Category Archives: Books

Combo Question Time!

Sadje nominated everyone to answer these questions and I thought I’d have a go. Yes, I’m procrastinating, but I have written a lot on my novel lately, so there. 😛

1. How long have you been blogging?

– Since the end of 2003 (I’ve had several blogs).

2. Do your friends and family support you in this?

– No one cares.

3. Which is your favorite time of the day?

4. What would be your dream vacation?

– Stay home, read, write, watch movies, get massages, have a personal chef deliver meals.

5. What genre of movies [do] you like best?

– Depends on my mood. Good romcoms, mafia flicks, interesting psychological dramas, GOOD comedy, musicals!

6. What do you wake up to?

7. Are you a morning person?

– After a hot shower and hot tea.

8. What motivates you?

– Organization.

9. How do you think your friends see you?

– Don’t know.

10. What would be your idea for saving the environment from pollution ?

– Scoop up all the garbage and dump it on Mars.

11. Happy or peaceful, what is more important to you?

That’s it for Sadje. Now we go to Fandango, who has answered some Q’s about blogging from Calmkate and recommended we all do likewise. Sounds good to me!

What led you to start?

– When I first began blogging in 2003, it was because all the writers I knew had started to blog, so I thought I should too. Of course, they were blogging about their books and publishing contracts, but I didn’t have those things, so I just jabbered on about cats and cupcakes.

Has your motivation changed since starting?

– Not really. I still like cupcakes. In fact, today I saw on my Nextdoor app that a bakery just opened on Newport Blvd and they have these adorable cupcakes that look like little baby cactus plants, omg! I’ll have to go over there. 😀❤️🧁

What has the experience been like?

– Well, I made lots of friends (yay!) and had to deal with a couple stalkers (boo) and got into a big flamewar with some pit bull freaks and ended up closing that blog and opening a really tame one but it was too boring and then there was the private one during my mom’s illness and I quit for a while but missed it too much so I began this one to cope with my sads over the married man and didn’t even post much for a long time but here we are.

Have you learned anything?

– Never ever ever mention pit bulls.

Has your writing style changed?

– I go through various annoying phases but overall no.

Are you planning to write a novel or are you already published?

– Yes and yes.

What advice would you give to a new blogger?

– I’m just going to say what I like, which people can feel free to disregard. Talk about yourself or offer something interesting whether info or fiction or photos. Don’t make your blog a dry piece of toast that’s an impersonal pile of links or advice or god forbid news. We can google that stuff ~ no one is reading blogs to get links to Buzzfeed articles or shopping tips. We know how to find this stuff on our own. Figure out another way to monetize because that’s just too damn boring; I’ve unfollowed everyone who does this.

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Sunday Song Lyrics

Jim took my suggestion of laughter for the Sunday prompt. Thanks, Jim! 🙂

As the regulars know, the keyword doesn’t have to be in the song title. This week I’m choosing one of my favorite Beatles’ songs, “Norwegian Wood,” to fulfill the prompt. I’ve always loved this intriguing song on its own, and enjoyed it even more after one of my favorite writers, Haruki Murakami, took it for the title of a novel, which I loved, of course. TIL that John Lennon wrote the song in 1965 to let his wife subtly know he was having an affair.

“Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”

I once had a girl
Or should I say
She once had me

She showed me her room
Isn’t it good
Norwegian wood

She asked me to stay
And she told me to sit anywhere
So I looked around
And I noticed there wasn’t a chair

I sat on a rug
Biding my time
Drinking her wine

We talked until two
And then she said
“It’s time for bed”

She told me she worked in the morning
And started to laugh

I told her I didn’t
And crawled off to sleep in the bath

And when I awoke
I was alone
This bird had flown

So I lit a fire
Isn’t it good
Norwegian wood

The Friday Four

A Guy Called Bloke Production

1] Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

– I’m an introvert. But I’m not pathologically introverted ~ I don’t have anxiety about calling peeps on the phone or interacting in person, and I’ve even done a couple stand-up comedy routines. I just prefer not to. I like to be at home with my kitty, 🐱 writing in relative quiet. But I’ll do the other stuff from time to time, or even often, because life. Part of my issue with “doing things” isn’t being with people so much (though I do joke about that) ~ it’s being on the road. Traveling in a vehicle is very dangerous; there are around 30,000 deaths per year on the roads, not to mention injuries. That’s terrifying. I have a lot of anxiety about driving and other drivers, but I believe it’s quite justified.

2] What makes you feel complete, whole or accomplished?

– I enjoy office work. I like being thanked and knowing I helped get a project done. I also like completing an organizing or decluttering task and seeing all the things in their Rightful Places, whether at home or at work.

3] Do you judge a book by its cover?

– Sometimes I am guilty of this, in both directions. 😱

4] What’s the one thing that people always misunderstand about you?

– People take my fiction literally. Ah, if only I had done the all things I write about… what an interesting life that would have been!

My First Mystery

… award that is!

A big thanks to Kristian for the nom. He has a very entertaining blog and it’s hard to believe it’s less than a year old!

The Rules:

1. Put the award logo on your blog. ✅

2. List the rules. ✅

3. Thank whoever nominated you and include a link to their blog. ✅

4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well.❓

5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself. 🆗

6. Nominate 10-20 people. ⚠️

7. Notify your nominees. ⚠️

8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice, specifying one weird/funny question. 🚫

9. Share a link to your best post(s). 💤

Three Things:

1. I’ve never seen Titanic.

2. I’ve been wearing tights under pants because it’s so cold in SoCal.

3. I usually cry at other people’s sad animal stories, and sometimes at happy ones too.

Questions from Kristian:

1. Name something you like to see in a book, that makes you want to read further.

– A kitty or puppy.

2. What would make you want to stop reading a book?

– The author intruding with his/her political opinions in fiction.

3. If they produced the story of your life, what genre would it be?

– Medical: “A Cure for Insomnia” 💤

4. If you could have a plane ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

– NorCal.

5. What advice would you like to give to your ten-year-old self?

– Go to Northwestern!

As for the rest, my nominees and questions, I shall use this handy-dandy card from Rory. 😀

My Own Worlds (200 words)

My father was never lost; he just took the scenic routes. This infuriated my mother, who had created plans and made motel reservations. She would read the road map while Dad meandered along a new route in a strange state until she got a headache. Eventually, he’d get to where we were supposed to be, accompanied by a lot of shouting, his good mood disappeared and all of us starving. Luckily, we never had to sleep in the car.

In the meantime, I tuned my parents out by curling up in the back seat with books, immersing myself in new worlds with new characters. I let the scenery whoosh by my window unobserved. I wanted to escape into my mind, into a fantasy land where people weren’t screaming over maps and whether we were lost.

I was lost in a kaleidoscope of fiction. Sometimes the newly spun world was a doggie story and later they became mysteries. In my teen years, I got hooked on romance novels. Eventually, I began to wonder if I could create my own worlds of words, spin my own colorful tales for others to lose themselves in. It all began during those stressful driving “vacations.”

~*~

50-Word Thursday (sets of 50)

Three Things Challenge

FPQ9: Struggle Bunny

This week Fandango asks two (2!) provocative questions, and we can answer one or both. Or none, if we’re party poopers. But I’ve always gone for extra credit points, so both it is!

“What are you struggling with the most right now?”

I’ve been trying to lose the five pounds I gained last year and it’s a struggle. I’m not used to dieting these days, plus the fact that I don’t eat that much to begin with, so it’s very difficult to cut back from my normal small meals. What would have been best is not to have gained in the first place. 🙄

Fandango sez:

Some of you might be uncomfortable answering such a personal and possibly intrusive question. And that’s why I’m going to pose an alternative question:

“As a blogger, do you enjoy ‘virtual relationships’? Do you consider them to be real?”

First, let me laugh at the idea that I would not answer a personal and possibly intrusive question… 😂😂😂

Second, yes and yes. I enjoyed virtual relationships long before I became a blogger, so blogging has nothing to do with it. The minute I discovered the internet and found a universe of weird funny punny writing type people who wanted to discuss topics other than baby food and carpet samples, I was into VRs. (Later, I found more interesting people in meatspace, but that took a while.)

I liken virtual people to the Velveteen Rabbit from the children’s book. They’re all real to me, as they exist in their own worlds and the internet gives us a way to connect. I imagine they view only certain aspects of me, not me as a whole complete bunny, and that’s okay. It’s not like people in meatspace get me all that well either ~ sometimes a lot less actually.

But here’s the weird thing: many times I prefer the virtual relationship. It’s more cerebral, it’s all in chosen words, and it’s easier to walk away from (if necessary). I like a relationship made of writings to savor and reread. I like creating my part of the relationship, thoughtfully, out of words, not awkwardly out of blurty speech and clumsy actions. And I like being able to delete it completely when I’m done.

And Fandango thought the first question was more personal!

Fandango Made Me Do It

I thought I was gonna get away with just one post today because it was that long FTS thingie, but now Fandango accused me of saying his prompts aren’t fun, which I did not! If he still believes I did, I’ll issue a politician’s apology: please forgive me if you feel offended.

Now that I’ve bothered to begin more jabberish, I may as well shovel in the rest of the prompts. I hope you’ll all show me the proper amount of gratitude for that.

You may have noticed I’m spelling post the normal way. Getting bored with lolcat. It’s been a while. The dogs bark, and the circus moves on. (Look it up.) I don’t like to get too predictable, too trapped into a pattern of behavior. That stifles creativity.

As part of my recovery, my reclaiming of my time and my own goals, I have not been Ms. Hospitality. I can’t be. In order to do all my paying work, take care of my health, and focus on my writing, I’ve had to cut back dramatically on entertainment. I no longer go to movies or meetups. I don’t date or chat on FB. I don’t watch the newest stuff on Prime and Netflix. I accept very few social invites and issue even fewer. Etc.

I do, however, blog and tweet, since I find both of these communities conducive to writing. I was going to join a book club, but that didn’t work out, which is probably for the best. I do try to read a few books per month, except for November when I NaNo. Because family is everything, they get priority… but luckily they’re mostly too busy for me!

QoQ

Haven’t done a pile of questions in a few days and these are about one of my fave topics… food!

Today’s questions:

1. What is your favorite chocolate dessert?

– Here’s (yet another) weird thing about me. I love chocolate in its pure form, like a delicious truffle, but not that much in cake or ice cream ~ though I do love choc chip cookies. I have a favorite brownie, which is like candy, in that its from the Ghirardelli mix with extra fudgy wudgy gooeyness. But only that brownie.

2. Where do you go first in the grocery store?

– Produce

3. You win three minutes of free shopping in the grocery store with an empty cart…what do you fill it with?

– All the books

4. What is your favorite fruit and how do you like to eat it?

– Mango, dripping over the sink like a barbarian

5. You go to a magic cafe where plates fill with whatever you request…what do you get?

– Seafood pasta

6. How do you like your fish?

– COOKED

7. Do you eat jello (what is your favorite flavor)?

– Meh

8. What is the most, ahem, “adult” food you can think of?

– Grape Nuts 😝

9. What food do you eat that might put you in the “old” age?

– Salad?

10. Mall food courts…yes, no, where do you eat?

– Barf, those places are disgusting. Panda Express! 😂

Staying Positive 🎉

I’m taking a cue from Revolutionary Musings and calling my plans for 2019 “goals,” not “resolutions.” When I think about the word resolution, it makes me feel I’ve done something wrong and need to improve. There’s the constant worry and pressure that I’ll fail ~ and isn’t that what so many people say? They’ve failed to keep their resolutions. Or they don’t even make any because they know they’ll fail. I want to be more upbeat this year. ☀️

Goals are positive. Even if we don’t reach them completely we can say we’ve made progress, and progress is good. Last year, I wrote/finished two new poetry books and they’re up for sale now on Amazon, and I completed the NaNoWriMo 50K word challenge. I’m proud of myself! 😀 Did I complete all my 2018 goals? No. But I don’t feel like a failure. I’ve made progress and will continue to do so.

For 2019, I want to finish my novel Ghosted. A novel is harder than poetry or a book of short stories, since when working full-time it takes an immense amount of focus day after day crammed into bits of free space. If I break my concentration for a couple weeks to “have a life,” it’s difficult to get that focus back. But this is the plan and I anticipate finishing my novel by the end of the year.

I also want to exercise more, which is a thing I say every year, and each year I feel worse and do less, but that doesn’t mean I should abandon the goal. This past year I was not very active at all and though I can’t do a lot, I can do a little, and I want to do that little bit. Realistically, there will be days I can do nothing but slog through from morning to night and congratulate myself for simply existing with chronic pain, but every day isn’t like that, TG. Those better days are days I can exercise.

Forex today. I planned to take a long (for me) walk to start the year off nicely. But I awoke with a migraine ~ not from booze, lol. I don’t drink alcohol. But I stayed up very late and it’s crazy windy too, both of which are triggers. Anyway, I’ve taken meds and later will exercise to a video instead of going outdoors. This is just how it is ~ I have to accept it and work within the parameters instead of giving up. 👊🏻

Regarding blogging. It brings me great joy, both writing and interacting with people who love to write. Those last three words are key though. I’ve culled some blogs from my list recently that weren’t much about the joy of writing and only about getting us to click links. No thx.

But there’s more. I like participating in the prompts; however, I don’t understand why some of them require so much kooky hoop-jumping. Linking back to the prompt post should be enough. I have created a few new tags for my faves, okay. But I’m not going to click frogs or create more tags or follow a pile of arbitrary rules just to bring more readers to the prompt host. In the end, it’s the host who gets the clicks, let’s remember this. ✅

My goal for 2019 is to get more reading and writing joy out of every minute I spend immersed in the world of words, so things that contribute to this goal have a solid place in that world… and things that don’t or that gobble up more time than they’re worth, do not. 👎🏻

Going along with this goal is reading less news. Most of the “news” isn’t really news ~ it’s tabloid type crap and a waste of my time, more of an addiction really. He said/she said, insults, rehashing, garbage about celebs and the royals, blah. It’s only going to get worse with the 2020 election coming up. 👿 I don’t need to read every scrap of nasty gossip and all the hot takes on what someone else said and who is banned from where. It’s simply tiresome.

I may begin doing some photos again, with a catch ~ they’ll be new photos. No more spending gobs of time trawling through old albums taking photos of photos. Bleh! If I happen to catch a shot of something that goes with one of the City Sonnet themes, cool. This aligns with my goal of having fun blogging and interacting with bloggers, but not wasting time doing boring, obsessive stuffs.

Onto forming happier, more productive traditions!

2018 Wrap Party

This was an interesting year.

I gave up both Facebook and dating sites early in the year. Spent 2017 depressed about both, ostensibly for different reasons but ultimately the same ~ I had devoted a huge amount of time to the pursuit of long-distance friendships and local relationships via both those venues and the end result was similar: meh.*

What’s that BS about how you get out what you put in? Yeah right.

Anyway, I decided to splurge on myself by reclaiming my time and emotional energy, and this was a great gift. I’ve been so much happier and more productive since. In April, I released a poetry book that I finally had time to finish… and yesterday I just released another one. I hope you’ll check them out: All She Wrote (April book) and Monochrome (December book).

In June, it was my absolute joy to welcome my new baby granddaughter to the world. She brings total love and sweetness to my life, and I’m thankful for all the wonderful family time I’ve had this year.

At some point during 2018, a WordPress prompt site closed up shop. Zillions of us who love to natter on about nothing had the big sads. A handful of bloggers stepped up and created their own prompts, which was very cool of them… but then a weird thing happened. Instead of popping over to the site, grabbing the prompt, and writing to our same audience, we began to actually interact with these new prompters and their followers. We started to play more writing games and follow each other and turn into a supportive creative community of awesome!

In October, I was lucky to be able to take a week off from work to help my daughter in NorCal. Also, I got to bond with her new puppy. Last week I had an amazing time with both my daughters, their hubbies, and the baby. Family rocks!

On Thanksgiving, I had a super fun time with friends at the LA Zoo, and yesterday we went up to Simi to visit the Reagan Library. I hope to visit more museums and local points of interest in 2019. Though I was into movies for a while, I find lately I’m feeling rather indifferent toward them.

I have tons of books to read! Not literally, since most are on my Kindle. And now it’s time to begin integrating the mess I wrote on Ghosted during NaNoWriMo with my main novel document. Oh fun. After that, I have to write “the ending,” by which I mean the last third of the book.

And to wrap up the wrap, for the past 7 years, I’m beyond lucky and grateful and thankful that I get to share my life with this amazing lil dude. ❤️🐱❤️

*I treasure my friendships that transcend FB. Not talking about you great folks.