Tag Archives: PFF

PFF7: Floating

Welcome to my Friday Flashback! This post originally appeared here on July 19, 2011. I still like it. Haven’t read any more Naomi Ragen, but I gifted some of her novels to my youngest daughter, who enjoyed them too.

Tiny Paper Boats

“Close your eyes. Let your worries go. Imagine tiny paper boats holding little candles sent off on a dark river, each boat carrying another worry. Watch them float away into the distance. You know they are there as they sail past you, but you are no longer connected to them. You are cleansed, empty of care. They are distant. Listen to your inner voice without worry or sadness. Stifle for a moment your own human noise. Listen to the Divine conversation.” [The Tenth Song by Naomi Ragen]

I love this quote, and this novel. Yes, it swerves into faith, but I choose to gloss over that and focus on the rest of the message. The Divine doesn’t have to be Big Beardy … it can be whatever I want it to be. This candle-in-the-boat really works for me as a relaxation method. It’s very specific and organized.

I read a few of Ragen’s novels years ago and the other week found this one at the library. So glad I picked it up. Now I want to read the rest of them, if available.

PFF6 ~ Forgettable

Welcome to my Friday Flashback! This post originally appeared here on July 12, 2017, a mere two years ago. Some people (women) are unforgettable, larger than life, and you retain vivid memories of them decades after your last meeting. Even if you’ve only met them briefly, something about their looks or vibe is utterly captivating.

I’m not one of these women. People forget me instantly. They forget my name and that they ever met or knew me. Men who slept with me don’t even recall it. I’m bland and ephemeral. Light as air. I should have been a spy, blending into the scenery wherever I roamed. I do like staying home though.

Windsong

I can’t seem to forget you…
Your 
Windsong stays on my mind.

Remember that commercial for the Prince Matchabelli perfume from 1980? I thought about it tonight when I unexpectedly ran across someone online from years ago and remembered him, but he had no memory of me at all. It was so vivid for me too, that connection we had during a time that was intense and painful for both of us, about a decade ago, and yet… it clearly meant nothing to him. Nothing at all. He apologized for failing to remember me, but it’s happened before, many times.

When I messaged this man, I was so… buoyant. I think that’s a good word for the emotion I felt earlier today. I had to shop at Target, and the whole time I was a bit floaty, thinking to myself how wonderful it would be to chat with someone who knew me from the time before… before the divorce, before my mother was gone. Why this is important to me, I don’t know. But it is. And so for a couple hours I felt light and happy, certain that my life would take a new direction as the man and I renewed our friendship.

I came home, put my stuff away, fed my kitty, fed the feral kitties (all three were around tonight!), got a snack, logged back on, and after a little while a message arrived. The man did not remember me. Oh well. Then that old commercial jingle popped into my head and I wondered if it would be possible to find it on YouTube. Of course… first hit.

[I replaced the dead video with a new one.]

PFF5 ~ Holy Matrimony!

Welcome to my Friday Flashback! This post originally appeared here on July 5, 2014. I hope you enjoy the romance novel review even if you aren’t a fan of the genre.

At The Duke’s Wedding

At The Duke’s Wedding [dead link deleted] is a collection of four novellas, all set at a grand old English estate during the week of festivities surrounding the wedding of the Duke of Wessex. Each novella has a different author.

 

WARNING ~ SPOILERS ABOUND ~ CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK!

 

1. That Rogue Jack by Maya Rodale. This story is incredibly, tediously stupid. Jack is a gorgeous moron who misplaces the heirloom wedding ring he picked up for the groom from a jeweler. Inexplicably, the bride-to-be requests great grand Aunt Whozis’ companion, Henrietta, to get moronic Jack to hand over the ring. They spend days sneaking around trying to find it because Jack, who is a moron, can’t remember where he put it. As they do this, they fall in love. That’s the plot.

2. I was going to stop reading after that first awful story, but decided that wasn’t fair to the other authors. Glad I continued. In P.S. I Love You (by Miranda Neville), the witty and poetic scarred-face Christian reluctantly agrees to write love letters to Rosanne for his boring but good-looking cousin Frank. Of course Chris falls in love with Rosanne because her letters are so charming, and she with him, though of course she thinks he’s Frank. When they all meet at the Duke’s place, complications ensue. Predictable, but actually good.

3. When I Met My Duchess by Caroline Linden.  This story is about the Duke himself, who is not some old gross gouty fellow but young and beefcakey, and how he falls for his betrothed’s hot and unconventional sister the moment she steps down from her carriage in front of his house. Oopsy. I liked it. 

4. How Angela Got Her Rogue Back by Katharine Ashe. The title is misleading and also clunky ~ unforgiveable! But let us proceed. This story involves time-travel, which I don’t mind at all, if it makes some kind of sense. Even a little bit of sense will do. Modern-day Angela materializes at the Duke’s party 200 years earlier after reading a weird book and falling into a Michigan river. That was OK, but less so was the convoluted blackmail scheme she thwarts to save Viscount Studmuffin’s family. What really bugs the crap out of me though is when Angela ~poof~ vanishes again for no reason. I totally lost interest in the story right there. But I finished it of course, and read the teaser for an upcoming story, which has the Duke’s little sister finding Angela’s cell phone…

Onward!

PFF4: Ommmm

Welcome to my Friday Flashback! This post originally appeared here on June 29, 2011, and my feelings haven’t changed. It’s great to zone out with a repetitive yet productive task to get centered. This week I also had a bunch of shredding to do, so the post is timely as well.

The Zen of Shredding

Sometimes when I’m upset, nothing beats a repetitive task that (1) is a little bit physical, and (2) makes a moderate amount of noise. So yesterday I shredded paper all day, which was great. Shred shred shred. Just feed the sheets in, not too many, maybe 8 at a time … zaLOOP, keep them going in, left hand, right hand. Soon the red light comes on indicating “basket full.”

Get a big trash bag. Unplug shredder. Pull out basket. Hold trash bag open with one hand … plunge other hand into slightly warm mass of crinkly confetti, scoop into bag, handful by handful. Pull individual paper pieces from blades (my favorite part). Slide basket back into machine. Plug in. Turn on. Tune out.

Drip in a little oil.

Start over again.

~*~

Please check out my book Going Dark, free on a special promotion right now! No worries if you don’t have a Kindle ~ you can download a Kindle app for phone or tablet, easy peasy. Don’t forget to review my book after you read it. Thanks a million!

PFF3: POV PP

Paula’s Friday Flashback this week is a post from June 21, 2013, wherein I rant about point of view switching within scenes. Enjoy!

Minor peeve. I was careless with “only” in my post. Sorry about that.

Point of View

Sorry, got distracted.

One of my huge pet peeves while reading is a mid-scene POV switch. This shouldn’t be a problem in a first-person novel (one would hope), but writers will switch deliberately or sloppily while writing in third. Grrrr! In olden days, it was acceptable to write in scattershot POV, but the contemporary way is to keep to one character’s viewpoint per scene (and sometimes per chapter).

This makes a lot of sense if you think about it. The reader can relax and trust the writer to put you inside one character’s head at a time, with sensory data and thoughts being processed by him or her (or it, if non-human). You only know what that character knows during this time, feel what she feels, etc. If the story is a romance, you’re there with her wondering if the hero will ever return from his quest. If the story is a murder, you’re right there with the detective putting the clues together.

I recently read a short story in workshop where two men were involved in a tense situation, involving a possible murder, and the POV flipped from one to the other. It was difficult to get “into” the story fully because of this and it also led to confusion about who was thinking/feeling what at times. When we know the writer has stuck us inside only one character’s head, these problems are mitigated simply by the fact that anyone’s thoughts or feelings are THAT guy’s. We don’t have to wonder.

Someone said that wrt to a novel you should write a scene from the POV of the character who has the most to lose at that point. I’d like to say this is a Jennifer Crusie quote, but I can’t remember and CBA looking it up at 5:30am. It makes a lot of sense and doesn’t only apply to romance novels of course. Though I find it the most irritating when a romance novelist (either deliberately or stupidly) has a switch in a sex scene. It’s so distracting. This is the perfect example of a time you need to stay inside one character’s head for the duration of a scene and not mess up. I think this is why I had to give Animal Attraction only two stars on Goodreads. That just bugged the hell out of me. And Shalvis is not a beginning writer, so no excuses.

I’m not sure how any of this applies to second person. I haven’t written anything that way, too annoying, nor did I read BLBC. I think second is like first though, but with this hipstery distancing thing going on, right? I don’t know. Can’t deal with it.

Whatever. DON’T SWITCH MID-SCENE. Ever. This is one of those rules that you don’t break even when you are all jaded and above following rules.

PFF2: Crabby Book Review

Welcome to the second edition of Paula’s Friday Flashback! For this one, I present a crabby book review I wrote on June 14, 2013. What makes this funny (to me) is that just yesterday I was defending the entire romance novel genre from that twit Nicholas Sparks, but here 6 years ago I was disgusted with it myself! Hah. That’s probably because I was dating back then and trying desperately to blame my poor choices on anything other than my own bad judgment. Oh, it must be because I was overly influenced by romance novels. Sure, Jan.

Or maybe I’m just inconsistent. Whatever!

*

Animal Attraction

By Jill Shalvis. I gave this book a 2-star rating (“it was okay”) on Goodreads even though I enjoyed it for the most part, but I’ve given better books a 3-star, and I want to have some sense of fairness in my ratings.

As I thought objectively about AA, and disregarded the fact that I ripped through it because it was fun and sexy and had a kitty (and lots of other aminals too ~ hero Dell was a vet), I realized it had one of the Fatal Flaws of romance novel writing. The “plot,” such as it was, hinged on the premise that there was an End Date looming, a date at which our heroine Jade absolutely had to leave Sunshine, Idaho and return home to Chicago, therefore preventing Jade and Dell from becoming emotionally entangled, which they would resist in any case since Dell was one of those emotionally unavailable kind of guys we all break our hearts over in real life though in RNs they always become available which upfucks the brains of women who read these STUPID BOOKS but I digress, and they both knew this. (Of course Jade tried not to become physically involved with him either, but that didn’t work. Obviously.)

But as it turned out the End Date was totally arbitrary ~ Jade didn’t have to leave. She had made a promise to her family she’d come home, mostly because they’d been nagging her unreasonably, and since she was a 30 year old woman, it would have been totally acceptable, if not downright advisable, for her to tell them, dudes, I found a good job, a cool apartment, and a great boyfriend here in Idaho, so BACK OFF, I’m staying indefinitely. And so basically there was no plot if you discount this made up out of thin air date. If you do discount the date, then the whole story becomes this whiny thing of ermahgerd I gotta go, can’t let myself fall for hunkyvet, and him thinking why must she go, everyone abandons me just like mommy. Bleh.

Plus there were sloppy POV switches within scenes (annoying and unforgivable!) and missing quotation marks, super-distracting. Upside, the dialog was great and witty, and there were fun minor characters. Shalvis has a ton of books available and I can tell from the blurbs and reviews (however positive) that they’re all gonna be about the same. But one was enough for me.

~*~

Check out Fandango’s FF, where this whole idea originated. It’s all his fault! 😂

Paula’s Friday Flashback

Fandango has yet another great idea! Is there no end to them? (Rhetorical.) He suggests we repost an older post today to give our readers a {{{ fLAsHBacK }}} to days gone bye. Now, I am not following directions precisely (when do I ever?) cuz I used to not only skip bunches of days but also delete posts on whims. Crazy wot? So, this particular post I’m sharing is dated June 6, 2011, which was yesterday. Deal with it!

More on Romance and Porn

Because you are not tired of this topic yet, nope. 🙂

(Look, it was either this or complaining about how my dad can’t handle his banking any longer and now I have to pay his bills on top of all my other monumental burdens like, um, deciding whether to blog or hem my beige pants.)

So this Salon article, which was criticizing a hit piece targeting romance novels, purportedly set out to defend both porn and romance, but did neither very well. Sometimes I wonder why I visit Salon at all; so much of the writing is pure crap.

But that’s not what I’m here to discuss. I followed the link to the KSL article warning women away from the potential addiction of romance novels, which I have to say was much better written than the Salon piece, even if you disagreed with it. I suppose there is a nugget of truth to the idea that if you spend all day every day reading about perfect alpha fantasy men you’ll eventually find your own normal lump of a husband not measuring up in comparison, but most women aren’t going to be consuming romance novels like the way they eat bags of Snickers bars in the closet for Pete’s sake.  (Not SAYIN’ anyone here does that with the Snickers bars, ahem.)

Never mind that in any case. I followed a sidebar link from the KSL piece to Moore to the Point’s romance novel bloggery. Obviously this is a religious dude with an agenda, but so what if he makes a good argument, I say. And I’m saying that.

Both are based on an illusion. Pornography is based on the illusion of a perfectly willing, always aroused partner without the “work” of relational intimacy. Often romance novels or their film equivalents do the same thing for the emotional needs of women that pornography offers for the erotic urges of men.

And in both cases, what the “market” wants is sameness. Men want the illusion of women who look just like women but are, in terms of sexual response, just like men. Women want the illusion of men who are “real” men, but, in terms of a concept of romance, are just like women. In both artificial eros and artificial romance, there is the love of the self, not the mystery of the other.

Ooh. Interesting, no? I think so! Discuss. I have to get ready for work.

~*~

I don’t actually have to get ready for work today, June 7, 2019, cuz I took the day off to celebrate National Donut 🍩 Day!

P.S. My dad passed away March 11, 2013.