Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Focused on Story--Reading, Writing, Teaching, Listening by J.Q. Rose #BWLpublishing

Arranging a Dream: A Memoir by J.Q.Rose
Click here to find romantic suspense novels by J. Q. Rose from BWL Publishing

Reading, writing and listening to stories.

The title of my author blog is Focused on Story. I chose the title because I love stories!! Reading them. Writing them. Listening to them. Teaching how to write or record them. 

JQ presenting a life storytelling workshop

I broke into the writing business after we sold our flower shop and greenhouse operation in 1995. (uh-oh..that may be a spoiler if you're reading my memoir, Arranging a Dream!

Pumpkins growing in our garden. 

I had written stories and poems all my life. My dream was to write those stories and share them with readers, hoping to enrich their lives with my words. After selling the shop in 1995 and being an empty nester, I had the time to make this dream come true.

 I collected all of my courage to ask the regional newspaper editor, Rich Wheater if he would be interested in having some features on people and businesses in our local area. He asked me to submit an article, so I did. In October, I wrote about a local farm family who raised pumpkins and sold the plump beauties displayed in long lines in the front yard of their farmhouse. Rich accepted the story and many more that I penned about West Michigan. 

I learned a lot about reporting for a newspaper and about writing crisp, to-the-point articles. I did not like it when Rich had to shorten the story to make way for advertisements! That's when I learned all the essentials, such as location, people or business names, time and dates for events, had to be at the beginning of the article. I always appreciated his editing the articles to improve their readability. 

When we decided to make our fifth-wheel camper our home full-time in 1998, I wrote about the RV industry for magazines and newspapers as we meandered across the country. I also wrote for e-zines, now known as online magazines, as a garden editor. The internet became my go-to for research on my articles and for publication.

After a while, I tired of writing non-fiction stories and turned to penning fictional stories, a love of mine since I was in second grade. The result, so far, are three mystery novels and a memoir published by BWL Publishing, as well as self-published non-fiction books and lots of short stories. Making up stories reminds me of the joy of writing and sharing when I was 7 years old. Still a kid at heart.

I am a Life Storytelling Evangelist!

Several years ago, a member of our writers' critique group brought in her grandfather's journal he had written when he lived in London during the 1850s. I was enthralled with his account of life in that era. At that moment, I decided I wanted to record my life story for our kids and for their kids and so on.

5 Reasons to Tell Your Story
That grew from my desire to tell my story to presenting workshops on writing and life storytelling. The biggest hurdle to overcome for many new storytellers is the idea their life story is not worth telling. That is not true.

Our lives are filled with extraordinarily ordinary moments.  Our souls are illuminated by them.  Sharing them around the hearths of our hearts, we become tellers of sacred tales, artists of our lives.         --Dr. Susan Wittig Alberta, Writing from Life

Taking the advice I give to my workshop participants to sit down and write their stories, I combined my experience in non-fiction reporting and my storytelling skills in fiction, to write my memoir. 

Arranging a Dream: A Memoir, the award-winning best-seller, published by BWL Publishing, is a feel-good story about the first year my husband and I purchased and operated a floral shop and greenhouse business in 1975-76. We had no experience in the floral business (or any business for that matter), no friends or family in the town. We gave up our two check income with no guarantee of success, and I had no idea how to design a flower arrangement!!

Reviewers described the memoir as "inspiring, fascinating, and heart-warming."  The book was truly my "heart-work."

Listening to Stories

 Do you remember listening to your teacher read a story to your class? Mrs. Beyer, my 8th grade, yes 8th-grade teacher, always read a story after lunch. Even at 13-14 years old, our class loved listening to her. I had to read the heart-wrenching ending to Charlotte's Web because Mrs. Beyer was so emotional, she couldn't continue. Have you read Charlotte's Web? You'll understand.

When I taught third grade, I made a point to read to my kids after lunch every day. Every year, I read Charlotte's Web, and we all shared a teary moment. 

Audiobooks take the place of my beloved teacher reading the story. Instead, I can listen to amazing stories anytime I wish. I have discovered Libby, an app connected to your local library so you can download audiobooks on your device. I always wonder if I can say I "read" a book when I have actually listened to the audiobook. It makes no difference how I discover a story, just as long as I can read or listen to it.


Click here to connect online with JQ Rose through her author blog, Focused on Story.


Celebrate Earth Day on April 22, 2022

Earth Day April 22, 2022
Quote by Rachel Carson


  1. Thanks for sharing, JQ. I often thought of writing my memoirs, but I haven't yet found the focus. It seems my life went in so many directions, before I settled down and decided to write fiction. I love the title of your book, as it relates to owning and running a flower shop. My book ASHES FOR THE ELEPHANT GOD is the closest I came to writing a memoir, but it has many fictional elements. I admire your ability to write about your life.

  2. Thank you, Vijaya. The memoir is just a slice of my whole life experience--one year only--Dec 1975-Dec 1976. Love the title of your book!

  3. I think youhave great courage to write a book about a slice of your life. For me my memories are just bits and pieces that I trlate to my grandchildren of occasionally put in a blog post. Keep writing

  4. I love hearing how other writers first started but admit I have never felt tempted to write about my own life! Maybe some aspects of my life creep into my stories love of history, musical theatre, Ireland, and family history research, but I do admire you on embarking on a totally new venture in your life.


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