Category Archives: Books

The Weekly Smile

I’m excited to report that I’ve just finished my list of A2Z items for the April blogging challenge! YIPPEE!! 😀😀😀😀😀

I hope all my fellow bloggers are joining in for the joyous camaraderie of committing to post every day in April, except Sundays, and choosing a theme (or just go with misc.). I can’t wait to read the interesting entries I’ve seen so far ~ symbols and signs, creatures from mythology, a fruity motif, etc.

Anyway, my theme is romance reviews, and I’m doing about half novels and half romantic comedies. Tonight my focus has been on getting my list together, but I got stuck on some of the tough letters. That gave me a sad. I really didn’t want to end the day unsatisfied with an incomplete list. But then I had the idea to enter search words into my Kindle app (for iPhone) and OMG amazing! It found books I’ve already read and new ones that sound cool, so I grabbed samples to see if I want to buy them. Neato!

For example, I found a romance novel titled Until We Kissed, which is about a librarian and a writer. You really can’t get more perfect than that, amirite? I would never have found this book on my own without obsessively searching for a word starting with U.

I like apps that are dedicated to one thing. It’s becoming hard to search for things on Google and Amazon because they have too much ~ unless you already know what you want, of course. But sometimes it’s nice to browse. The Kindle app was more like being in a bookstore. I didn’t end up with kitchen gadgets when I wanted books. Not to besmirch gadgets. They have their place.

A2Z Blogging ~ Theme Reveal

First, please accept my apology for deleting the earlier post about A2Z April blogging. Thank you to everyone who liked and commented. I had too much multitasking going on and made a bunch of errors in the post and comments, so it’s best I begin again.

Second, I’m joining in the fun this year by committing to blog the alphabet during April. I already signed up on the official page and hope you do too. I know several of my favorite bloggers have also accepted the challenge. The more the merrier!

Third, my theme is romance reviews, specifically romantic comedies and romance novels. These will be positive reviews of some of my favorite movies and novels, nothing negative, and all my posts will be family-friendly.

Here’s a taste of what you can expect:

A. Alex and Emma, an underrated romcom gem.

B. Bet Me, one of my favorite Jennifer Crusie novels.

C. Clueless, a sweet romcom based on Jane Austen’s Emma.

I hope you will enjoy the posts, and I look forward to yours. Some interesting themes are happening! 😀

Promptapalooza

No, PROMPTS. 🙄

Gawd.

Questions from Melanie/Sparks:

1) Do You Have Any Guilty Pleasures?

So many! My first one today is boldly copypasting this post in its entirety from Kristian so I could also knock out a pile of prompts at once. I’m sure there will be more. It’s still early.

2) What Is The Worst Pick Up Line You Ever Heard?  

“Hey.”

3) What Slang Or Trend Makes You Feel Old?

When Ariana said dipped ~ I had to look that up. Also dropped, as in an artist dropping a song, which means putting out a song. But dropped still means what it used to mean too ~ dumped, fired, etc. So, I always do a double take when I see drop.

4) What Do You Consider The Most Over-rated Song?

I don’t listen to much current music, so my pick is something like “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston. 🤮

5) You Find A Book And Begin To Read Only To Discover That It Is Your Life. You Get To The Point That You Are At Now, Do You Turn The Page Knowing That You Will Not Be Able To Change The Events To Come?

Is It Going To Be Written In All Initial Caps Like This? Cuz then I hope my death comes swiftly. Hehe.

Questions from Rory

7 and Three Quarters Nutty Questions

A cowboy rode into town on Friday. He stayed in town for three days and rode out on Friday. How is that possible?

Either the horse was named Friday, or the days are lot longer there.

A rooster laid an egg on top of the barn roof. Which way did it roll?

Roosters don’t lay eggs, silly!

A truck driver is going down a one way street the wrong way, and passes at least ten cops. Why is he not caught?

Because he’s walking. And he has bagels to share. Cops love bagels ~ just ask Stan!

A farmer had 752 sheep and took one shot that got them all. How did he do it?

It was a shot of whiskey and it put him right to sleep 💤 … no more sheep to count.

What word is spelled incorrectly in every single dictionary?

Incorrectly. Also wrong is wrong.

What starts with “e” and ends with “e” but only has one letter in it?

Eve, eye, ere, eke, ewe.

What two keys can’t open any door?

Key Largo and Key West.

A man went outside in the pouring rain with no protection, but not a single hair on his head got wet. How come?

He was bald.

Would you rather be trapped in an elevator full of men with BO, three soaked dogs, a basket filled with week-old smelly socks or a box filled with used nappies?

Socks. 😳

Would you rather look like an octopus, act like an octopus or be an octopus?

It would be neat to be an octopus. I highly recommend The Soul of an Octopus. Excellent book! 🐙

If you had the world’s attention for 30 seconds, what would you say?

Buy my books!

Would you rather be able to copy and paste in real life, or undo in real life?

Undo. Or even better “restore to original settings.”

Hope someone got a laugh out of this. 😂

 

Lit Chick [fiction 536]

I didn’t recognize Krista at the café, and she spotted me first. “Emily!” shrieked a gorgeous blonde.

My gawd. It was her! We hugged like we hadn’t seen each other in two years, which, duh, we hadn’t. “Krista, you look amazing! I didn’t even know it was you. You’re so skinny! And blonde!”

She smiled and flipped her hair. “I know, right? Meet the new me. No more dowdy, chubby, pizza-gobbling struggling writer. Now, this girl is a gluten-free, fitness-crazed published author with a movie deal.”

I sat down, overloaded with data. “Holy cow! Congratulations!”

Krista ordered a bottle of champagne. “We need to celebrate my success! What have you been up to?”

“Uhhh, gobbling pizza and struggling, more or less.” I didn’t want to lie to my college bestie. “Assistant to the assistant VP in a giant corporation, hoping to get noticed and promoted. But enough about me. Tell me about your book. A romance novel, I presume?”

The waiter served the champagne, and as Krista lifted her glass of bubbly to clink with mine, an enormous engagement ring glittered on her left hand. Geez, that too?

“This is chick lit,” Krista said. “The new hot thing.”

“Aren’t they the same?” I sipped my bubbly, first I’d had in ages. Then again, what did I have to celebrate? Gaining five pounds? My mother’s endless nagging about how I needed to hurry up and find a husband? My failure to achieve anything at work?

Krista flipped her hair. “Totes different. A romance novel is about the relationship between the protags, and it’s written in third person usually. It describes both the hero and heroine as characters with flaws that they overcome to find happily ever after true love. They’re generally incredibly good-looking too, and the hero is usually a duke or a CEO or a military type guy or a vampire.”

“I like vampires,” I confessed with a giggle as the waiter topped off my glass. He was rather cute actually.

“Chick lit can have vampires too,” Krista said, “but the point is, is it’s much more realistic. The heroine narrates the story in her own true voice without any pesky interruptions from other characters.”

I twirled my glass, watching the pretty bubbles sparkle in the sun. “Pesky. I hate pesky interruptions.”

“Exactly!” Krista covered my hand with her own. “Emily, I could use a loyal, smart friend to help me on the set. I had a bit of an ulterior motive in meeting you today.”

“Um what?”

She laughed. “I’m offering you a job, silly! Come be my assistant and I’ll double your salary, whatever it is. We’ll get you a good stylist and nutritionist, and in a month you’ll be a new person. Hair, makeup, clothes, everything!”

I blinked at her blonde confidence. “A new person? But you’re hiring the old Emily.”

“The new Emily will be even better, trust me.” She tossed a credit card on the table. “Let’s get started today, shall we?”

Just then the waiter winked at me, which I took to be sarcastic. Sure, pity the frumpy friend. Just wait until my makeover!

“Why not?” I said to Krista. “What do I have to lose?”

~*~

Genre Challenge 13: Chick Lit

Little Bit of Soul

Soul mates are the stuff of poetry and romance novels, and who doesn’t love a good fairy tale? It’s hard to believe in a soul mate if you don’t believe in souls though; and souls come packaged up with all that other mystical glitter I can’t quite wrap my brain around. Despite my creative forays, my heart is made of math. One of my favorite lines from a romance novel was “she had his number, and it was 666.” I would credit the book and the author if I could remember either, but I can’t. I don’t think I ever dated the devil, just your ordinary liars and narcissists, but that guy wasn’t the devil of course. They never are, in romance novels. No matter what kind of terrible choice the romance novel heroine appears to be making with her wild and crazy attraction, it’s always exactly the right choice. But that’s because we’re writing her story. I have written my own stories, with my own heroes. Perhaps that’s why I’m solo.

Friday Noms

Well, just one nom actually, from the lovely Laura, but there might be more noms… how would I know, since WordPress has decided I shouldn’t have posts while I sleep. Meh, say the happiness engineers, why should we bother putting posts in her feed between 10pm and 6am? She’s not going to read them while she’s in dreamland, lol! Funny guys (guys being a gender inclusive term in this case). 🙄

Anyhoodle. Thank you, Laura. I appreciate the one nom. I was going to say one measly nom, but that makes me sound ungrateful plus also might get the whole vax debate started up, though why there should be a debate GOD ONLY KNOWS. What a bunch of idiots, amirite? If you don’t want to vax, move to Antarctica. Problem solved. ❄️

I’m supposed to tell all y’all 7 things about me now, as if there are even 7 things left you don’t know (well, there are, but I can’t post them), so I’ll just jabber on a bit and see where it goes. Beware of rambling. 😛

1. I’ve been thinking this week that I don’t have enough time and energy to finish my novel now that I have actual side work that pays. I don’t have hours of free time at night and on weekends to write the way I used to. And I’m not giving up paying work. 💰

2. I have written novels, so it’s not a matter of proving to myself or anyone else that I’m capable of doing it. They’re for sale and have been for years. They don’t sell though, since I’m a nobody with no marketing resources. 🎻

(Please don’t give me marketing advice in comments. I’ve read tons of it, and it’s all way too time intensive for me with minimal payoff. I already have paying work I am not willing to take time away from.)

3. The fact that my novels (and books of short stories and poetry) molder on Amazon year after year, bringing in only a measly dollar or two here or there, doesn’t give me much hope for the success of the next one. Sure, I still enjoy the process of writing because I’m a writer, and I’ll always write when there’s nothing else going on, but then when there’s no money or feedback? Sadness. 😢

4. If I can’t make money from writing, the next best thing is to get people to read my stuff. And I have that right here! Thanks to this fabulous community of supportive WP peeps (along with a few otters), my little blog poems and short stories get read all the time now, which is a great feeling. ❤️

5. I’m tired of feeling stressed every week that I didn’t get “enough” done when I work 7 days a week now, including most nights after my real job when I get home. This doesn’t include chores, shopping, etc. Yes, mostly everyone else does all this too, but there’s no need for me to feel like a failure because I didn’t work on my novel. I can simply take it off the list. ✅

6. Ironically, since the time change, I’ve gotten more sleep… and it’s nice. I don’t feel physically better at all, but it’s so great not to be exhausted and achy. So, perhaps that’s what’s prompted this line of thinking. I just don’t want to feel obligated to write for two hours after working after work. Wtf? That’s nuts. And I don’t want to get up at 4:30am and write. Wtfff??? Who does that?? (Well, I did, many years ago.) 😴

7. What I really should do, if I had any sense (lol) is to prioritize exercise, so I could live long enough to finish all my unfinished writings after I have more time once I retire in 12ish years. Danger, danger… adding more things to list! Assuming, that is, I make it to retirement without getting hit by a truck, drowning in a tsunami, or being bitten by someone’s pet cobra that escapes and comes boinging up in my toilet bowl.

Could happen. 🐍

K. That’s 7, arbitrarily broken into paragraphs and numbered. No tags. You’re all awesome and should jabber on about yourselves too. Not you, Becky. 😀

Nose & Sose

Another Guy Called Bloke Production…

Talked to a complete stranger about life.

Never! Well, except for my blog blabbing and how I used to blurt stuff out to weird men on dating sites and…

Gone skydiving.

That is a 100% no way!

Got a tattoo.

Also nopety nope.

Had an allergic reaction.

So way. My parents called emergency in Chicago for me because I went into anaphylactic shock. The doctor said his best guess was a bee sting from handling fruit. But we don’t really know.

Cried while watching a movie.

Sure, all the time.

Gotten gum stuck in my hair.

I don’t think so.

Fallen asleep in the sun and gotten burned.

Yep. But not recently ~ I avoid bright sun because it’s a migraine trigger.

Over-plucked my eyebrows.

So way, as a silly teenager.

Been in a haunted house.

Only pretend ones.

Fallen asleep during sex.

I don’t remember.

Wore a whipped cream bikini.

No way.

Been to an “adult store”.

So way. The first time was funny. I went with a girlfriend who was too scared to go in, but I was fearless back then. I went in alone. This was in Wisconsin, I think, and I was 18. But once I was inside I lost my nerve a bit, so I just grabbed two paperback books and bought them. They were dumb, of course.

Felt the presence of “paranormal activity”.

I thought it could have been, but I don’t believe in that, so it wasn’t. It makes for good stories and poetry though.

Asked someone when they were due when they weren’t pregnant.

No way. Never. I avoid commenting on people’s body sizes and looks generally except to give bland compliments.

Seen a sex therapist.

Not as a patient, but I had a date with a man who thought he was one. Lolololol. Yes, another one of my wonderful dating experiences. 🤮

Burst out laughing at a really inappropriate time.

Often have the urge but can usually stifle it.

Called someone the wrong name.

I’m sure I have, but I am pretty good with names.

Walked in on a stranger who was butt naked.

In gym locker rooms, yep.

Said you were minutes away when you haven’t even left the house yet.

No. And it’s sofa king irritating how many Californians say everything is 20 minutes from wherever they are when LITERALLY NOTHING IS 20 MINUTES FROM ANYWHERE!!!!! Gahhh why do I even live here???

Fun questions. 🙄

The Weekly Smile

Just a quickie this time. “Anna” finished a new story last weekend and submitted it to the anthology editor. She had been invited to do so. It had been a while since she wrote one of these and it took a few days for her to get back in the mood, so to speak. Let’s hope the editor loves the story. 💖

In the meantime, here is the rest of Anna’s work for you to buy and review! 😀

FPQ 17: Misty Memories

So, I decided to ask a question about human memory, which has been shown to be incredibly unreliable. With that in mind, here is this week’s provocative question:

“How do you know which of your memories are genuine and which have been altered over time or even made up?”

We don’t. We’ve all read a novel or three where it turns out that every memory the protagonist thought was real had been implanted for some nefarious purpose. Or in the case of The Key to Midnight, real memories were erased in order to save a person from being murdered. (Shock! When I looked up this book just now to make sure I remembered it accurately, it turned out that yes I did, but the author was using a ‘nym. It was actually written by the horror writer Dean Koontz!)

But in reality, most of us are not so special that gobblement operatives are screwing with our minds. More than, you know, shoveling subliminal political messages at us on Facebook and stuff obviously. I think we can rest assured that we’ve not been whisked off to a medical lab in the middle of the night by agents in black suits and our heads flooded full of fake thoughts.

Many of our so-called real memories can be at least somewhat verified by photographic evidence and the accounts of other people who were present. We can usually nail down dates and locations of events ~ though not always, as Fandango points out, which gave him the idea for his post. And there’s also the problem of many similar events blurring together over time. Or something that sounds so real it feels like it must have happened, but was only discussed vividly and repeatedly.

My parents are gone, so now I’m the only one to tell my daughters stories about the past. I hope they’re correct, but there really is no one around to check me. There are things I was told and never questioned, but sometimes I wonder about them now. It doesn’t really matter though… soon all this will be swept away like it never was.

Of course, there’s a world of difference in trying to be honest and accurate, but getting a few details wrong or even an entire setting because your memory went blip, and deliberately gaslighting or being deceptive with the goal of hurting a person for your own benefit, whatever that benefit may be, financial or otherwise. Those things have been done to me and I don’t forgive the people who did them.

My Share-ona

QUESTIONS from Sparks…

What’s the first thing you notice about a person?

-How interested they are in me.

What three habits do you feel would improve someone’s life?

-Buying all my books.
-Paying me to write more books.
-Posting positive reviews of my books.

What takes up too much of your time?   Would you stop that if you could?

-Not writing. Yep.

Cookies (biscuits to those elsewhere), pastries, pie or cake?   If not, what does your sweet tooth crave?

-Cupcakes!

Gratitude?  Are You Happy?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

-I’m okay.