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Monday, August 17, 2015

PAYING IT FORWARD on #MondayBlogs - to Dr. Paulette Williams

Today I want to “Pay It Forward” for an accomplishment I have strived to reach, a goal that has eluded me . . . for too long! It’s a simple thing, but not an easy accomplishment. Those who know me only-too-well will say, hey, you never had trouble talking. Well, standing in front of an audience to give a speech is a different story! I needed more than a strong belief in myself.

Mahalo, Dr. Paulette Williams 

As a way to bolster my self-confidence, I approached Toastmasters Ala Moana’s Vice-President of Education, Dr. Paulette Williams, and asked to be assigned a mentor. Paulette, who is an award-winning Speaker and University Professor of Nursing, generously volunteered her time and knowledge, coaching me in the writing of my next speech. 

When I presented the speech to the Toastmasters group last Thursday, Paulette also encouraged me with her presence and undivided attention. Both are extremely important to a speaker. Her support and approval were invaluable to my advancement as a speaker. Mahalo nui loa to you, Dr. Paulette. 

I received the blue ribbon at Toastmasters for “Best Speaker” of the week, for my speech:  

Writing the First Draft
(Editing comes later!)

My reward, along with the ribbon and pride of accomplishment? Having my picture taken with the other two “winners of the day” Brian Boltwood, President of Toastmasters Ala Moana, and Rocky Davis, excellent keynote speakers and mentors.

Rocky Davis, Gail Baugniet, Brian Boltwood
My speech structure followed the parameters of
Toastmasters International Speech #8 in the Competent Communication booklet:
Get Comfortable with Visual Aids.

The major goals of this speech are to:
1. Use appropriate visual aids for the speech and message
2. Help the audience understand and remember the speaker’s point
3. Use body language to reinforce the message, and
4. Present a well-researched speech.

One mission of the Toastmasters Club is to give each member “the opportunity to develop oral communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth.”

You may well ask, “You’re a writer, so what are you doing giving speeches?”

Good question, one I’ve asked myself often. I do have a purpose, aside from relishing (in a sadistic sort of way) the challenges of researching, writing, and standing up in front of a group to present a speech. I believe writers need to speak with confidence about their work. But not only as a sales tool. 

Communication skills are also important to more fully appreciate the well-rounded experience of interacting with all the wonderful people one meets during the course of a career as a writer. 

That’s motive enough! 

Please check out this website for further information about Toastmasters:

Also, please take a moment to visit the excellent and informative websites of Brian Boltwood:
Rocky Davis. Rocky is a nationally and internationally recognized inspirational and motivational speaker. Learn what motivates Rocky!

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Every story is appreciated from a different point of view, such as age range, life experience, and frame of mind. A novel you read in high school or college might appeal to you in a different way today. You may enjoy a story set in Florence more if you are anticipating a trip to Italy. A book having a subplot about alcoholism will carry a stronger message for someone with personal experience in that area. For these reasons, one person’s opinion of a novel will not necessarily mesh with that of another. 

Book reviews are subjective. They reflect the honest opinion of the reader composing the review. The opinion itself, therefore, cannot be considered invalid because someone disagrees with the review. 

With that thought in mind, I welcome your comments on the books I review.

The genre I most enjoy reading is Mystery, along with its many sub-genres, including: Hard-boiled, Traditional Cozy, Suspense, Thriller, and Police Procedural. Over the years, subgenres of these subgenres have sprung up. Within the Traditional Cozy, there are now Food Cozies and Cat Cozies; thrillers include Medical Thrillers and Psychological Thrillers. I describe my own novels as yet another sub-genre:
      “Soft-boiled mysteries can be murder!”
The mystery genre takes up a large portion of my book shelf. Figuratively speaking, that is, as my E-book collection now far outnumbers my paperback and hardcover collection.
Beginning Saturday, August 15, 2015, my book reviews will include a mix of genres, representing classical, contemporary, traditional, self-published, fiction and non-fiction works.
Please plan to join me on the lanai.