Thinking of My Sister

Two days ago, my sister went to heaven and left a trail of snow and wind. A blizzard of sparkling diamonds for us to remember her. From now on, whenever I witness a blizzard, I will look up and say, “Hi, Lucille. Glad you decided to visit.”

Unlike her, I was nicknamed by my aunts and uncles. Lucille chose her own. Lucy was it.

Looking up at the sky I think of how she died and the blizzard that started immediately afterward. And the Beatles song, Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds, filled my brain. So, I’d like to guide you to a Beatles Lucy video link on Youtube I found appealing.

The song was written by John Lennon after his young son brought him a drawing he had just completed. When John asked what it was, his son said, “It’s Lucy in the sky with diamonds.” John thougth that would be a great title for a song. So he wrote Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.

I also found a Led Zeplen’s song, Stairway to Heaven, on Youtube, which I find appropriate for my sister as well. One of her many talents was her mastery of the piano, the guitar, the ukulele, and the flute. She was part of a band and loved to sing.

Listen to the lyrics at these links and remember Lucy, my sister, up there, listening and watching with you. Because, you know… she’s still here in another dimension where our family and friends who also left us in a stream of weather patterns we either were, or were not aware of when they died.

Enjoy, Sis.

Love ya.

Please leave a comment. Thanks.

A Sequel Added to the Process

I was told, years ago, that it was a good thing to have a sequel…not a guarantee, but a help.

It took many, many years to write my first Manuscript. I just wrote, struggling to get it right. I managed to obtain several critiques from talented, published authors. Later I sought and got more than one beta reader’s input.

Learning HOW to write is very hard work. Although I had lots to learn, I found it to be lots of fun. I still enjoy learning how to write fiction.

While years passed before I finished the first story I believed in, a sequel was nagging at me. Therefore, once the first MS was completed, I pulled out the few pages I had started for the sequel. Fitting it in my crazy, busy life, I started writing it last summer. Presently, I am working on the climax of this second manuscript.

I hope to publish both manuscripts at some point. But that is the rub…HOW and where to publish. I hope to Indie publish with help from a team of professionals who will guide me.

My goal: To tell a story important to me and share my views with the MG reader and a sequel (which is two years later with the same characters) with the YA reader in story form. A story of life, love, loss and freedom—coming of age. 🙂

Anyone willing to provide suggestions on how find a good editor for proofreading a 50,000 word YA novel and suggest how to publish will be much appreciated.

Also, how do authors promote their presence and their work?

Social media boggles my mind. My platforms are FB, Twitter, and WordPress. I have blogged for several years, talking about me and often comment on my writing journey…I get a lot of “hits,” a fair amount of likes, but very few responses.

Speaking of Interuptions…

I’m managing Hubby’s care. He underwent surgery a few days ago. Due to Covid restrictions, I wasn’t allowed inside the hospital.
We have a slew of doctor appointments coming up and wouldn’t you know, thinking I had it “all together,” I planned a sneak appointment for me, in between errands, to get a professional hair trim, and still show up in time for Hubby’s release from the hospital.

So, I went to the grocery, hurried home to put food away, then had a quick lunch/snack. As I was getting ready to head out, something hard as rock presented itself in my mouth.


In a split second I realized what had happened. I was right. And my plans abruptly changed.

A bridge composed of two connected crowns detached from my teeth. The crown covered two teeth. The first two after my canine and a third tooth was a cantileverd molar. The two teeth were in perfect conditionm but were sacrificed to support a bridge and ultimately a sculpted molar. A “floating” molar replaced a molar which had been incorrectly removed from my right upper jaw years ealier by another dentist. (After removal, he said it was a perfectly strong tooth. He had attempted to relieve me of a pain in my jaw and temple. The pain returned after the extraction. Over time, it went away….and I was missing a tooth. Not a happy experience.)

Cantilevered bridge sample

This complicated bridge was installed forty-seven years ago. 47! I was told it could last thirty years—if I was lucky. At that young age, thirty years seemed an eternity. So I agreed to have it done.

The set is polished, and still new looking. I am hopeful a dentist of great talent will re-install the set, even though the first tooth I had sacrificed to make this crown possible had now broken off at the gumline. The second tooth, which was reshaped to accept the crown as well, is still in position. So there will be some serious pain in drilling and poking, I’m sure. Perhaps the last canterlevered molar can be cut off the set, then a tooth implant can be installed in its place, thus giving me a sturdier bite. This idea for the last molar is based on now learning that a cantilevered crown is not a very good setup…it would have ultimately failed over time. Well the time is now and it is a very inconvenient interruption.

Is there ever a good time for interruptions?

However, there is some good news. Hubby is home and slowly getting better. We will be walking within a week or two in our favorite woods path. Our daily habit. That is not an interruption. That is a planned event. I’ll make an appointment to have my hair trimmed some day soon—I hope.

Like and leave a comment. Appreciate it.

My Characters Are Working Hard…Me Too.

Oh, I’m still around.

Life’s chocolate box is interesting and challenging at times.

Yes, I’m still working on my second manuscript.

Very near the end and have hit a writer’s block…or is it a cement wall…a wall…a void…a whatchamacallit. Whatever it is, I’ve hit it.

Crow bar…aka wrecking bar.

I need to finish this manuscript.

I will. I will.

There is a wrecking bar down in the basement. That might do the trick. Yeah…sit and meditate on a wrecking bar.

Or is it a crow bar? No matter, they both can wreck a wall in no time.

Have used a wrecking bar before…or was it a crow bar. No matter, I do have carpentry skills…built my first home, Post and Beam. Mostly alone…took 4 years.

Then I married and built two more homes with Hubby. We added to each property a separate 4-bay, 2-story garage.

I should have been writing instead.

Wait. I WAS writing – actually trying to fit it in whenever I had a few minutes or hours. Not enough for me to be happy about the little time devoted to the craft of writing.

Life goes by quickly, don’t you know…with lots of distractions…intrusions…etc..

With writer’s block, it is sometimes advised to read a book…focussing on other than your usual choice of genre. So, I picked up a Sci-Fi novel…not my usual interest. It’s interesting so far.

Meanwhile, my characters will have to be patient. I’ll be back and let them know what gives. That’ll be interesting.

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River Fork, sequel. Nearly There!

Yes, yes. YES!angelica_kauffmann_003-josmuse

You see me with my laptop and muse at the right. Right?

I’ve been working on the to sequel to River Fork.

The characters (my kids) from River Fork learned about love, loss, faith, acceptance, and life in my first manuscript. These same kids have grown up. It is two years later. Everything should be fine. Right?


Life is tough. Tougher for some than others. Especilly in 1959. Especially when you don’t know where Mom is. Especially when you are in love and your love interest is not accepted by society and you don’t understand why there is a problem? You are from the northern states and don’t understand people from the southern states? Where you live shouldn’t matter. People are people.

My kids are dealing with love, hope, faith, coming of age, social issues, and freedom. All overshadowed by a quest to find Mom and a dad no one knew existed  until now…because life is tough.

I listen to my characters, protect them, and offer my advice. Will they listen? Will they return home safe and sound? Will they be happy? Nobody knows that at the moment.

Though I am the writer, I can’t make promises. Life is tough at times.

Your comments are appreciated.

Are you a Beta Reader? Want to swap?

Hello fellow, writers, authors, publishers, readers,

I’ll swap with Beta Readers for my MG, historical, paranormal manuscript. Approx 53,000 words. Want an honest critique. I’ll do the same for you.

Theme: loss, guilt, frustration, anger, love, acceptance, hope and coming of age.

The setting: 1957, New Hampshire, fictional farming town on the Saco River, cradled in the White Mountains.

Tim will be 13 in 4 days. His two friends are 15 and 14. Each has experienced loss.

Here is the blurb:
Tim’s refusal to accompany Dad cost him his dad.

One year later, desperate to have things back as they were, Tim convinces his best friend to help him find the key—a bear—that could help bring his dad back.

His dad had spoken of the bear. But Tim hadn’t asked enough questions. Where and how can he find this creature? On their quest to the Saco River, searching for the bear, an unexpected storm unfolds.

A girl, and neighbor to Tim, spots the boys’ early morning departure from her kitchen window. Hurt at not being included, curiosity takes over. She follows, unwittingly placing herself in danger. Unable to get back home she is lost. A storm is brewing nearby and it’s coming her way.

The boys are trapped in a cave with little food. How long will it take for the River to recede? How can they find the bear if they are trapped? Tim has to convince his friend to believe in the bear, that it will rescue them like it had rescued his dad years before. Without belief, the bear would not help. But did Tim truly believe?

Tim’s roller-coaster emotions confuse him. Is he angry at Dad for leaving? He doesn’t think so. But then—

The three find themselves in a world that is like theirs—but not like theirs. They befriend a very old Indian couple. Perhaps the old couple knows where the key to Tim’s desire can be found.

Please leave a comment, share and like if you truly like.

Helpful critiques are always welcome.

Thanks for reading.

My Four Year Battle With Lyme

No, not a story I’m working on.

What have I been doing? Well. For the last four years, I’ve been battling Lyme. Chronic Lyme.

I spent two years visiting six MDs in Maine and Florida. My family MD, a PA, three ENTs, and an Immunologist. Prescriptions varied. Cortizone in its varied forms, baby powder, skin lotion, and high doses of anti-histamine 4x/day. Allergy free detergents.

I asked what caused my problem.
“Everyone itches at one time or another.”
“Part of getting older. You have dermatitis.”
“No worry. Just apply this cream daily. It’ll stop some day.”

Cortizone and all its cousins were a palliative. I wanted to know What? Why? How to be rid of this nightmare keeping me awake, and not letting me be normal?

I should not “feel” my skin on my forehead, my arm, my torso, my neck, my elbow, and all those other places screaming for my attention.

I wanted to take my skin for granted. To go about my day without feeling that spot itch and burn all of a sudden. I wanted to be peaceful, because I habitually cared for my skin with diet, hygiene, protection from heat and cold. But I felt betrayed by my body’s largest organ. It was not fair. Without it, wouldn’t I fall apart?

In spring of the third year, I sought a Naturopath. She listened and ordered bloodwork to find out why I was itching. The tests indicated my immune system was waging a terrific battle against Lyme. And I had SIBO.

Lyme had been in the back of my mind. When I brought it up as a possibility to the other doctors. They shook their heads and smiled. Not Lyme. They treated people like me all the time. It’s just a rash. Dermatitus.

For two years, the Naturopath prescribed regimens of anti-biotics with re-testing. After each bout of antibiotics, I felt like a new person. For two or three weeks. Then it started again. I was re-tested. The titer counts were high. They got higher. They got lower. New bacterium counts appeared. Then I got a new tick bite. Twice in a month. Back to antibioticsjust in case. Then my count was climbing from a low. The last prescribed antibiotic was herbal.

Then Zinc, a mineral she had recommended early on, was added.

I take few vitamins and minerals as needed. I had dismissed zinc. Then a month ago, decided to try it. Two days later, I felt much better. The itching…90% gone. Now weeks later, I feel even better. I feel my immune system is working like it should. The itching is 99% gone.

Meantime, Covid 19 struck the country. With my immune system just recovering, we decided to stay put in Florida until next year.

Now we pray not to get infected with COVID-19…I wish people would follow logical steps…masks, social distancing, and avoid crowds, wash hands often.

Smile in your mirror every day. Jo

So what about that Manuscript thing… ?

Oh. River Fork?

I had planned a coming of age, YA story. With a bit of fantasy aka paranormal.

Why did I write it?


As a former teacher, I encouraged my high school students to write. Several of my students had dealt with a major loss. They wrote about it, but no one talked about it.

Neither did I—Mother died in a fire. My sister and I witnessed the event. I was five, sister was seven. We never forgot. We never talked about it. Nor did father. Assumptions and rumors spread.

During my teaching career, a story slowly evolved in my head. Picture book? Children’s book? Family story book? My brain cranked out scenarios. It was a morass of imagery. How would I best present my idea? I wasn’t a writer. I wrote poetry. Still do and tuck it away in a briefcase. But writing a book?

I’m an artist. So, I started with cute pictures and poem-like stories.

The story grew. I dropped the cute — loss is not cute.

I needed a plan, feeling, a theme, a plot, etc… . What did I get myself into?

My head said, put it into words. I began writing, finishing the Manuscript the year I retired because I had more time to myself.

Then I researched the writing craft, improved my writing skills and investigated publishing options. Needless to say, publishing  surely changed from when I first put pen to paper.

The story:

  • Timeline: 1956-57
  • Theme: the loss of a parent.
  • Setting: River Fork. A farming and logging community. In the mountains near the Saco River.
  • Characters: Three neighboring friends: Tim, Charlie and Roach. Tim will be 13 in three days. The others are teens.
  • It is about coming of age, death, forgiveness, hope and faith. Oh, and there is a budding romance.
  • There is a bit of paranormal (no magical potions, witches, vampires, violence, etc…)


So, Has Anyone Reviewed It?


The Manuscript has been line critiqued and gone through lots and lots of revisions.

A year ago I found three beta readers.
I did not write to the YA audience. It is suitable for the Middle Grade audience. Disappointment for sure here.
Okay. I asked for an honest review.
I received three great reviews. Two people pointed out what didn’t work and what could be done to make the story more interesting. One Beta Reader recommended a few resources. With expert advice and suggestions, I learned a lot. I am grateful.
So. I’m doing lots of editing, developing my characters and setting a bit more. And DUMPING stuff that was kind of iffy even as I first wrote it.
  • If it’s IFFY for the writer – It most certainly will be IFFY for the reader. DUMP IT. Ahhh. Yes. You’ll feel better. I did.

Once this latest revision is complete, I’ll need a couple of Beta Reader(s) again. Then on to an editor and publishing—self-publishing.


For those who work with me in this endeavor, your name will be mentioned in the credits and you will receive a free digital copy of my novel once it is published.

The sequel—Roach’s story—sits in my laptop. Waiting.

Please like, comment and share this post.
J.M. Orise

Again With the Edit Thing


Will it ever be right? Photo credit:

I’ve edited my MG manuscript sooo many times since the first draft from way back when. Years ago. At first it was whenever I could fit it in, now I spend much more time.

I finished another edit a month ago. I smiled. Does anyone else smile at their screen after finishing a “terrific” edit/re-write?

With each draft, a sense of having finally arrived makes me feel so good. I did it! It’s the one. This one works. I put it aside, dreaming about the publishing part. No. That would be more like having a nightmare, wouldn’t it?

After a week or more of being busy doing stuff needing to be done, I open the manuscript, giving it a peek.

What! An error? On the first page? No. Who did this?  Me? Drat.


Why are you doing this? Photo credit:

May as well re-read. Just in case. I know this is a one-time thing.  Wait. A typo here. And there. One chapter disappeared! No it got moved down three chapters. I can’t believe I did that. But I remember adding more scenes, that was what happened. I forgot having moved that chapter out of sequence.

Drat, drat. Let’s get back to Chapter one.

Two weeks later, I finished. Good thing I happened to peek. Not only did I fix those errors… and all the others that followed, I changed a few things to make my characters more interesting, added more detail about the setting, and I improved the dialogue between characters, working on character arc.

My mantra:
I’ve edited my MG manuscript sooo many times since the first draft. I just finished another. I smile. Does anyone else smile at their screen after finishing a “terrific” edit/re-write?

A sense of “having finally arrived” makes me feel so good. I did it! It’s the one. This one works.

Now I need to get to bed. Let’s keep the nightmares at bay.

My characters have the patience of  Job, waiting for me to notice them again. We get along pretty good.

What is your editing/re-writing like? I’d like to know I am not alone.



My Cramped Grey Cells

Must I? I must.

man hitting head on wall

photo by: Daniel Mingook Kim,  Hitting your head against a solid wall.

The deeper I travel into the Internet’s social networks, I seem to miss a step here and there.

Teaching Computer science years ago, social media was not tolerated. It was blocked from the classroom.

Social media was of no interest to me then.

Now I’m immersed in it with my art and writing sites.

I designed and still manage my websites. I solve most of our PC troubles.

I understand software, pretty much immediately. I try thinking like a programmer…”What would he/she want us to do at this moment. PC’s are programmed to do what you tell them to. If something isn’t happening. Then you’ve missed a step.

That’s me. The deeper I travel into the Internet’s social networks, I seem to miss a step here and there.

What’s it like?

It’s like my brain sitting upside down in my skull. Diagnosis: brain cramp.

Some of the quirky settings and setups written into a website’s instructions are sometimes confusing.


Flea markets. Yeah. That’s what it’s like.

I prefer order. Bring me to busy, disorganized flea market and I gag. I want everything ordered by color, size, price, quality, etc. Doesn’t everyone? Mass confusion is what I see. My whole body groans.

Meanwhile I am trying…my grey cells are trying…really hard to understand the nuances in some of these social media sites.

Am I learning? I think I am. Someone suggested I join That was pretty basic. I think. I joined, but haven’t made use of it yet.

Another recommended Uh… What is that? People snapping pics, sharing? Why? Seeking comments. I haven’t figured how one even makes a post with pictures, and I can’t find links for posting comments, unless I comment on someone’s post. VERY frustrating.

These social media sites are purported to be a great help for my career. Whether it be .org .biz .edu .mnlop site, I barely understand some of them. Their links are not obvious. Their goals unclear, at least, for me. 

My brain is working hard, doing push ups and sit ups. It ain’t quite up to speed for social networking yet. Well for some of it, anyway. Guess I’ll take a break. I feel a cramp coming on.

Anyone out there feel the same?