Cattle Drive by Big Jim Williams is a great book about the Old West. I couldn’t put it down. It’s a page turner full of cattle stampedes, double-dealing gamblers, wild women, friendships, broken promises, and more gunplay than a night out in Ford’s Theatre.’”
“Wow! President Abraham Lincoln actually wrote that?”
“Yep.”“But I still find your dreams hard to believe?” questioned Dan.
“Now,” I said, “all I need to do is get book endorsements from John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe.”

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Author Joyce Oroz: Joyce Riley is Right.........Joyce Oroz

Author Joyce Oroz: Joyce Riley is Right.........Joyce Oroz: I finished my book--that's a good feeling. I feel like starting another book--that's a bad thing. I finished a painting--that's ...

Joyce Riley is Right.........Joyce Oroz

I finished my book--that's a good feeling. I feel like starting another book--that's a bad thing. I finished a painting--that's a good feeling. I'd like to start another painting. But instead I will take some time off.
The following poem by Joyce Riley expresses my feelings very well.

A New Page

I turned the pages, scene by scene
and filled the spaces in between.

"Grocery shop", "Clean and mop"
"An appointment and a meeting"
"Garden day, Bills to pay"
"Time to change the sheeting"

Some days I raced, pursuing youth.
I even wrote down, "pray for truth"

On any day the world could view
long lists of things I had to do.

That calendar has now been cast
into a closet called, "the past"

A new one bids me, "Start again"
"Be sure to write down where and when"

I fear to think what life would be
without those pages guiding me.

Still, I wonder, "If I leave bare
"One day here and one day there

"Would it make much difference when
"A new year comes around again?"

I think it might just suit me well
to plan on nothing for a spell.

To wake and rise just when I like.
To throw on clothes and take a hike

Or tuck myself into a nook
and read an uninstructive book

To be, not aimless but loose and free.
I think I'll schedule that day for me.

by Joyce Riley

Monday, August 17, 2015

Author Joyce Oroz: Writing Joyce Oroz

Author Joyce Oroz: Writing Joyce Oroz: My advice to beginning writers Writing is something you can do between other things such as school or work. Chances are you won’t w...

Writing Joyce Oroz

My advice to beginning writers

Writing is something you can do between other things such as school or work. Chances are you won’t write the most popular, best selling novel right away. It could happen, but most likely you’ll have to study and write, work and write, think and write, keep writing and hope that you will be “published” some day.

I don’t mean to sound bleak, but there are millions of “writers” in this world struggling to get their work noticed and published. It doesn’t matter how fast you write, it matters that you are like the turtle—you don’t give up. Anything worthwhile is worth working your fingers to the bone and then some. But the truth is, writing isn’t “work” if you enjoy doing it.

Write what you know about, your experiences, thoughts, beliefs. If your character is going to the Congo, research the Congo thoroughly. Want to include a fox terrier, research it. Be able to describe its bark, attitude, quirks, even its odor. Convince your readers they are looking at the thing you describe. Make it believable, even if it’s a three-headed toad wearing miss-matched socks.

I have been writing a journal the last fifteen years. Writing one simple paragraph or a whole page about the days events helps me to honor my own life experiences, no matter how minor. Some of those experiences will end up in, or spark an idea for a new mystery story. Your life experiences are all your own. Draw from them in your writing. The habit of writing for five or ten minutes in a journal every evening will help you to form a habit of writing which will carry over to a lifetime of serious writing. Just think, if you wrote one page a day—every day, you would have a 365-page book in one year. Set realistic goals and follow through.
Solow, a main character

If you are serious about becoming an author, I recommend taking creative writing classes. I took a few in my twenties and again in my sixties. You will probably be encouraged by your teacher to write an outline or a time-line of your story before you begin the first chapter. Most writers are able to do this, but not everyone. Of course it’s helpful to know your plot from the beginning, but it’s not always possible. 

I wish I could come up with an outline, but the plot doesn’t appear for me until I am halfway through the book. Instead of giving up, I learned to create my own methods of writing. I write mystery stories in an unconventional way. When I am ready to start a new book, I think up a quirky or unusual murder which usually happens in the first chapter. I spend months and chapters trying to figure out who the murderer is and why he did it. I typically create several suspicious characters. Sometimes I don’t decide who the murderer is until the last few chapters. Writing my stories in first person helps me to think like the protagonist. Clueless, to be exact.

Example:  In the first sentence of the first chapter of my fifth book, my protagonist’s neighbors’ house blows up in the middle of the night. As I work on page 92, the plot starts to reveal itself to me. I think I know who murdered the neighbor and why. Of course I can always change my mind. My characters tend to lead me where they want to go. And that’s the fun of it! If it’s fun for you, it will most likely be fun for your readers.

A few simple rules for writing an interesting book are:

1. Set realistic writing goals and follow through.

2. Start the action early so the reader is quickly drawn into the story.

3. Everything you write should push the story forward.

4. Showing what happens is better than telling what happens.

5. Create a good mix of dialogue and narrative.

6. Create characters readers will “love to love” and “love to hate.”

7. Take Creative Writing classes—daytime, evening—whenever you can.

8. Learn to write a perfect query and synopsis.

9. Write about what you know and write, write, write! But do not repeat.

Happy writing!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Author Joyce Oroz: Double Joyce Oroz

Author Joyce Oroz: Double Joyce Oroz: I’m kind of a “book” type of person, now. I didn’t have time to read much until I hit the half century mark, but I’m making up for lost ...

Double Joyce Oroz

I’m kind of a “book” type of person, now. I didn’t have time to read much until I hit the half century mark, but I’m making up for lost time. Reading and writing are big things in my life. I would hope that most people would discover the joy of reading earlier in life than I did, like maybe in childhood. Libraries are a big part of that idea. The longer they are open the more they are used. The more they are used the brighter our next generation becomes. And it’s a safe, quiet place to spend quality time.

Why am I talking about libraries? Because the AHA art team is painting another mural at the Aromas Library. It is a picture of Monterey County’s first librarian, Ann Hadden and her two donkeys loaded with packs full of books.

Monterey County Free Libraries was established by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors on August 6, 1912 under the authority of the County Library Law of 1911. Services to the public began in 1913 following the hire of Miss Anne Hadden on September 2, 1913 as the first County Librarian of Monterey County.

Within six months, Anne Hadden opened five library branches, the first in Greenfield. Some early branch collections and reading rooms were in private residences, schools, stores, and in Big Sur at the Post Office.

The library system functions under the legislative direction of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors and the administrative direction of the County Administrative Officer. A County Librarian appointed by the County Administrative Officer heads the system. Monterey County Free Libraries functions legally as a less-than-countywide, dependant special district. The less-than-countywide designation comes from the fact that the service area does not include the city limits of the cities of Carmel, Monterey, Pacific Grove and Salinas; all of which operate their own municipal libraries.
Funding for the Monterey County Free Libraries comes primarily from a share of the property tax collected within its service area. This share is about one cent per dollar collected (as of 1996). Small amounts of additional funding come from the County General Fund, the State of California, from donations and from library fees and fines.     Thank you MCFL for this information.