Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #104: Summer at the Beach

This week Amy’s theme for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #104 is Summer.

“Summer is singing with joy, and the beaches are inviting you with dancing waves.” – Debasish Mridha

There are three beaches where we enjoy our summer in normal circumstances. All these beaches are about thirty-five minutes’ drive from our home. These beaches have different features for the beach goers. It’s a wonderful way to spend half a day on weekends.

 

 “Friends, sun, sand and sea. That sounds like a summer to me.” – Unknown

1.Huntington BeachIMG_3397 (2)

2,Huntington Beach IMG_3418 (2)

3.Huntington Beach 2014.9.6

The women’s group had an annual outing either at the Newport Beach or Huntington Beach. We could carpool or drive there by ourselves and get there around 10:00 a.m. Most of us would take a leisure stroll on the beach or walked to the end of the pier. The trip concluded with a lunch at a seafood restaurant. It was an enjoyable outing to watch the high tide coming in to splash the shore and watch the sunbathers and swimmers having a relaxing time in the sun. It was also wonderful taking time to catch up with friends without rushing home.

“At the beach, life is different. Time doesn’t move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides, and follow the sun.” – Sandy Gingras

4.Laguna Beach 2017.5.28 (2)

5.Laguna Beach 2016.7.3

8.Laguna Beach2.1

Laguna Beach is a small city. It is known for the scenic coves and an artist community. It has an art museum. The city holds an annual art festival. Its geography has rolling hills and vertical climbs for hiking. The shopping offers one-of-a-kind retail shops, bath salts and oil, jewelry, clothing, to art galleries. When there was a low tide, we often walked through the rocks between pots of water to look for tiny sea creatures.

 “The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.” – Robert Wyland 

7.1.Newport surfing 1

7.Newport Beach Whale watching 2015.11.23

8.Newport beach paddle boarding

Newport Beach offers many activities and rentals for paddle boarding, body boarding, kayaking, and surfing. For individual or family biking, there are adult’s and children’s bikes, electric bikes, and multi-passenger paddle surreys. There are trips for cruises, whale watching, Sports fishing, and charter boat fishing. We had taken the pleasure to enjoy many of these activities and trips in the summer.

 

Thank you for your visit. What is your favorite summer activity? 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #104: Summer at the Beach

 

 

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #103 – Surprise

This week, Ann-Christine invited us to show some moments of surprises.

There were several surprises for me when we were at Munich, Germany. The tour group went out for a beer in the evening at the Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München (Royal Brewery in Munich) owned by the Bavarian state government.

IMG_0905 (2)

We arrived before dark. Outside of the Hofbräuhaus (Beer Hall), there was a street pantomime artist. He changed the gestures and directions every few seconds, but after he made the change, he was as still and solid as a bronze statue. The woman was surprised when the “statue” moved.

IMG_0906a

IMG_0907a

IMG_0908a
The tour guide reserved several tables for our group. Before we ordered a beer, I walked around. There were small lockers where regular customers stored their beer steins. It was a novelty to me.

IMG_0912a
The Beer Hall was packed full. Servers were twirling fast in serving the beer. Each server could carry five or six 1-liter beer steins in each hand. Some of them even added one on top of the five or six in one hand before they grabbed another five or six in other hand. It fascinated me and I wanted to take photos of them carrying liters of beer, but they moved so fast that I couldn’t get any single clear photo. So, I borrowed one from Alamy here.

IMG_0922 Germany9.2-Beer hall, Munichx

waitress-dressed-in-dirndl-serving-liter-glasses-of-beer-in-oktoberfest-ANDP8C

At first, I thought the steins were plastic, but as we got our beer, I realized they were glass steins. How heavy were the steins before filling with the beer and how much the total weight of the glass beer steins plus liters of beer?

IMG_0926a Hofbrauhaus, Munich

It was amazing and surprising to me!

 

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #103 – Surprise

Book Review of Moments We Love by Balroop Singh

My book review of Moments We Love by Balroop Singh.

reading-logo

Moments

Moments We Love by [Balroop Singh]

My Review

Last year I read Sublime Shadows of Life by Balroop Singh and loved it. It delighted me to read Moments We Love by the same author. I enjoyed Singh’s poetry style. The poetry in this book depicted deep emotions, sensitive to human relationships, and appreciation of nature. It reflected the vivid imagination from the author’s personal experience and her observation of the surrounding circumstances.

The poetry collection is divided into three sections. Moments of Love in section one included poems of the passionate and magical feeling of young lovers, the lovers drifting apart, and turning against each other, and the return of love brought above by cuddling of the grandchildren. Moments of Harmony in section two included poems about nature and seasons. Moments that make Life in section three included poems about buried dreams, moment of tranquility, moment in waiting, moment of deceit, moment of waiting, and moment of new beginning.

Section three ended with the poems When I Go and The Last Smile as the author’s thoughts of the transience of life.

When I Go

Don’t grieve over me when I go

I would be around you

In your laughter, in your mirth

In your reveries, in your recluse

 I would live in your thoughts

My words would flutter merrily

To remind you

How transient is life!

My smiles would gleam

In the flowers of your garden

In the soft sounds of breeze

That would touch the trees

My memories would linger

Around you when you

Watch the clouds

And light that shimmers through

Look at the birds flying home

Let them calm you

With the thought –

Detachment is disconcerting

But true.

 

The Last Smile

This shady grove – my resting place

Lush green leaves – my lullabies

Fragrance of roses soothe me

Songs of nightingale regale me

But I can hear the sobbing too,

The moaning, the entreaties

Day after day he comes

To wake me up

To remind me of promises

Of eternal love

I yearn to break free

To rise and smile, one last time

To see the orange glow

Setting the clouds on fire

Many hues dance in between

As sun’s last smile of the day fades.

 

I highly recommend this book and other books by Balroop Singh to the poetry lovers.

Amazon and Goodreads Ratings

image1

Balroop Singh

About the Author

Balroop Singh, an educationalist, a poet and an author always had a passion for writing. She would jot down her reflections on a piece of paper and forget about them till each drawer of her home started overflowing with poetic reminders, popping out at will! The world of her imagination has a queer connection with realism. She could envision the images of her own poetry while teaching the poems. Her dreams saw the light of the day when she published her first poetry book: ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life.’ She has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling of leaves and the sound of waterfalls. She lives in San Ramon California. You can visit her blog at http://balroop2013.wordpress.com

Contact the Author

Website http://balroop2013.wordpress.com

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7340810.Balroop_Singh

Twitter https://twitter.com/BalroopShado

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/balroop.singh1

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #102: Quiet Moments

This week, Patti is challenging us to capture “A Quiet Moment.”  Maybe it’s a walk early in the morning or the time you sit down with a book and a cup of coffee.  Include shots captured at home or in your neighborhood, or from a trip to a faraway place months or years ago.

Yesterday was the first time we got together with Hubby’s siblings. They live in a quiet place with neighbors who are acres away. We practiced the social distancing, wearing masks, sitting several feet apart. Hubby and I brought our own food, water, and utensils for lunch. It was surreal that we finally see each other after a time that seems like an eternity. We didn’t have a large family party; we only had a precious quiet lunch with a few members.

1.IMG_20200621_140705

2.IMG_20200621_135813

A pair of mourning doves fixed up the old nest on June 5, the female dove came back to lay eggs on June 7. Today, June 22, the dove took a break from her incubation. I stole the chance to take a photo of the nest. One squab was hatched. It’s amazed of how tiny the eggs are. According to my observation during the previous years, the dove would nurture the squabs until they are mature. By the time the squabs are ready to fly, they are as big as the adult doves.

The squabs are quietly growing.

IMG_6146a

4.IMG_6318a

After I spotted a Monarch and a Swallowtail butterflies in my garden, I looked into cultivating a butterfly garden.

The Monarchs face many risks that are resulting in declining populations in both the eastern and western parts of their North American range. The largest effects come from the loss of habitat for breeding, migrating, and overwintering. In addition, pesticides that are used to control insects and weeds have harmful unintended consequences for monarchs, a changing climate may make some habitat less suitable and forcing changes in migratory patterns, and monarchs face many risks from natural enemies, such as predators, parasitoids, and diseases.

The loss of milkweed in agricultural fields is a major cause of decline in monarchs, though there are other factors contributing to the decline in milkweed availability.

If you’re interested, you can download a Milkweeds: A Conservation Practitioner’s Guide https://www.xerces.org/publications/guidelines/milkweeds-conservation-practitioners-guide

I wanted to create a butterfly garden from seeds. I ordered the California native Narrow leave and Showy milkweed seeds.

The seeds are in quiet germination.

IMG_20200622_153807

I wait with anticipation to see more butterflies in my garden.

6.IMG_6270

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #102: Quiet Moments

 

 

Welcome to Day 1 of the “SIR CHOCOLATE AND THE ICE CREAM RAINBOW FAIRIES” Blog Tour! @bakeandwrite @4WillsPub #RRBC.

Hi, my dear friends and visitors, I’m excited today to have Robbie Cheadle visiting my blog. Please help me give a warm welcome to Robbie and Michael for their cook, Sir Chocolate and the Ice cream Rainbow Fairies story and cookbook.”

This is Day 1 of the “SIR CHOCOLATE AND THE ICE CREAM RAINBOW FAIRIES” Blog Tour!

GIVEAWAY:  (7 winners) Each will win a copy of her Sir Chocolate Story and Cookbooks. For your chance to win, please leave a comment below!

1

Welcome to part 1 of the fondant cat parade

The fondant cat parade tells the story in limericks of Dinah the Kitten, daughter of Daddy Grey and Mommy Cat, who likes to sleep and escape to Wonderland in her dreams. While in Wonderland, Dinah meets a variety of brightly colored and fun fantasy kittens. The fondant cat parade illustrates some of the wonderful fondant art that appears in all the Sir Chocolate books.

Today, you will meet Daddy Grey.

234

Look out for part II of the fondant cat parade tomorrow when you will learn about the Fondant family dynamics. You can download the full illustrative PDF of the fondant cat parade here: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/dinah-in-wonderland-fondant-cat-parade/.

How to make Chelsea buns

Ingredients – dough

500 grams white cake flour

1 teaspoon salt

7 grams fast-action dried yeast

300 ml milk

40 grams softened butter

1 beaten egg

Ingredients – filling

25 grams melted salted butter

75 grams brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon mixed spice

150 grams dried mixed fruit

Ingredients – icing

150 ml water

150 ml icing sugar

Method

Melt the milk and butter in a saucepan, set aside to cool down to lukewarm. Sift together the salt and the cake flour in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the yeast. Pour the milk mixture and the beaten egg into the flour mixture and mix until they come together into a soft dough. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for at least five minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and no longer sticky.

5

Rub the bowl with a little vegetable oil and place the dough in the bowl. Turn it until it is completely covered with oil. Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside in a warm place for one hour until the dough has doubled in size.

6

Spray your baking tins with non-stick spray or grease with hard margarine. Melt the butter and mix the brown sugar and the spice in a small bowl.

Knock back the risen dough to its original size and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle of 50 mm thickness. Brush the rectangle with the melted butter and sprinkle with the sugar mix and then the dried fruit.

7

Roll the rectangle up into a long cylinder and cut into slices of about 5 cm thick. Place the slices on the baking tray, leaving a space between them. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for a further 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius or 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the buns for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

Sieve the icing sugar and mix with the water until it forms a thick paste. Drop a spoonful of the icing onto the cool buns and spread with a butter-knife.

8

BOOK BLURB:

Join Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet on a fun adventure to discover why the milkshake rain is pale and white.

Contains five recipes that children can make under adult supervision

2a.Robbie

AUTHOR BIO:

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with seven published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalized biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

  • Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre under Robbie Cheadle;
  • Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley under Robbie Cheadle;
  • Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre under Robbie Cheadle; and
  • Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth under Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Robbie Cheadle

Website: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite

Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Website: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: https://wordpress.com/view/robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19631306.Roberta_Eaton_Cheadle

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites/?modal=admin_todo_tour

AMAZON OR OTHER PURCHASE LINKS:

TSL Publications:

https://tslbooks.uk/product/sir-chocolate-and-the-ice-cream-rainbow-fairies/

Lulu.com:

https://www.lulu.com/shop/robbie-cheadle-and-michael-cheadle/sir-chocolate-and-the-ice-cream-rainbow-fairies-story-and-cookbook/ebook/product-24468045.html

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Chocolate-Cream-Rainbow-Fairies-Cookbook-ebook/dp/B086DYYNFQ

 

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site. If you’d like to schedule your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE. Thanks for supporting this author and her work!

banner

 

Sunday Stills: Home is the Happiest Place

The theme for Sunday Stills this week from Terri is: Home. 

As much as we enjoy traveling, I always looked forward to coming home before the trip was over. Perhaps the tours I booked were too vigorous, and I got tired by getting up early or sitting on the bus too much from city to city.

I’m comfortable at home. This morning I spotted a Swallowtail butterfly staying on one flower for twenty minutes. I thought she came to lay eggs. I checked after she was gone. No, she didn’t, but I found a tiny grasshopper only 1/3 inch long. 

IMG_6234

IMG_6292a

About a dozen mourning doves, many house finches, and sparrows perching on the telephone wires around 4:00 p.m. every day, waiting for me to feed them. A pair of mourning doves came to fix up the old nest on Friday, June 5, and the female dove came back last Sunday to lay eggs. Now she is patiently incubating her young.

IMG_6146a

My home is shared by a family of four hummingbirds.

IMG_5988

My home is the happiest place to me!

I’m even happier when I’m at my second home, my daughter’s home. Nothing gives me more joy than being with my granddaughters. So far, I only spent time with my two-and-a-half years old granddaughter, Autumn. I love playing with her and reading to her. I haven’t seen my second granddaughter Nora in person yet because of the coronavirus. I look forward to seeing Autumn and Nora when it’s safe to travel.

Copy of 333A9905a

Copy of 333A9715

My daughter’s home is the utmost happiest place to me!

I love to hear what make you happiest. It could be something, some place, some people, or something you do.

 

Sunday Stills: Home is the Happiest Place

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #101 – One Single Flower

Thank you, Cee, for hosting the Lens-Artists Challenge #101 this week.

The topic for this week is one single flower.  Cee’s favorite quotes is “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.  Buddha.  Flowers have changed her world. I must say flowers brighten my days and helped me to survive the toughest moments.

I take photos of flowers in my garden year-round to see the changes throughout the seasons. I also like to use the natural sunlight at different hours.

“In joy and in sadness, flowers are our constant friends.”– Unknown

1.IMG_7939 7 am

Late summer early in the morning as the sun just rose up.

 

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.”– Zen Shin

2.IMG_1040 (2)

A winter morning when the sun was soft.

 

“Open the bloom of your heart and become a gift of beauty to the world.”– Bryant McGill

2.IMG_4042 1 pm

The same winter in the afternoon as the sun started to descend.

 

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”– Audrey Hepburn

IMG_5957 (3)

A late spring morning when the sun was gentle.

 

“A rose can never be a sunflower, and a sunflower can never be a rose. All flowers are in their own way, and that’s like women too.”– Miranda Kerr

6.IMG_8890 (4)

Early summer morning when sunflowers were in full bloom.

 

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”– Henri Matisse

7.IMG_3144 (2)

Late spring at night using flash for this photo.

 

Please join us for fun and check out the stunning photos at Cee’s One Single Flower.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #101 – One Single Flower

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #100 – The Long and Winding Road

Tina introduced a thoughtful theme this week in reflection of The Long and Winding Road we have traveled the last several months. It happened to be the theme she chose for the Lens-Artists Challenge this week. Please visit her to enjoy her photography and her thoughts.

The challenge this week reminds me of one of the multiple trips we took to Maui. We always rent a Jeep to drive around. My husband loves to go on the Road to Hana. The previously drives were enjoyable. He doesn’t mind driving through the narrow unpaved part of the Road with the cliff on one side. Somehow during this one trip, the drive turned out to be different.

We started out in a sunny afternoon right after lunch, enjoyed the ocean and the cliff scene.

1.IMG_20191008_123326

2.IMG_20191008_120020_1

3.IMG_20191008_113349

When the road turned narrower with thick trees, it started pouring rain. The rain was so heavy that the windshield wiper didn’t go fast enough to show a view of the road. The waterfalls looked as though the dam was broken. We knew that we had not yet passed the most twisting and winding point with single lane and no visibility of the oncoming cars. Drivers use honking, and caution driving to get through. Sometimes one car must find a tiny shoulder to stop and let the other car go by. We worried about the safety to go through that part of the road in the rain. I looked at the map and tried to estimate the distance behind us and how much further we would have to go. It looked like we were in the middle. Turning around was as hard as going forward. We knew that the hardest part of driving was coming up; there should be a town after that. My husband decided to keep going. I was sitting tight, praying for safety.

6.IMG_3694a

7.IMG_3696 (3)

Fortunately, we passed the “no visibility” point before dark. Then we drove in the dark until we got back to the condo. As soon as we saw the smoke from the sugar cane factory, we knew our condo was very near (the sugar cane factory photo was taken during the day).

8.IMG_3698 (3)

The drive was supposed to be six and a half hours. We didn’t get back to the condo at Kihei until almost nine hours later.

Maui

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #100 – The Long and Winding Road

 

 

Book Review – Jonah by Jan Sikes

My Book Review of Jonah by Jan Sikes.

reading-logo

It’s a great pleasure to share with you the inspirational short story I read over the weekend.

Jonah

JONAH by [JAN SIKES]

My Review

The short story Jonah by Jan Sikes reads like a spiritual journey. Jonah was in prison for his crimes committed but had a choice to be locked up in an underground box or banished in a deserted island. He chose the island. The harsh environment of the island with creatures, stinging nettles, and prickly thorns didn’t make it any easier for him. In his hut, he discovered a package with edible items and toiletry. There were two books and a pencil with a message that the only way he could get off the island was to examine himself, face the truths, and make peace with his demons.

He used to rule the city with his might, but there was no specific mention of the crimes in Jonah’s past. It’s up to the reader’s imagination. Then an unusual young boy with eyes glowed with luminescent green light and webbed fingers showed up. He wrestled with this boy, Titus, the same way he would with an enemy. Realized this boy wouldn’t do him any harm, he let him go back to the other side of the island. Overtime, he developed the friendship with Titus. Titus brought him food and kept him company. He also brought him books on the requirements of him to be set free. His response was to comply with the rules with his behaviors. Titus indicated that it was not the fake behaviors but the heart that count. His empathy and care toward Titus grew and wanted to help him get out of the environment where the people didn’t treat him right. Every time his innate passion and selflessness grew, his hut became bigger.

The story came to a surprised ending when it was least expected of Jonah. I like this story when the author skillfully depicted the inner struggle of Jonah and his capability of changing his heart. His sincerity and genuine compassion toward Titus set him free. This short story is an enjoyable read. Highly recommended.

Amazon and Goodreads Ratings

image1

Jan Sikes

About the Author

Multi-Award winning author, Jan Sikes, began her writing career as a young girl. Her first work was a gospel song. She had an uncle whom she loved dearly, but he was an alcoholic and his drinking caused such family discord that at times, resulted in him being banished from their home. So, she wrote a song about Uncle Luke finding Jesus. That is her first memory of feeling the passion deep down to her toes for writing and for music.

When her husband passed away in 2009, she thought someone would come along and write the story of his unique and inspiring life. She awoke one morning to realize she was the only one who could write it, since she was the only one there with him through it all. So, she took several Creative Writing courses at local community colleges and went to work.

Her books are true stories about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. She believes with all her heart there is something worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond all, love…True love that you read about in fiction stories and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits these stories.

She also releases a music CD of original songs along with each book that fits the time period of the story. Why? Because the stories revolve and evolve around a passion for music.

Jan has also developed several writing workshops that you can get more information about on her website.

She is widowed, lives in North Texas, volunteers at music festivals, has five incredible grandchildren and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Authors Institute of History, The North Texas Book Festival and the Texas Musicians Museum.

Contact the Author

Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK?ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

Website: http://www.jansikes.com

Blog: http://www.rijanjks.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikes

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rijanjks

 

Welcome to Day 1 of “THE LOST AND FOUND BILLY BATTLES” Blog Tour! @JHawker69 @4WillsPub #RRBC #RWISA

Welcome to Day 1 of “THE LOST AND FOUND BILLY BATTLES” Blog Tour! @JHawker69 @4WillsPub #RRBC #RWISA.

My dear friends and visitors, please join me to welcome Ron Yates to my blog. This is the first day of his blog tour. I invite you to click the link at the end of this post to follow the rest of his tour. I’m excited to announce the following giveaway.

GIVEAWAY:  (2) Complete sets of the Billy Battles trilogy.  For your chance to win, please leave a comment below!

blog tous schedule

mockup

Hi Ron,

Thank you for visiting my blog and spend time to tell us about you as a writer, the inspiration behind your books, and the tips and advice for newer writers/authors.

 

Q & A with Ron Yates (Part 1)

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Probably when I was in the sixth grade. I loved writing stories, and I had a teacher (Mrs. Gooch) who encouraged me. My mother also bought me books and took me often to the library–a place that I found magical and magnetic. She often read to me, and I could “see” the story unfolding before me. When I could read myself, I began to devour everything I could get my hands on. Reading took me places I could not, as a young boy, otherwise go. As I used to tell my journalism students at the University of Illinois if you want to write well, read well.

What was your inspiration to write the Finding Billy Battles Trilogy?

I grew up in Kansas, and I was always fascinated by what life was like there in the 19th Century when the state was still relatively wild. At the same time, I spent a lot of time in the Far East as a foreign correspondent, and I was equally intrigued by what life must have been like in the 19th Century colonial period in places like French Indochina, The Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. Then one day, I got the idea to blend the two using a character from 19th Century Kansas who goes to the Far East and other places in search of himself. During that search, he finds himself immersed in more peril and adventure than he bargained for.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a published author?

Try to write as much as you can from your own experiences. They are real and uncontrived, and if you incorporate those experiences in your fiction, your work will have a truthful ring to it. Beyond that, KEEP AT IT! Don’t let anybody (editors, agents, etc.) discourage you. At the same time, be willing to accept constructive criticism from those who have experience as authors, editors, agents, etc. Notice I said CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. Some people criticize just to be criticizing–or to be malicious. You must believe in yourself, your work, your vision, and your story. If you don’t, who will?

What do you think makes a good story?

A good story needs a strong plot and even stronger characters. Otherwise, it falls flat. The writer needs to be above all, a good storyteller. If you build a good story, THEY WILL COME, to paraphrase “Field of Dreams.” Make readers care about your protagonist. Make readers empathize, cry, and laugh with them. At the same time, keep them off balance. Don’t be predictable, and don’t be afraid to do terrible things to your favorite characters. Have you ever known anybody who has sailed through life without some turmoil, some pain, some suffering? I haven’t.

If your trilogy became a movie or a Netflix mini-series, who would be your first choice to play the lead roles?

Clint Eastwood as the elderly Billy Battles; Clive Owen as the middle-aged Billy Battles and Ashton Kutcher as the young Billy Battles. I would pick Saffron Burrows for Billy’s first love, Mallie McNab and Famke Janssen, for the widow Katharina Schreiber who Billy meets on the boat to the Far East. (Why these choices? These folks are all tall, like me. Billy is 6’3″ and Mallie is about 5’10,” as is the statuesque widow Schreiber).

Do any of your characters have qualities/characteristics that are similar to yourself?

I think Billy Battles and I are a lot alike. I mean, aren’t most novels a bit autobiographical? He is a restless sort. He enjoys traveling, going to new places, and experiencing new things. Like Billy, I couldn’t wait to get away from Kansas (though I love the place dearly). And, like Billy, I am a happy wanderer. How else could I have survived and thrived as a foreign correspondent for 25 years? We are both journalists. At the same time, he is a dependable guy who is loyal to his friends and to those he chooses to keep close to him. Above all, Billy respects two traits in people: Honesty and Kindness. We are alike in that way.

Tell us about your next release.

I am finishing my next book, which is a novel about foreign correspondents in Asia. It’s working title is Asia Hands: A Tale of Foreign Correspondents & Other Miscreants in the Orient. Here is a blurb about it:

A mysterious object of unknown origin hidden in the heart of an impenetrable S.E. Asian jungle. A covert alliance of dangerous people determined to keep it concealed. Treacherous secret agents. Betrayal. Assassination. Murder.                                        

It’s one hell of a story, and two foreign correspondents—one recently retired and the other approaching burn out—are on the scent.

Meet Cooper McGrath and Clayton Brandt.

They have just stumbled onto the biggest story of their lives—one that could have staggering ramifications for the planet and its people.

Now all they have to do is live long enough to tell it.

Will they meet their deadlines, or will they meet their deaths?

How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?

I don’t outline my books, and I don’t write down plot scenarios. I just start writing and see where the story and my characters lead me. It’s a lot like life itself. We may have a goal in mind, but the route to it is often strewn with obstacles, surprises, and sometimes tragedy. I usually write 3,000 or 4,000 words a day, and I edit as I go. In other words, I may write a few paragraphs and then rewrite them within a few minutes of creating them. I don’t write what I would call a “First Draft.” When I finish writing a book, it is finished. I may go back and make a few tweaks with the plot here and there, or alter a little dialogue or some action by a character, but there is no second or third draft.

I know some authors who will write a first draft and put it away for weeks or months and then go back and look at it with fresh eyes. Alternatively, they may send it out to professional “beta readers” or “critiquers.” I do use beta readers, but I don’t put my writing away for weeks or months. Those strategies may work for some people. They don’t work for me. I guess it’s my journalistic training: see it, report it, organize it, write it and then move on to the next story.

If your publisher offered to fly you anywhere in the world to research an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

To Papua New Guinea. That is where a significant portion of my next book takes place–or should I say in the dense jungles of that still mostly unexplored country. There, in the forbidding and uncharted Foja Mountains, lurks an ancient mystery that two foreign correspondents are attempting to uncover.

(TOMORROW: Part 2)

BOOK BLURB:

The Finding Billy Battles trilogy tells the story of a remarkable man who is born in 1860 and who dies in 1960. For decades Billy lives an improbable and staggering life of adventure, peril, transgression and redemption. Then Billy mysteriously disappears. For several decades his family has no idea where he is or what he is doing.

Finally, with his life coming to an end, Billy resurfaces in an old soldiers’ home in Leavenworth, Kansas. It is there, when he is 98 that he meets his 12-year-old great-grandson and bequeaths his journals and his other property to him — though he is not to receive them until he is much older.

Years later, the great-grandson finally reads the journals and fashions a three volume trilogy that tells of his great-grandfather’s audacious life in the old west, as well as his journeys to the Far East of the 1890s—including French Indochina and The Philippines—and finally, in the early 20th century, to Europe and Latin America where his adventures and predicaments continue. One thing readers can be sure of, wherever Billy Battles goes trouble is not far behind.

0

AUTHOR BIO:

Ronald E. Yates is a multi-award winning author of historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy. His extraordinarily accurate books have captivated fans around the world who applaud his ability to blend fact and fiction.

Ron is a former foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and Professor Emeritus of Journalism at the University of Illinois where he was also the Dean of the College of Media.

The Lost Years of Billy Battles is the final book in the trilogy and recently won the Independent Press Award’s 2020 Distinguished Favorites Award. In 2019 it won Best Overall Book of the Year and the Grand Prize in the Goethe Historical Fiction Category from Chanticleer International Book Awards as well as a Book Excellence Award and a New Apple Award. The second book in the trilogy, The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles, was published in June 2016. It won the 2017 KCT International Literary Award and the New Apple Award in the Action/Adventure category. The first book in the trilogy, “Finding Billy Battles,” was published in 2014 and won a Book Excellence Award and Laramie Award from Chanticleer International Book Awards.

As a professional journalist, Ron lived and worked in Japan, Southeast Asia, and both Central and South America where he covered several history-making events including the fall of South Vietnam and Cambodia; the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing; and wars and revolutions in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, among other places. His work as a foreign correspondent earned him several awards including three Pulitzer Prize nominations.

Ron is a frequent speaker about the media, international affairs, and writing. He is a Vietnam era veteran of the U.S. Army Security Agency and lives just north of San Diego in Southern California’s wine country.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

-Twitter   https://twitter.com/jhawker69

-Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ronaldyatesbooks/

-Website   https://ronaldyatesbooks.com/

AMAZON OR OTHER PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KHDVZI/-/e/B00KQAYMA8/

Barnes & Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/finding%20billy%20battles/_/N-8q8

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to schedule your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.  Thanks for supporting this author and his work!

 

banner

 

 

 

« Older Entries Recent Entries »