<![CDATA[Jan Holmes Frost - BLOG]]>Sun, 07 Jan 2018 08:31:02 -0600Weebly<![CDATA[How Time Flies When You're Writing´╗┐]]>Fri, 19 Aug 2016 17:51:49 GMThttp://janholmesfrost.com/blog/how-time-flies-when-youre-writing
Just when I started to have a few followers, I went and ignored my posts. Well, I'm back and making a new vow to Post, Post, Post.

As you can see, I have a new book published...SKINNY ZEN. What fun that has been! A great place to link to is www.facebook.com/skinnyzen 

Here is a nice sampling of what you'll find:

Chapter One
Who am I to tell you how to Diet?
   In high school I was the ‘skinny girl’ at 5’ 6” 103 pounds, small/medium build. I've gained weight in stealth mode, (you know how subtle it is), until a few days ago I topped out at 159 pounds. (160 pounds has been staved off at gunpoint).
   It was a non-option. Then and there I decided to add the lethal word ‘diet’ to my vocabulary. Gone were the dating days of my lovely twenties when I’d TRY to gain weight. For years I heard how skinny I was, and ‘why don’t you put some meat on those bones’. (This back in the day when voluptuous was trending.) I was NOT curvy, I was...let’s say...willowy. (That’s very kind).
   I’m not a physician or nutritionist. I’m more of an accountant and an author. Jan Holmes Frost, LLU (Live and Learn University).
   Back in the day, when I gave birth to two sons, over 8 pounds each, I returned to that amazing figure of 103 lbs. Eight years later came my daughter (today a six-foot tall, body building, kick-ass force who successfully completed her first Tough Mudder). After her birth, I stayed at a solid 106 pounds. A hysterectomy at age forty-four changed this wonderfulness skinniness, until I stood with a sledge-hammer, poised over the scales that lied. What?
   Thus began my weight loss regime, including ready-to-eat meals, personal trainer, Kumbaya gatherings, 12-step motivational rah-rah rallies, and books. Books! Do we not have enough missives available worldwide covering this subject, written by people with a string of letters to the right of their name, from celebrities, and beyond? And here I am, yours truly, having a go at bringing weight-loss enlightenment into your life. Really?
   I’m maybe 20 - 40 pounds overweight depending on whose analysis you adhere to.
   Recently, while talking on the phone with my kick-ass red-headed daughter, I said,

   "I give up. I’m too damned old to diet." (My mom said that when she was about age 65).
   To prove my point, I main-lined Rocky Road ice cream for two days. Immersed in my weight-management suicide, I put away three hearty meals per day, added arbitrary desserts and snacks, and frequented all-you-can-eat restaurants. Then, comparable to hang-gliding from a 3,000 foot cliff into a pile of boulders, I challenged myself with a super over-the-top killer greasy spoon throw-back 60’s diner that served me a tall strawberry milk shake topped with whipped cream and a cherry. My waitress said,

  "Here you go, dearie, and you get the rest of your shake in this nice cold metal container." (Remember those?)

   Then she served me a stacked double bacon cheeseburger on a triple grilled bun, along with cholesterol infused fries, followed by a platter of onion rings shimmering in yellow fat. Yum!
   My tummy proceeded to take on odd lumpy shapes, and I gained 7 pounds in one week of gluttony.
   So, back to my daughter. This is what I told her:
   “I swear, I get up every morning and weigh in. I have a very reliable digital scale in my bathroom. I get naked…”
   (She interrupts here to tell me, TMI).
   “…before I’ve taken a single medication, or allowed a drop of coffee upon my lips, I count the pounds. I’ll take out my dentures if that helps,” I say.
   There I am standing on the very same evil scales, cell phone to my ear, and I swear, it does not drop below the 166 mark.
    "In one week I’ve raised the number 159 by 7 pounds,” I conclude, heaving a sigh.
     My wise daughter is quiet.
     “Now what?”
     “What, Mom?”
     “Now what do I do?”
    "You’re asking me? You wouldn’t like my answer. And I doubt you can lift over 50 pounds, anyway.”
     “I just won’t eat.”
     "Way to go, Mom. Let me know how that works for you.”
     “Fine, I know, I know.”
   Dead air on our cell phones.
     “Well, I gotta get busy. I have plenty of writing and editing to do." (I write fiction.)
     “Good idea, Mom. Go write about dieting.”
   Bless her heart … here I am!
   The Skinny Zen book …
   What a unique concept. Right?


<![CDATA[To Come Home]]>Wed, 10 Jul 2013 16:40:08 GMThttp://janholmesfrost.com/blog/to-come-homeIt goes not unsaid, that man has
   Paid a price for freedom,
When downtrodden and alone
   He has reached across
Skies, seas and desert, only
   To come home.

A child given birth is not tossed
   To the wild to fetch his own
And learn of love, to breach the
   Ages and find his path
Uncharted with no horizon,
   To come home.

To wander is to be cursed
   With no anchor or berth,
Sail across the tides, or scale mountains,
   Crawl in little caves that
We call our own, like rats
   To come home.

To sleep a pad in a doorway,
   Steal a morsel from a cart,
Scratch the fleas that mother earth
   So manifestly provides,
While hiking in shadows of buildings
   To come home.

Beneath bridges of humanity
    Steeples that chime out
Freedom of speech, and hold
   The downtrodden in place,
Awaken on sunlit hills...
   To come home.

The fire of guns, and rockets red glare,
   Bombs burst in your air,
March with people, serve the war,
   On foreign soil give wrath
Nations fall at your feet,
   To come home.

Roads cross at our altar and declare
   We must choose, take aim
To travel in rags, through hours
   of our lives and guess
Which way is the one, and face the sun...
   To come home.

             Copyright 2013 Jan Holmes Frost

<![CDATA[Ode to Sam]]>Wed, 10 Jul 2013 00:35:27 GMThttp://janholmesfrost.com/blog/ode-to-samIf I were to choose a life to follow
it would be yours, by your side.
Together we'd trod the mountains,
down the Mississippi we'd ride.

Along the wide Tuolumne
we'd dig through those hills of gold.
Our best friend would be Bret Harte,
great stories of us would be told.

In those mining hills of Angels Camp,
legends of us would be plenty,
as we'd write of those darned little frogs
that jumped through Calaveras County.

Maybe I'd give you some advice on Tom Sawyer
or write a few lines about Huck.
Between us we'd invent Pudd'nhead Wilson
and we'd gamble on our good luck.

I'd sit by the fire and watch you pen
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
We'd roam from the rivers to the plains,
and to many a far away port.

Through the years I'd learn to write,
I'd become famous like my friend Mark Twain.
So here's to you, Mr. Samuel L. Clemons,
and I hope someday they'll know my name.

                   Copyright 2013 Jan Holmes Frost

<![CDATA[What is Your Writing Style?]]>Mon, 10 Jun 2013 22:59:55 GMThttp://janholmesfrost.com/blog/what-is-your-writing-style

    To discover our personal writing style, we must first strip away the do’s and dont's and focus on raw, gut-level creative imagination. With writing, as with any craft, we need to learn, practice, and hone our skills. But there is no arguing that one source exists for artistic talent—YOU. You have a unique style, and as you begin to write fiction, this will emerge, and set you apart from everyone else.
    Does our style change as we get into our character’s head?
    Yes! This can be compared to experiencing multiple personalities. Think about your own life. We change our style—how we think, dress, talk, and appear several times during a day.
    YOU in the morning when you crawl out of bed = Raw style. You look in the mirror and there you are—the basics—a face that hasn’t been re-designed by the razor, or made-up with layers of cosmetics.
    YOU the grade school teacher = Teacher Role. To get from bed to the classroom takes minimal change, but you’ll display a fresh clean face, smiles, gritting of the teeth, and occasionally a firm demeanor and tone of voice. You’ve taken on personal professional characteristics and changed your basic style.
    YOU on a hot date = Romantic Role. Does this role reveal the true you, or do you act out who you think you should be for the occasion? Will you play the part of a seductress, or a casual charmer? This is where you dress the part and do whatever it takes to look your best—including spray-on body tans, pricey clothing, and credit card debt.
    Somewhere beneath this gorgeous, sexy masquerade is the raw you that tumbled out of bed this morning. Did you think it would be any different for your characters?
    Think of these contrasts as a kaleidoscope of the mind projected onto the written page.
    A writer owns an inner voice and style. You project this according to who your characters are. Do we live our lives vicariously through our characters? Absolutely. It is part of the fun in creating and crafting fiction.

    “The books one reads in childhood, and perhaps most of all the bad and good bad books, create in one's mind a sort of false map of the world, a series of fabulous countries into which one can retreat at odd moments throughout the rest of life, and which in some cases can even survive a visit to the real countries which they are supposed to represent.”  George Orwell

<![CDATA[McKee's Ten Commandments]]>Fri, 07 Jun 2013 16:32:13 GMThttp://janholmesfrost.com/blog/mckees-ten-commandmentsIf you've never discovered McKee's Ten Commandments, you're about to become a fan. He covers the bases and more. Ha, the most profound is number ten!

1.  Thou shalt not take the crisis/climax out of the protagonist’s hands. The antideus ex machina commandment.
2. Thou shalt not make life easy for the protagonist. Nothing progresses in a story, except through conflict.
3. Thou shalt not give exposition for strictly exposition’s sake. Dramatize it. Convert exposition to ammunition. Use it to turn the ending of a scene, to further the conflict.
4. Thou shalt not use false mystery or cheap surprise. Don’t conceal anything important that the protagonist KNOWS. Keep us in step with the hero. We know what he/she knows. (Can know more, but not less.)
5. Thou shalt respect your audience. The anti-hack commandment.
6. Thou shalt know your world as God knows this one. The pro-research commandment.
7. Thou shalt not complicate when complexity is better. Don’t multiply the complications on one level. Use all three: Intra-personal, Inter-personal, Extra-personal. (Conflict within, conflict between two people, conflict with/in society.)
8. Thou shalt seek the end of the line, the negation of the negation, taking characters to the farthest reaches and depth of conflict imaginable within the story’s own realm of probability.
9. Thou shalt not write on the nose. Put a subtext under every text. (Depth, not simplified.)
10. Thou shalt rewrite.
<![CDATA[FINDING YOUR GENRE]]>Thu, 23 May 2013 17:04:12 GMThttp://janholmesfrost.com/blog/finding-your-genreAdding to the below - This is the short list! Identifying your genre can get complicated, or be a given. To see the Grandfather of all Super-Genre-Lists, (updated frequently as the industry morphs) go to Wikipedia.

It's a genre feast !!!
<![CDATA[THE GENRES GAME]]>Thu, 23 May 2013 16:56:47 GMThttp://janholmesfrost.com/blog/the-genres-gameSo, according to the last post, my tomorrows take six days!

These examples are taken from Eight Things You Need to Know to Write a Novel  (for sale from this website)

Some will argue the following list of genres made popular by today's fiction market. To further convolute the issue, genres can be broken into sub-genres, and sub-sub-genres.

Inspirational, Coming of age, Detective, Fantasy, Educational. Example: J.K Rowling - Typical length: 2,000 - 145,000 words

Who-dun-it, Crime, Murder. Involves a puzzle that is solved by the protagonist thwarting the antagonist. This genre often includes a red-herring (someone who leads suspicion away from the true criminal). Examples: Sue Grafton, James Patterson - Typical length: 50,000 - 95,000 words.

        Cozy or Amateur Sleuth: A traditional mystery with less violence. The puzzle is solved by a non-professional, i.e. an everyday person. Can include Chick/Hen Lit. Examples: Agatha Christie, Janet Evanovich - Typical Length: 60,000 - 95,000 words.
        Hard-Boiled (Noir): A private detective solves the crime through action and deduction. Examples: Robert Crais, Stuart Woods - Typical Length: 80,000 - 100,000 words.
        Police Procedural: Solved through law-enforcement officials, involving technical and investigative specialties and forensics. Has lots of action, blood, violence, and you can toss in a serial killer or stalker. Examples: Ed McBain, Patricia Cornwell - Typical Length: 60,000 - 95,000 (Also can include: Caper, Historical, Legal, Series)

Conflict and resolution between a couple, often has a happy ending.

        Romantic Suspense, Historical, Contemporary, Series Romance, Futuristic/Paranormal, Inspirational/Christian, Romantic Comedy. (Also may include: Chick/Hen Lit, Action/Adventure, Americana, American West, Erotica, Gothic, Steampunk.)

Conflict between a villain and the protagonist, against all odds, break-neck pace, extremem action. Often the reader knows who did it. Examples: Richard A. Clarke, Dean Koontz - Typical Length: 65,000 - 75,000 words

        Conspiracy/Espionage: Situations arising from government secrecy and security, and the corrupting influence of power. Examples: Robert Ludlum, Vince Flynn - Typical Length: 90,000 - 120,000 words.
        Medical Thriller: Dean Koontz
        Legal Thriller: John Grisham
        Techno Thriller: Tom Clancy
(Can include: Disaster, Eco-thriller, Treasure seeking, Adventure)

                                           SPECULATIVE FICTION
Urealistic in nature, from the imagination, utopian, alternate history, apocalyptic. Examples: Ayn Rand, Orson Scott Card - Typical Length: 70,000 - 200,000
        Science Fiction: Robert Sawyer
        Fantasy: Dennis McKiernan
        Horror: Stephen King
        Urban Fantasy: Stephenie Meyer or Carrie Vaughn
(Can also include: Steampunk, Alternative reality)

Set in the American West, usually in the past, but current issues are also popular. They may include elements of the above genres. Example: Cormac McCarthy, Tony Hillerman, Michael Blake - Typical Lenth: 65,000 - 90,000 words.

                                                 YA - YOUNG ADULT
Includes many of the above themes set among teens. Examples: Holly Black, Stephenie Meyer, James Patterson (Maximum Ride Series) Word count varies.

I quote E. L. Doctorow: "...writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."

Whatever your genre is, enjoy the journey!



<![CDATA[FICTION GENRES - The Mystery Continues]]>Fri, 17 May 2013 22:22:08 GMThttp://janholmesfrost.com/blog/fiction-genres-the-mystery-continuesDo you believe that today's Genres are a mystery? You are right! They are all over the place! In Eight Things You Need to Know to Write a Novel, I compiled my version of genres. And guess what, this was obsolete and outdated the minute the book hit the printing press. Nevertheless, there is enough included to give you some choices.

Look on the internet to find some of the recent add-ons. The complete ridiculous list!

Writing is labeled these days into Literary and Mainstream (more or less, this changes and grows as well)

LITERARY - Written with a philosophical view and cultured expression. Tends to be about human shortcomings. Not necessarily plot driven, but focused more on character traits and period. Examples include John Updike and Sue Monk Kidd. Typical length: 95,000 - 220,000.

MAINSTREAM - Written in everyday, less scholarly, language. Writing aimed at the widest audience and highest popularity. Examples: James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks. Typical length: 80,000 - 180,000.

Tomorrow I'll continue with a list of genres popular today.

<![CDATA[The Story Setup...]]>Thu, 16 May 2013 17:22:01 GMThttp://janholmesfrost.com/blog/the-story-setupDecide what to reveal. Keep to the point. Wandering narrative is less popular in today's fiction. The degree of narrative you include can be seen determined by the genre, and the period of your setting. For example, a techno-thriller will rely on action and a fast pace, while a historical nautical work of fiction will reveal events at a slower rate.

Having said this, we know that any given set of events will have more action and scene than can be told, or written. Describing every insignificant facet will result in a meandering, unwieldy and boring story, regardless of genre.

Yes, a glimpse into the scene is important, but avoid cluttering your reader's view with overstuffed furniture, voluminous velvet drapes, and alley filled with discarded empty beer cans, cigarette butts, an abandoned Jeep, a gang of stalking feral cats and a Coors delivery truck. (Keep 1 -3 of these. The rule of thumb is no more than 3)

Your audience must rely on your perspective and balance. Choose which aspects of your story add to the richness and texture, and which ones are mere diversions. Ask yourself, "Is this detail important to the story?" What you include will send a message to your reader that it is a crucial piece of information. (Like if you describe windows hidden by voluminous drapes, you better set those drapes on fire later).

To quote Dr. Thomas M. Grundner, author, and founder of Fireship Press; "In other words, don't let your words get in the way of the story."
<![CDATA[More Concept Development]]>Wed, 15 May 2013 13:04:42 GMThttp://janholmesfrost.com/blog/more-concept-developmentAs promised, here are the remaining five points on Concept Development.
6. What genre does this concept fit with?
7. What era, location, setting, time period is involved?
8. What other work would I compare this with?
9. How familiar am I with this concept?
10. Who is my target audience?

"There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter (computer) and open a vein." Red Smith