Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Hot Ink In July !! Mini Writing Conference in Gillette, Wyoming



Hot Ink In July!!

I am so excited to be back on the road after my long hiatus waiting for  hip surgery! Pain and discomfort forced  me to cancel many of my writing conferences last year in Perry, Georgia, Indio, Ca., Tucson, Az., and Woodland Hills, Ca.
I know many of you had planned to attend those workshops and I apologize.
Gory be! I am back on track with my new hip and  will be presenting my first  Mini Writing Conference of the year.






Mini Writing Conference
at the 
Family Motor Coach Association RV Rally 


in Gillette,Wyoming.
If you have been stewing over ideas of writing and blogging and need that extra push,  that jump start, now  is the perfect opportunity!   I will be offering the entire series of workshops in Gillette, Wyoming. I hope you all can make it!!
Click on the link below to register and discover all the events offered at the RV Rally.

And if you are unable to make Gillette, Wyoming this year, please contact me. I can travel to your community.  Be a hero and help me make arrangements at your local library or community center!
Below are the descriptions of my workshops.

SEMINARS I, II, AND III DESCRIPTIONS

HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT WRITING?
How do I start?
Learn the basics of how to write, publish and market your own story. Judy Howard will share the details of her journey and how she became one of Amazon’s top ranking authors.
Judy Howard will inspire you to finally start the memoir, blog, or novel that you’ve been thinking about for years! Handouts will outline the secrets to overcoming writers block, guide lines to publish your book for free, and marketing ideas to start earning money on the road.
Down load the Informative handouts at www.Judyhowardpublishing.com  which will help you develop your writing or for a material fee of $ 3.00 receive the handout at the seminar.
Also, you may bring two to three pages of your writing and receive Judy’s personal and expert, hands on editing and evaluation. Fee: $5.00


WHAT MAKES A GOOD STORY?
What makes a “page – turner”?
This is one of Judy Howard’s most well-attended seminars. Judy is one of Amazon’s top ranking authors, and will reveal basic tools as well as some of her writing secrets on how to create that memoir or Great American Novel into a book that you can’t put down.
Judy will cover the critical elements of Plot, Structure and Character Development.  Beginners will benefit as well as novice writers. 
 Download the Informative handouts at www.Judyhowardpublishing.com  which will help you develop your writing or for a material fee of $ 3.00 receive the handout at the seminar.
Also, you may bring two to three pages of your writing and receive Judy’s personal and expert, hands on editing and evaluation. Fee: $5.00



WHERE IS THE WRITING INSPIRATION?

Do you have a dream?
What’s Stopping you??
Fear? Doubt? No Inspiration???

Have you ever said, “I should write a book, but I have writer’s block? I give up!”

Judy Howard, top ranking Amazon author, will give you a treasure map of ideas to keep you in route to achieving that dream, writing that book, or following your life purpose.

Beginning and seasoned writers will benefit. And also, anyone with a passion to reach for what now seems impossible!
Down load informative handouts at www.Judyhowardpublishing.com  or for a material fee of $ 3.00, receive the handout at the seminar.
Also, you may bring two to three pages of your writing and receive Judy’s personal and expert, hands on editing and evaluation. Fee: $5.00.







Monday, June 4, 2018

Two Questions About Writing


Two questions about writing that I am asked most often.
1.  “How did you get started?” Since I was eleven years old, I earned my living as a dog groomer, so when I began my literary journey I had no writing experience.
a.    I joined a critique group and began writing every day.
  At first, my motivation was only that the adventure would be fun. But it wasn’t long before the act of creation became a pleasant surprise and grew into an addiction. In the writing world I am known as a “Pantser.”  I write by the seat of my pants –– no planning, no outlines, which suits me because I am an impulsive person. I just puke the words out onto paper.  
By surrounding myself with writers in a critique group and absorbing their wisdom, I began to grow as a writer. In the process,  we became family.
b.    I developed a thick skin. 
It’s easy just to write, but writing from the heart is very different … and very hard. In order to make my characters real and my stories believable, I ask questions.
Why did my character do what he did? What is he afraid of? How does he react to his surroundings? Who does he love? Who does he hate? What does he want? And always, always I ask why.
I can only write what I know, and thus, the process becomes a self-interrogation. The story is really about me.  The writing desk becomes a therapist’s couch. I write from the heart, I am part of my story and my story is a part of me, like the paper and the ink.
2.  How did you know you were any good?
I wasn’t very good in the beginning. But I didn’t know it. A good critique group and a thick skin carried me through my early years …and still does today! The writers in the group  pointed out my strengths and my weaknesses.  
a.   I gave up on being defensive. It was a rule in our group that when someone critiqued, you were not allowed to defend your work.  Listen, take what you like and leave the rest.  I learned that  when several voiced the same opinion, they just might be right and I just might have to give up my sentence or paragraph or chapter with which I had fallen in love.
b.  I gave up on being opinionated.  The number  of point of views in the world is infinite. Everyone views,  judges and reacts to a paragraph or a character based on their own experiences.  
c.  "Comparison is the thief of joy."  Theodore Roosevelt.
I no longer compete with the writer who has  the Master of Arts degree, or the writer who has been writing all his life and has produced a library of books.
I am unique. My message and my voice is like no one else’s. I believe the desire to write has been given to me and it was not by chance.  
I decided to believe in myself. After all, if I don’t who will?
d.   Be vulnerable.
Writing is one of the best ways to connect with other people and become influential. But a connection will only happen with vulnerability.

 By sharing my struggles and challenges in life, my readers  have  discovered that I, like my characters, have overcome great odds, sometimes sacrificing everything,  I hope  to inspire my readers to strive, achieve and realize their dreams against all odds,  just like my characters. 
I took up writing on a whim. Like falling in love, the whim became a passion, whichI hadn't realized  I had been missing   all my life.  I didn’t know I was lost until I found the art of writing. And like the perfect love affair, the writing experience changed me, making me to want to write better and better.


How did I get started?  I didn't balk at the fear. I jumped in and did something I had never done before.
How did I know I was any good? I didn’t know. But like any goal, it is only achieved by hard work, study and passion.



Coming Soon!!




 The Grieving Gift, my most recent book, portrays a young girl’s experience of becoming pregnant In the Bible belt of the Midwest during the early 60’s at the age of 16, when American values labeled you damaged goods and religion stamped you as a sinner. The character, Janice,  suffered the bullying  and shaming  attitude of society  and religion, yet  manages to withstand  as a single parent in  a world she doesn’t understand, because she had not been raised to know that her pregnancy was  a moral sin  and legally wrong. Perhaps she survived only because the internet did not exist. Her shame was limited to the public and religious community of the small town where she lived.




Oh, and don’t forget!! Readers’ reviews  keep writers motivated.

USEFUL LINKS 

Other books by Judy Howard: JUDY’S AMAZON  AUTHOR  PAGE


Sportster's Blog: The Cat's Perspective Of Reading, Writing And Life


Click on the link below to find out more about Judy's books.









Safe travels!
                   












           



Tuesday, May 22, 2018

CULTURAL SHAMING


Our Shaming Culture
 Could shaming and bullying be the reason why suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 15 and 24?  For Every suicide, there are 25 others who have thought about committing suicide.
I recall at time in the sixties when women’s liberation was at its peak.  A popular TV commercial for Enjoli Perfume was advertised as the 8 hour perfume for a 24 hour woman. The lyrics   began, “I am woman, and I can make the bacon, bring it home and fry it up in a pan, and never, never let you forget you’re s a man.” Like me, everyone soon believed women could do it all, and that those who didn’t work, were less than, taking on the label,”Just a homemaker.”
 Recently I came across a Ted Talk,   Monica Lewinsky - The Price of Shame .  As a woman I was touched by Monica’s 1998 story. Monica’s was the first story to ever hit the internet and mushroom into a global incident in less than a heartbeat. Her humiliating and now global   story became almost lethal for Monica. 

At the vulnerable age of 22, as a woman whose only mistake was she fell in love with the wrong man, was now a product of the internet and a new international market was born – Cultural Shaming.

Cultural shaming now touches every part of the universe, from a personal level of a bully in the school hall, all the way our top political leaders telling us how we should feel about any particular aspect of humanity.  
At a talk show in LA, Michelle Obama   spoke to a full audience of women, eagerly waiting to hear her message.  The former first lady proceeded to voice her concern for “Us,” as women.

She addressed the excited crowd who readily hung on every word of her artfully prepared monologue. Michelle had their full attention and   admiration as she informed them they were misguided and have no confidence or self-esteem because otherwise, they would have voted for Hillary Clinton for President.

  The audience applauded with fervor. Did they accept Michelle’s message that if only they had voted the Hilary ticket their lives would be better, and they would be confident, full of self-esteem and know the way? 

Suicide is a serious problem with our young people and focusing only on the bully in the school halls is not the answer. The problem is global and will be difficult to contain because it is a valuable and profitable market. 
What is the answer?  The answer is never, ever demeaning someone or some group.  

Empathy and Positivity is  always the cure. The problem  today is there is  no profit in these commodities.

My answer? Only associate with those who believe in you, those who will root for you even when you are drowning in the mire of your own mistakes.  Expect no less from those around you. Michelle Obama may have served as first lady, but brazen doubt and criticism is not the path to change. 

Be sure to check out Sportster's upcoming blog, The Cat's Perspective On Reading, Writing And Life . Sportster philosophizes on  the issue as only he can. 
Mark May 29th  on your calendar so you won't miss  his upcoming blog titled, Making mistakes makes us greater. 

Thank you for listening.


Coming Soon




 The Grieving Gift, my most recent book, portrays a young girl’s experience of becoming pregnant In the Bible belt of the Midwest during the early 60’s at the age of 16, when American values labeled you damaged goods and religion stamped you as a sinner. The character, Janice,  suffered the bullying  and shaming  attitude of society  and religion, yet  manages to withstand  as a single parent in  a world she doesn’t understand, because she had not been raised to know that her pregnancy was  a moral sin  and legally wrong. Perhaps she survived only because the internet did not exist. Her shame was limited to the public and religious community of the small town where she lived.



Oh, and don’t forget!! Readers’ reviews  keep writers motivated.

USEFUL LINKS 

Other books by Judy Howard: JUDY’S AMAZON  AUTHOR  PAGE


Sportster's Blog: The Cat's Perspective Of Reading, Writing And Life


Click on the link below to find out more about Judy's books.









Safe travels!
                   











Friday, May 4, 2018

Stand Back Up


Sometimes life kicks your butt. Right? 

Aaah, yes! Everyone’s been there before. Laid out on the floor. Sometimes you’re afraid and you just don’t feel that tough.
But you stand back up, right??!!

Six months ago I decided to have hip replacement surgery because I was nearly laid out on the floor, for real. In the beginning, I was going to beat Mr. Arthritis. You can believe during the last four years, I gave him a good fight. But the Old Codger kept upping his game and I finally caved. Sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war.
Six months, the waiting time for surgery, became like six months in cat time…. a long time. So what does one do when the world stops, drops you off and then proceeds to pass you by?
 
I went crazy.

What? Six months? No drive thru window for hip replacements?  Am I supposed to live like a gimp, unable to do anything for what already has been forever? My blood pressure spiked. Surgery was pushed even further into the future –– my now depressing, lousy far-away future. I am not happy.

My only choice –– Acceptance.

 Until I get a handle on the patience, which acceptance requires, a crowd begins to form inside my head. Already used to sharing my bed with Arthritis Guy at night, I calm him down by overdosing him with Ibuprofen.
But now Downer Depression Guy has entered the scene and invited his dad, Father Time.  They both remind me that I am now, officially old.  Soon this will be my future for real, they say. I  saw them laughing. And then Intimidator Thug   shoves his way into my overcrowded brain, warning me to be careful or else things will get worse. My mind begins to feel like a jail cell on Saturday night.
Life’s solutions are rarely easy to acquire. There’s no app. No “Easy Lives -R-Us” stores. Sure, there are pills and pot, but they are not quite the fix I was looking for. So what can I do?

I  Stand back up, kick ass, and break out.

I packed up the motorhome. With no choice but to travel with my four uninvited occupants, I drive to Arizona making stops in Yuma, then   Quartzite and on to Phoenix. The vastness of the dessert, the blue-sky weather and the open roads are like happy pills and pot rolled into one big fat joint. I’m as gone as gone can be, feeling free and wild.
Downer Depression Guy, his dad and  Terminator Thug, abandon their cause somewhere on Interstate 10 between Quartzite and Phoenix. They had heard stories about the unwanted who mysteriously disappear in the desert.  Arthritis Guy was stoned on Ibuprofen. He was not going to bail so easily.
After spending a  soul –warming  month  in the Arizona sun  with good friends and family, my spirits rose to new heights and my blood pressure dropped to reasonable levels. I  traveled back  to California to finish out my time in Hemet at  the plush, Golden Palms Village RV Resort  with old and new RV friends before I  turn myself in into the  Saw-Bone Surgery Center in Redlands. 
All of this time I never stopped writing. Writing is my salvation. I wrote from dawn to dusk.  Now looking back it seemed those endless days of writing while I waited,  became like living in the Magic Kingdom. It was as if Tinkerbell’s sparkling wand swept through the air and  the time served and ....poof!  My two year project, The Grieving Gift,  emerged.

Do your work –– not just your work and no more ––
 But   a little more for lavishing sake ––
 That little more, which is worth all the rest.
And if you suffer –– as you must ––
And if you doubt –– as you must ––
Do your work –– Put your heart into it and the sky will clear.
Then out of your very doubt and suffering, will be found ––
The Supreme Joy of Life.

Author unknown.




Meet my crazy, but capable Rehab team!!!
By the time you are reading this, the war will be done, Mr. Arthritis will have succumbed to the saw blade,  and I will be taking my first painless steps to a new freedom and happiness. 




THE GRIEVING GIFT


On a death watch, you get to know things about a person you wish you didn’t. It is like a roller coaster ride. And like most rides, it brings us back to the place we began, reminding us of who we were and who we have become.
 Janice’s older sister, Margaret, wanted to believe the LA doctors at Cedars Sinai Medical Center held a magical deck of cards. After eight years they dealt their final card. The Hospice card. No miracles for Margaret. But Janice reassures her big sister she will be there holding her hand until the end.
 Unable to deal with the reality of their mother’s death, Margaret’s sons root themselves deep into denial and blame. Dealing with her nephews’ harsh criticism causes Janice to   doubt   who she is, forcing her to re-examine bittersweet events of her past.
 The twists and turns, ups and downs of this emotional ride transports Janice back through the repercussions of her teen pregnancy and into the present estrangement from her daughter whom she has not heard from for the last sixteen years.  Is her dear Charlotte dead or alive?
Coming to terms with the grief of losing her sweet Maggie and dealing with the fear of a future living alone is too much to imagine.
When Maggie’s soul goes to rest in LA heaven, how will Janice face the emptiness? Will there be such a thing as a Grieving Gift?




Monday, October 30, 2017

LET ‘ER RIP! GIVE IT ALL YOU GOT!

LET ‘ER RIP! GIVE IT ALL YOU GOT!


Everyone has moments they remember from childhood. Maybe it was lying in a pile of fresh fallen leaves, or a snow drift creating angels. Perhaps the memorable moment is a place in the safety of darkness, on a rainy day, crouched in a tent made of sheets. But it was a certain place and time in which the spirit soared  high, free to touch the sun, without being told you might get burned.

A LETTER TO MYSELF

Dear Turnip,

Do you remember falling into a pile of fresh fallen leaves?   You didn’t worry about the bugs or the musky dust. You raked the pile high.  
Did you notice the crisp fall air, or listen to the leaves showering from the trees like the rain?  Probably not. You were eight years old. You lay spread eagle on your back, swishing your arms and legs to the crackle of your leaf angel that would never be as distinct

as the snow angel you would make a few months later.
You gazed up into the thundering, billowing clouds, too young to wonder about boys ,or  who your friends would be. You imagined wild horses thundering across the endless storm filled heavens. Your world was small, just Mom, Dad and Punkin, who was the boss of you because she was a year older.  Oh yes, and Andy, Dad’s black lab, who went everywhere with you. No wonder Mom and Dad never worried.
They could have told you to cherish those days. Every moment. 
Today I strive to recreate that free style you enjoyed, running and falling, and crawling into the fragile crisp leaf caves. I remember the gift of freedom you thrived upon. The only rule, “Be home by dark.”
If Mom and Dad had warned, “Be careful,” you would have asked, “Of what?” I’m glad they didn’t instill that fear and you didn’t have to ask. Instead, you grabbed that   freedom and incorporated it into the confidence which I enjoy today. I am grateful fear never held you back.
When I am weary from my mind’s battle with doubts of who I am, and what I will become, I remember you, Turnip, and your eight year old undaunted spirit.  You are my hero.  Because of you I grew strong and confident with courage to face the future and its challenges.  So let ‘er rip. Give me all you got, world. And I will stand back up.
Love,
Me


Oh, and don’t forget!! Readers’ reviews  keep writers motivated.

USEFUL LINKS

SPORTSTER'S BLOG


Click on the link below to find out more about Judy's books.









Safe travels!
                   









Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Ellen Behr interviews Judy Howard


Your biographical note on your Amazon home page includes this quote from Henry David Thoreau: "How vain is it to sit down and write, when you have not stood up to live?"

At what point did you realize you needed to write about what you'd lived?
My husband passed away in August of 2004 and 3 months later I made my first solo trip in   my motorhome from California to Florida. People referred to me as an inspiration, that I gave them courage to tackle things they had been afraid to try.
Six years ago when I wrote my first book,   COAST TO COAST WITH A CAT AND A GHOST, I felt my story needed to be told. An author, Louis Urea said, “Sometimes, God tells you what to write.”  I believe it is the same for me. I intended the memoir to be somewhat of a travel log. Instead, it evolved into a story about  not just  dealing with the loss of a loved one, but also of  facing spousal abuse and  finding courage to stand up for myself  and  through the process, becoming  stronger  and greater than I ever dreamed of becoming.

Your books are listed as novels, but the main character shares your name. How much of the character's experiences in your books ("Coast to Coast with a Cat and a Ghost" and "Going Home with a Cat and a Ghost") mirrors your own life?
Coast To Coast With A Cat And A Ghost is definitely is the closest to a memoir. It was my first book and was well received, surprising me. So, as a new author, flying by the seat of her authorial sweat pants I wondered if I could make something up.
 And wa-la!  Going Home With A Cat And A Ghost was born. My sister called me egotistical because I didn’t want to lose the character, Judy Howard. If she worked in the first book, why not keep her?   I hadn’t planned a series but they say that’s how to sell book. Why not?  So how much is truth and how much is fiction?  I’ll leave that as part of the intrigue for the reader to ponder.

Why did you choose to write fiction rather than autobiography? Your life sounds bigger than fiction!
 I find writing fiction to be fun, filled with my dreams.  I can fly high on my fantasies, and unlike reality, I   control the ending.  The dark moments in a world of fiction may be difficult to write but never as painful as revealing   the reality of a personal truth, which didn’t turn out as I had hoped.
You are right, Ellen, Ellen, my life is as big as the Montana sky and thrilling as lightning in a thunderstorm. Compared to a time in my life when suicide became a tempting option, the life I live today is more fulfilling and magical than I ever imagined.  But the those deep potholes from which  I dragged myself out , and the long  detours I took wandered through are easier for this author to address  with distance , in a novel. Sometimes I do take the easy way but my usual mode of operation   is the hard way.
John F. Kennedy said, “We choose to go to the moon, not because it is easy, but because it is hard.”


When did you start RVing? Do you still travel by RV?  I began Rving solo in 2004. In January 2017, at the young age of 71, I rented my house out and now live full-time in my twenty-four foot   Winnebago which I have named, “The Big Story.”  I tow a Smart Car, appropriately named, “The Short Story.” 

Do you write in your RV?  
I had a custom desk built in my RV. It is my favorite place to write. There is nothing more inspirational than pounding the keyboard while the rain beats on the roof, or when the ocean washes incessantly onto the beach, or the wind whispers ideas to me through the trees. On beautiful days, my cat,  Sportster, will not stop howling until I move  out side  with my computer, It is there he can absorb the sights and smells of his surroundings and plot his next novel …or his  autobiography?  By the way, his nose is bent out of shape because no one yet has asked for an interview. I told him when he gets a couple more books out he will be taken more seriously as an author.  He just twitched his tail, spit and then took a nap.  
Do you write in your RV?  
I had a custom desk built in my RV. It is my favorite place to write. There is nothing more inspirational than pounding the keyboard while the rain beats on the roof, or when the ocean washes incessantly onto the beach, or the wind whispers ideas to me through the trees. On beautiful days, my cat,  Sportster, will not stop howling until I move  out side  with my computer, It is there he can absorb the sights and smells of his surroundings and plot his next novel …or his  autobiography?  By the way, his nose is bent out of shape because no one yet has asked for an interview. I told him when he gets a couple more books out he will be taken more seriously as an author.  He just twitched his tail, spit and then took a nap. 




Many of you have asked, "What's it like writing on the road?" This is my office, highlights from left to right. 
1. The muse. And famous author Sportster @Sportsterandme.com.
2. If you enlarge the photo you will see a timer. I'm trying out a new productivity strategy. 
3. Gifts from a couple of my favorite people who keep me charged up with believing in myself on a professional level. The painted rock. Thank you Deb Sanders. And my latest nonfiction book to insure that someday I will be climbing up on the stage to do my very own Ted Talk. Thank you Lynne MorganSpreen. 
4. Oh!! Don't overlook the most impressive feature, my picture window that changes scenes with the twist of the ignition and a step on the accelerator!!! Welcome to my office!

What inspires you most when you're traveling?  
Nature, nature and more nature! And always the people and their stories.
Every person should   be required to serve a two year tour, living with the locals of several of the small towns in every fly-over state.
  Using one of your books as an example, could you walk us through how you got the idea through the final version of the book? What was the toughest part of the process for you? Why?  
By the time I finished my first book, Coast To Coast With A Cat And A Ghost, I was hooked on writing. I figured anyone can write their own story, but I wondered, could I make something up? So I tackled the familiar Hallmark romance story, reuniting with the old high school boyfriend.  I mixed it up with some tragedy and intrigue and wrote, Going Home With A Cat And A Ghost.

Sportster the cat (featured in earlier books) has for some time narrated a blog. What inspired you to give him center stage as main character in "Activate Lion Mode"?
After writing MASADA'S MARINE, which was about a dog named Masada who becomes a service dog for an Iraq veteran with PTSD, I was emotionally exhausted. It took me two years to write and I considered laying down my pen and shutting off my computer. But writing is like a drug, and I couldn’t give it up. So I decide I would write something fun, ACTIVATE LION MODE.

"Activate Lion Mode" is the first in a new series. When can readers expect the second book? Does it have a title yet? Yes they certainly can. Sportster promises Activate Love Mode will be out mid 2018. I too will have an autobiographical novel out in 2018.

Will RVs continue to play a role in your books?
Until they pry my cold dead hands from the steering wheel.

What motivated you to write the Masada series, featuring a service dog for a PTSD-afflicted veteran?   
I discovered a nonprofit organization which raised puppies and then sent them to local prisons to be trained as service dogs for veterans.  The prisoners win, the dog wins and the veterans wins. What a great story!



Your experience as a pet groomer clearly has influenced your writing. Do you have any advice for others who are thinking of incorporating aspects of their professional life into their fiction?
Write about what you know even if your career seems ordinary to you. Your individual perspective   and passion will give inspiration and passion to a story that no one else can.

What have I not asked that you'd like to mention?
An issue which writers are rarely asked is, “Writing is hard, lonely and full of doubt. How do you keep going?” 
Perhaps the public believes we have a gift, a talent which drives us and that it is easy for us.   It is not. To be successful, we all have to do the work. Everyday.
Every day I study the craft, and its many divisions –– writing, character building, plot and structure and so on –– updating my knowledge of the constant changing world of marketing and social media and publishing –– and most of the time I do this alone.
So how do I keep going?  I give it away. Through my writing and inspirational seminars, I try to help writers on their journe,y and like magic, they help me. I keep going on, giving away the knowledge and support that others have lavished on me.
Oh, and don’t let me forget!! Readers’ reviews  keep us writers motivated.
USEFUL LINKS



Thanks,   And safe travels!