The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, October 13, 2017

Books, Blood and Book Blurb # 80

       Tomorrow I will be participating in an indie author event at Spencer Road Branch Library in St. Charles. Several writing friends will also be there, including Donna Volkenannt, Linda O'Connell, Lynn Obermoeller and Pat Wahler. Maybe Marcia Gaye? Probably others I'm forgetting to mention...

      If you live in the area, drop by. It's from 10-2. There will be refreshments, along with over 100 authors eager to talk about (and sell) their books...

      So, you might be busy tomorrow, but you're looking for something to do on Tuesday evening, something that involves blood? How about giving a pint? St. James the Greater School (1360 Tamm Avenue) is having a blood drive on Tuesday, Oct. 17 from 3-6:30. Of course, after a blood donation, you need to eat something. There are several wonderful restaurants right on Tamm, as you head back up the few blocks to Oakland... Seamus McDaniels, Felix's and Nora's (which has snagged national acclaim for its sandwiches). And at Seamus and Felix's, I know you can drink a pint (or two). I will be there at my school, working with a couple of my 8th graders, along with donating blood.


     And now onto back-of-the-book blurb business...
        
         Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your bookYou choose the genre. Is it a how-to book on making hand puppets? Is it sci-fi... birds and hands have mated, resulting in new creatures? You decide.

         Write an enticing blurb--150 words or less. (The title doesn't count in the word count.) Blurbs are those enticing bits that prod you into buying the book. Sometimes they're on the back cover of the book. Sometimes they're on the inside front cover. What they always try to do is lure you into purchasing the book. 

          Lisa Ricard Claro was the original creator of this writing challenge. She moved to Florida, and is too busy to host a weekly book blurb. Her first romance novel, Love Built to Last, just came out as an audio book. Her newest project? A B & B & B--a bed and breakfast and barkery. Lisa is constructing a bed and breakfast out of her piles of rejection letters (you can't be as successful as Lisa without getting lots of rejection), and off to the side of the bed and breakfast will be a bakery for dogs (and cats). Fortunately, she has offered her St. Louis writing friends a free stay whenever they head to Florida.

          Thanks, Lisa.
         
          Okay, back to book blurb stuff.
     
          Include your blurb in a blog post. Include a link to this post. Also, link your post to Mr. Linky. Mr. Linky is easy. If you've never done it, you'll be impressed with how simple he is. And then, check out the other blurb(s). It's interesting to see the different directions writers take, given the same photo.

        Here's the book cover, along with my blurb: 




Et Tu, Toucan?

Bernie had his own business. He did puppet shows at kids’ birthday parties. He entertained at cocktail events, when rich folks need a little diversion before a symphony concert started tuning up.

But recently, disturbing things are happening.

Bernie’s hand puppets--intricately painted onto his hands along with onto the hands of his assistants--have turned on him. It’s strange, but the hand puppets have grown backbones of their own.
They talk back. And what they say is not very nice.

“Hey Buddy. You really slopped the paint on at the end of my tail. What a slob you’ve become.” (This was stage-whispered during a preschool party.)

“Hey, Jerk. Your knuckles are way too hairy to pull off this snake puppet. Have you ever thought of shaving? I mean, really.”

Will Bernie be able to give those hand puppets a slap on the wrist? Or, will they completely take over? (148 words)



And for those who want to work ahead, here is the photo for this next week:



Saturday, October 7, 2017

A Dog's Dream Come True... and Back-of-the-Book Blurb #79

         One night Winnie's dream came true.

          Winnie is a three-year old golden retriever from Turkey. She's been living on her own for most of her life, probably. She's had at least one litter of pups, and came to the U.S. starved. She's been here a week. (You can feel all her ribs, and every time we open the refrigerator, her head is inside the fridge, nosing around. When we open the dog food tub, her head in buried in the food, in a helpie-selfie all-you-can-eat-in-two-seconds buffet.)

         Winnie's eating three meals a day in an attempt to get some meat on her bones.

         One night this week I was filling the dog food tub. I guess I wasn't quite calculating (correctly) where I'd cut the bag open, because a couple of cups of dry dog food spilled out onto the floor. The pieces skiddled all over the place.

         Winnie was on clean-up patrol immediately. Since I was about to feed her dinner anyway, I let her enjoy herself.

          As far as Winnie's concerned, it was a perfect night... And now onto book blurb stuff.

            Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your bookYou choose the genre. Is it a love story about a feline and the bus driver? Is it an insider's tale, exposing the horrors of the lives of feral cats? Is it the true crime story of a cat stalking Morris the cat? You decide.

         Write an enticing blurb--150 words or less. (The title doesn't count in the word count.) Blurbs are those enticing bits that prod you into buying the book. Sometimes they're on the back cover of the book. Sometimes they're on the inside front cover. What they always try to do is lure you into purchasing the book. 

          Lisa Ricard Claro was the original creator of this writing challenge. She moved to Florida, and is too busy to host a weekly book blurb. Her first romance novel, Love Built to Last, just came out as an audio book. Her newest project? A writing retreat center on the beach. Writers rent beach cabanas, unlimited drinks are included, and the cabana boys either look like Viggo Mortensen or Jason Momoa. Therefore, Lisa doesn't have time to host this anymore.

          Okay, back to book blurb stuff.
     
          Include your blurb in a blog post. Include a link to this post. Also, link your post to Mr. Linky. Mr. Linky is easy. If you've never done it, you'll be impressed with how simple he is. And then, check out the other blurb(s). It's interesting to see the different directions writers take, given the same photo.

        Here's the book cover, along with my blurb: 


Enough is Enough is Enough

Marvin Hall’s wife needed him. If he wasn’t around, she’d feel useless.
He left dirty dishes in the sink. She enjoyed scrubbing the plates after the food had turned to concrete. He dropped his towel onto the bathroom floor showering. Melissa, his wife, would invariably pick up the towel and hang it up where it belonged. Marvin’s slobby ways made the little woman felt necessary.
His favorite thing to do, however, was to smear his fingerprints all over the windows. Each time Mrs. Hall saw some smudges on the panes of glass, she’d get out the vinegar and start wiping away.
Ahhh. Making a woman happy is easy… Or so Marvin thought.
One morning, a message on the bathroom mirror, written in lipstick, greeted Marvin.
“I’ve had enough. I’m not gonna take it anymore.”
How will life change for Marvin? Will he ever see the light? (146 words)


And for those who need an entire week to come up with hilarious reviews, here is the photo for the next blurb:





Monday, October 2, 2017

Winslet (Winne), Whine...Whine... Whine, NaNoWriMo and Back-of-the-Book Blurb # 78





            It only took a few hours, but Winslet (Winnie), one of Love a Golden Rescue's newest Turkish dogs, learned what "sit" means. She's also learned that if she does something outside (poop or pee... sniffing and walking the perimeter of the yard doesn't count), she gets a treat. And quickly, she connected the sound of the treat jar lid coming off with the necessity for her to sit (pretty).

       A whirlwind trip to Chicago, and all the stuff that preceded it, kept me from posting on Friday. (I know. It was a different excuse last week. Hopefully this Friday I will be able to post on schedule.) Thursday night I had to bake for our 8th graders' bake sale this past weekend. Two batches of muffins and deluxe brownies. The brownies became a gooey hot mess. At 9:00 on Thursday night I dropped off the muffins. (The brownies were too unsightly.)

        Friday morning--I finished laundry and packed for the Chicago trip. Then I headed off for a day of professional development with the hot-mess brownies in hand for our table of teachers. 

        Friday afternoon we gathered for a three-vehicle caravan trip to Chicago. After waiting for everyone to get off work, we left by 4:30, stopped a couple of times and got to Chicago a little after 10. Three volunteers to a room (I slept on the floor in our room) and up at 5 for a quick shower so we could get to the cargo building of the airport by 6. The plane was on time, on time, on time... the plane was delayed. For more than two hours.

        When all the dogs were uncrated and fed and watered and walked, when all the crates were cleaned and dismantled and stacked (our rescue group was in charge of transporting the crates so they could later be shipped back to Turkey), we headed back to St. Louis. 

        Thankfully, Radar has been a gentleman (so far). Winnie got a bath (she was covered in poop from the plane trip), she's gotten some much-needed sleep, she's gotten too-many-to-count treats, she's begged and pleaded for pizza/bagels/a turkey sandwich or anything we're eating/anything from the refrigerator or whatever's loose on the counter but has been unsuccessful in snagging anything unintended for her (so far). Hopefully the time she's with us as a foster will go just as swimmingly has her first night.

         A quick note: NaNoWriMo begins in a month (from yesterday). My students and I are going to begin with some talks and some brainstorming and some peptalks before November 1 rolls around. I think I know what I'm going to write about, but I'm not 100% positive yet. Being a pantser (I fly by the seat of my pants) I still have oodles of time to land on something for keeps.

       Also, if you think you might be afraid of success, check out my post on The Muffin.

      And now (three days late) is my back-of-the-book blurb stuff.

          Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your bookYou choose the genre. Is it a love story about a feline and the bus driver? Is it an insider's tale, exposing the horrors of the lives of feral cats? Is it the true crime story of a cat stalking Morris the cat? You decide.

         Write an enticing blurb--150 words or less. (The title doesn't count in the word count.) Blurbs are those enticing bits that prod you into buying the book. Sometimes they're on the back cover of the book. Sometimes they're on the inside front cover. What they always try to do is lure you into purchasing the book. 

          Lisa Ricard Claro was the original creator of this writing challenge. She moved to Florida, and is too busy to host a weekly book blurb. Her first romance novel, Love Built to Last, just came out as an audio book. She's busy with a new book (or a new series, probably), she's got an editorial business so she's waaaay too busy to do this anymore (although she did post each one on time).

          Okay, back to book blurb stuff.
       
          Include your blurb in a blog post. Include a link to this post. Also, link your post to Mr. Linky. Mr. Linky is easy. If you've never done it, you'll be impressed with how simple he is. And then, check out the other blurb(s). It's interesting to see the different directions writers take, given the same photo.

        Here's the book cover, along with my blurb: 



On the Road Again… Forever?
People wondered. Some even gasped in surprise. “A cat got on the bus. What’s a cat doing on the bus?”
The regulars never even looked twice. They knew Sam. He didn’t ever pay a fare, but he also never played loud music nor did he bother the other riders in any other way.
Sam began riding the bus as a baby. His owner, Bobby, would sneak the tiny kitten into his jacket pocket or backpack. Then they’d make the rounds.
The shelter in the morning. The strip of hoity-toity restaurants after the lunch crowds left. The soup kitchen at night.
When Bobby died, Sam didn’t know what else to do except stick to his routine. He had friends (mostly) wherever he went.
But things are stirring inside Sam. Could he ever leave his traveling ways behind and become a house cat? Could Sam find a forever home? (147 words)


And for those who like to work ahead (or at the very least, on time) here is the photo for the October 6 book blurb:


Google image







Monday, September 25, 2017

Spending the Night With Linda O'Connell

         Linda O'Connell recently spoke as part of a panel for the St. Louis Publishers Association's September meeting. 


        There were three editors/publishers who also spoke. Linda is a prolific writer and has edited anthologies. She's a generous critique partner. Here is what she shared with the audience:
  • She admitted, right off the bat, she did not have the same kind of MFA as some of the other panelists. Her MFA stands for "Mighty Fine Attitude."  (I suspect the "A" stands for a different word, a thee-letter word, since I've heard her husband talk about what attracted him to Linda, but I can't be sure...) 
  • It's important to write to express, not to impress. Instead of saying "feminine hygiene products," why not just say "tampons"?
  • Rejection's more about them (the editor) than you (the writer). It's either a case of "They don't appreciate your work" or "Your work doesn't meet their needs." 
  • Linda doesn't keep an Excel spreadsheet of her submissions. Instead, she handwrites what she submits on a calendar. If it's been a week a few days (or in the case of uber-prolific Linda) an hour since she last sent off something, she'll get busy and polish up a piece to submit it. 

                  If you were part of a panel, what advice would you share?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Vindaloo is Whoo Hoo... Margaret Atwood Came to St. Louis... and Back-of-the-Book Blurb #77

         A month ago I fell in love with a vindaloo sauce. Slip some chicken into that stuff, bake it, and it was spicy... but just the right amount of heat.

        My husband looked for more (at the same grocery store) but they had discontinued stocking it. I was cranky acting like I always do. I was jonesing for some vindaloo. 

        Hubby came to the rescue. Or was he trying to kill me? He found some online, and ordered a six pack of the jarred concoction of the gods. Waiting for that package was difficult as I salivated over future vindaloo dinners. I promised my daughter-in-law a jar of it. ("It would make a great quick dinner for you, after teaching all day," I said. Little did I know that my promise might later be construed as premeditation...)

      Well, that sauce that was delivered was labeled "hot and spicy," and they didn't mean hot by white-as-notebook-paper people standards. Immediately, I discovered that "hot" by Indian standards means "permanently burn your tastebuds" hot. 




      (If anyone would like a jar of it, I'd be happy to give you one. Don't be nervous when I hand it to you and I've got an oven mitt on...)

       Now onto a hot writer--Margaret Atwood.

       She's the author of The Handmaid's Tale and earlier this week, she came to St. Louis. I didn't get to see her, but my daughter sent me a link to an article about her appearance... in case you're interested.

        Tonight I'm going to see Sherman Alexie (I am pinching myself, I'm so excited) so I won't be able to respond to the dozens one comment on this post until much later this evening. 

        And now onto book blurb stuff:


And now onto our book blurb of the week.

            Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your bookYou choose the genre. Is it a love story about a senior citizen and her bingo dauber? Is it an insider's tale, exposing the horrors of bingo halls? You decide.

         Write an enticing blurb--150 words or less. (The title doesn't count in the word count.) Blurbs are those enticing bits that prod you into buying the book. Sometimes they're on the back cover of the book. Sometimes they're on the inside front cover. What they always try to do is lure you into purchasing the book. 

          Lisa Ricard Claro was the original creator of this writing challenge. She moved to Florida, and is too busy to host a weekly book blurb. Her first romance novel, Love Built to Last, just came out as an audio book. Thankfully, she and her hubster and their home are safe and sound. (By the way, years ago, Lisa predicted that writing these silly blurbs would help with writing the real thing and by cracky, she's right.)

          Okay, back to book blurb stuff.
       
          Include your blurb in a blog post. Include a link to this post. Also, link your post to Mr. Linky. Mr. Linky is easy. If you've never done it, you'll be impressed with how simple he is. And then, check out the other blurb(s). It's interesting to see the different directions writers take, given the same photo.

        Here's the book cover, along with my blurb: 

   


Jean’s Packin’ Something in Her Depends

Jean was sick and tired of the fast and loosey-goosey bingo games at the nursing home. She’d complained. She’d written letters. Now she’d have to show them she means business.
Every Tuesday, she’d come early, set up her daubers and her good-luck trinkets, and then she’d peruse the prize table. No matter what Jean set her sights on—a dollar-store stuffed animal or a plastic rain bonnet—and no matter what threats she’d hiss (“That one’s gonna be mine! Stay away from the pink panda or I’ll slip you a whole box of Ex-Lax in your pudding.”), some blue-haired biddy would snatch Jean’s prize before she had the chance to win it.

Some hot lead will show ‘em she’s serious. Are those old folks feelin’ lucky… ‘cause Jean sure is. (128 words)


For those who want to work ahead on next week's blurb, here is the photo:



Monday, September 18, 2017

Silence is NOT Golden... Back-of-the-Book Blurb #76... and Radar's Got Some Bling

       The late comedian and activist, Dick Gregory, once said, "You must have agitation. Think about it. You put water and soap into the washing machine. If you don't have any agitation, you just end up with a bunch of dirty laundry." (This was the quote to the best of my recollection. I heard him say it on an interview that I watched on TV.)

        In St. Louis, we have a bunch of dirty laundry that has never been fully aired... and some people wonder if agitation is truly necessary.

       Since Friday, St. Louis has been on fire. Protests. Face-offs. Concerts have been cancelled (U2 and Ed Sheeran). Shops have closed down early. Malls have filled up with protesters. Business has been disrupted.

        Some people wonder if "all that" is necessary.

        I wonder what's going to work...

        Mere conversations haven't worked. Marching in the streets hasn't worked. Chants. Signs. Collaborations between communities and churches and community representatives haven't worked.

        As the Cuba Gooding, Jr. character in the movie Jerry McGuire says, "Show me the money," perhaps it might make a difference if St. Louis residents don't show the money. Back in Montgomery in 1955 and 1956, the bus boycotts worked because they disrupted business. Business-owners' pocketbooks were hurt... and a change came.

        A sign I saw (via the televised news) this weekend gave me a hard nudge. "White silence = violence." I know what they're saying. However, I might be tempted to make the plea to change "violence" to "acceptance," although I know that silence/acceptance leads to the violence.

        I am going to have to start opening my mouth...




       Before we get to the book blurb (which is late, I know, I know), I wonder: What is your BHAG? If you wonder what a BHAG is, check out my post on The Muffin. (Hint: It involves the brilliant and talented Renee Roberson.)

 And now onto our book blurb of the week.

            Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your bookYou choose the genre. Is it an insider's story by Michael Moore? Is it nonfiction book about the meat industry? You decide.

         Write an enticing blurb--150 words or less. (The title doesn't count in the word count.) Blurbs are those enticing bits that prod you into buying the book. Sometimes they're on the back cover of the book. Sometimes they're on the inside front cover. What they always try to do is lure you into purchasing the book. 

          Lisa Ricard Claro was the original creator of this writing challenge. She moved to Florida, and is too busy to host a weekly book blurb. Her first romance novel, Love Built to Last, just came out as an audio book. She left Florida temporarily, supposedly because of Hurricane Irma, 

          Okay, back to book blurb stuff.
       
          Include your blurb in a blog post. Include a link to this post. Also, link your post to Mr. Linky. Mr. Linky is easy. If you've never done it, you'll be impressed with how simple he is. And then, check out the other blurb(s). It's interesting to see the different directions writers take, given the same photo.

        Here's the book cover, along with my blurb: 
   
     
   


The Newest White Meat on the Block


“Not all of those wackadoodles are vegans. Some of ‘em just like to play around with knives and swords and run around in kilts and puffy shirts. And most of those crazies love meat.”


It was Renaissance Faire time. The time when women hoisted up all the cleavage they could summon… so they could put it on display. The time when lute music wafted through the woods. The time when mermaids, unicorns and jousting collided in one wacky weekend.


           Walter Theodore Franklin and Ima Knot Kidding wanted to offer a new taste sensation to lure an even bigger crowd than last year--and they found what they figured would be a winner. Unicorn meat.


They got the meat certified (by a butcher that was certifiably crazy), thanks to some plaster-of-paris and duct tape. Now all they had to do was create some delicious dishes…

… and hope for rave reviews. (149 words)






Love a Golden Rescue had their reunion picnic on
Saturday, to celebrate the families who've adopted our dogs.
The theme was "Doggywood" so the girl dogs got carnations to
clip onto their collars and the boy dogs got gold lame' bow ties.
Unfortunately for Radar's tres macho reputation, the bow tie
was so small, it was eclipsed by his ruffly fur when worn the
way it was supposed to be worn... hence the more feminine
positioning...


         For those folks who want at least a few days to work on the blurb for this week (since it's Monday already), here is the picture for the next book blurb: