The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Sunday, January 14, 2018

An Unbelievable Movie, Snoring and Snorts and Back-of-the-Book Blurb # 93

       For a couple of weeks, a friend and I planned on seeing a movie on Friday evening. She left it up to me. "Pick a good one," she said.

       Well, the movie I chose has been out so long (unbeknownst to me), it was only showing at 1:00 in the afternoon. She suggested "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" even though she had already seen it. "It'll spark a conversation afterwards," she said. Did it ever.

       If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it. Frances McDormand does a phenomenal job. There's several twists. An open-ended ending. Some character growth that I'm going to contemplate for a while (because some of it makes me question something I've experienced).

        When we got to the theater, a few people ahead of us were told the 7:05 show was sold out. However, there was a 9:40 show.

        Yikes. Friday is my fall-apart night. I'm tired all week and usually by Friday, I fall apart and end up falling to sleep by 8 or so if I'm home and on the couch. We ended up going to dinner and having a long, leisurely meal. I warned my friend, "I'll probably fall asleep. Poke me hard if you see me start to nod."

       Well, she had to poke me at least once. I don't think I snored or snorted myself awake, but I didn't have the courage to ask. (She had already given me grief for my shoes. That night I wore Croc sandals, but I wore socks with them--not white socks. I didn't want to push things and get teased even more.)

           Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your bookYou choose the genre. Is it a coffee table book of fashion trends? Is it a photo collection of mentally-ill patients and their clothing choices? 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. Currently, she's hired a manatee to record her romance books. Those slow-moving creatures enjoy audio books and they need love just like everybody else. Lisa's first romance novel (she has three more), Love Built to Last, just came out as an audio book. (The one for manatees is slated to come out this summer.) She even has a brand new book out called The Write Man. If you'd like to read my review of The Write Man, you read it here.  It's a great read (and that's saying a lot, since I don't read romance novels).
     
          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:



  Peace, Not Peas (146 words)      

         Ariel was only six. In first grade she was learning. She was figuring out how to add, how to share and get along with others.

        Which made her wonder... Ariel's family talked about what was going on in the United States. People arguing and yelling with each other. Calling people from other countries bad names. Why can't everybody shake hands and hug and decide to just respect each other? 

        Ariel hates peas. She shoves them with her spoon into her pocket so she can later dump them in the toilet and flush 'em down. They're disgusting.

        But peace? Peace is good thing. Peace is beautiful. 

        Ariel decides to right two wrongs at the same time. She made some signs. She's gone door-to-door. Now she's ready to take her campaign to the news stations, the newspapers... and the world.

    Make peas illegal.
Make being peaceful a law.   




And for Val and Pat and anyone else who wants to play along, here is the picture for next week:






Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Power of the Government, The Power of Water and Back-of-the-Book Blurb # 92

So.

On Tuesday my half-sister (Nancy) and I headed to Jefferson City. I made the two-hour drive full of excitement. I was going to get my original birth certificate (I'm adopted) and was hoping the document would include my birth father's name.

Well.

There was a banquet hall full of hyped-up adoptees. We were all going to get a piece of paper we had waited decades for.

"There aren't that many," I commented, noting the short stack of manila envelopes. It looked like only 10 or 20, and there were a lot more than 10 or 20 people in the hall.

In the end a lucky 13 got their birth certificate. People who had applied in October, November and December were told, "That's all we have right now."

After a lunch full of griping, Nancy and I went to the office to see if some personal outrage would grease the wheels. They were working hard sitting at their desks doing nothing. Tears (fake), indignation (real) and disappointment (also real) did nothing. They've received over 900 requests. I guess it takes a few days to pull one single document, copy it, and send it off. They said it would probably take another 4-6 weeks. (However, I'm not holding my breath.)

How silly of me to expect efficient and timely results from a government office...

on Wednesday I was supposed to go back to work after a two-week break. However, I got a gift from the gods. A water main broke, which meant I got an extra day off.

And now onto book blurb business...

Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your bookYou choose the genre. Is it a coffee table book of fashion trends? Is it a photo collection of mentally-ill patients and their clothing choices? 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 (she has three more), Love Built to Last, just came out as an audio book.  She's quite busy these days. She even has a brand new book out called The Write Man. If you'd like to read my review of The Write Man, you read it here.  It's a great read (and that's saying a lot, since I don't read romance novels).
     
          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:


Serenity Now!

Oscar was a chair potato. When he sat in his upholstered throne, he couldn’t keep his mouth shut. His stories (repeated several times a day). His irrelevant comments. His endless requests for another beer… another sandwich… another box of pretzels--well, it drove his wife Violet crazy.

And when he roamed around the house, he left a trail of crumbs, discarded clothes and whisker-shavings in his wake.

Violet was fed up. She deserved an afternoon free from waiting on Oscar, she figured. Then she saw an ad in the paper:

The Roaring Woman Store

Do you yearn for some peace and quiet at home? The Roaring Woman is the place for you. Owner Helen Reddy will help fit your husband with
a chair that will result in serenity now.

Will Oscar love his new chair? Will Violet enjoy the quiet so much that Oscar is never allowed out of his chair? (150 words)


And for those who like to work semi-ahead, here is the photo for the next back-of-the-book blurb:





Saturday, December 30, 2017

Book Clubs, Birth Certificates and Back-of-the-Book Blurb # 91

I'm telling the truth: I did intend to write this in advance, so I could post it in  a timely manner. But last night (Friday) was my book club meeting, and I was the host. That meant I spent the last couple of days cleaning and cooking. 

One of the things I prepared was a healthy key lime pie. Here is the link. I would recommend the extra bit of honey, and I even made it crustless. (I mixed up the pie filling and spooned it into small glasses.) It was delicious and healthy.

The book? Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson. We're going to meet in January or February and talk about it.

On January 2 I'm heading to my state capitol to get my original birth certificate. In case you didn't know, when a child is adopted, they get a modified/altered birth certificate. On mine, my parents' name is on it, but not my birth mother's. A law was recently passed in Missouri that allows adoptees to receive their original birth certificate. Part of me hopes my birth father's name is on it, but I doubt it. 

I'm going with my half-sister, so it will be a fun day.

So what is this back-of-the-book blurb stuff? Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your bookYou choose the genre. Is it a coffee table book of fashion trends? Is it a photo collection of mentally-ill patients and their clothing choices? 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 (she has three more), Love Built to Last, just came out as an audio book.  She's quite busy these days. She even has a brand new book out called The Write Man. If you'd like to read my review of The Write Man, you read it here. 
     
          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:




Better Than a Yellow Submarine

Orvilene hated her job. Driving those hooligans back and forth to school every day was like driving a huge yellow couch… and on the couch was 50 or 60 circus performers.

Those kids rolled around on the floor. They hung from the emergency door handles in the ceiling. They jumped from seat to seat.

“Sit down.”
“Shut up.”
“Stop throwing things from the windows.”

None of her screaming made a difference. They continued their shenanigans, and every night when Orvilene got home, she’d have a drink. (She wanted to drink on the job, but wisely chose not to.)

But then Orvilene had an idea. She hatched a plan that would cook their goose. She’d use her nestegg to create a new bus… a bus that would challenge even the trapeze artists she transported.

Will the goofballs enjoy the new arena or will they get shocked into behaving the right way? (150 words)


And for those writers Val, who likes to work ahead, here is the photo for next week:





Friday, December 22, 2017

Holidays... and Back-of-the-Book Blurb # 90



A couple of days ago I got together with my son and daughter-in-law for dinner. (It was my last day of work; I was beginning my holiday break.) It was delightful because it was relaxed, someone else cooked (we met at a restaurant down the street from my school), and we got to laugh and chat without any time constraints.

I think this should be the start of a family tradition--a dinner right before the holiday gets underway (right before things get crazy). And since I won't be able to make the family get-together on Saturday (I'll be doing dog rescue stuff), perhaps we need to plan an after-holiday meal after things have calmed down?

I'm going to have to think on it. Until then, here is my story from last week:

Nobody Knows Where Gladys' Nose Goes

Gladys raised three boys and her boys were not unfamiliar with soap and water. All three of them were clean and always smelled clean, to boot.


But they didn’t start out clean. At first they were smelly and sweaty creatures… until Gladys had smell-inspections every day. Once their mother started sniffing their armpits every morning and every night, her sons learned the value of soap and deodorant.


Once her boys left her nest empty, Gladys felt life was no longer worth living… until she snagged a job as a deodorant tester. Does the man-scent mask the man-sweat? Once the hunks worked out, did they then smell like hunks of poop when their deodorant surrendered? Gladys’ sniffer could tell her.


Now Gladys has a reason to jump out of bed every morning. And will her nose lead her heart to love? Will she fall in love with one of her sniffees?

      So you wonder what this back-of-the-book blurb stuff is? Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your bookYou choose the genre. Is it a coffee table book of fashion trends? Is it a photo collection of mentally-ill patients and their clothing choices? 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 quite busy these days. She even has a brand new book out called The Write Man. If you'd like to read my review of The Write Man, you read it here.
     
          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:






A few of Sioux’s colleagues wore heels to work. They’d prance down the hall in chic,
fashionable shoes. Real leather. Real brass buckles. Real shoes.


The rest of the staff wore leather mules. Or strappy flats. Whatever they chose to
cover their human hooves with looked cute.


Not so when it came to Sioux. She chose comfort over anything else. If her
shoes couldn’t be hosed off, she didn’t want ‘em. If they weren’t made of
rubber, she’d toss them aside.


Unfortunately, her students zeroed in on her shoes and were unmerciless.
They gave her Eddie Haskell compliments about how chic her Crocs were.
They taunted her with jokes about Crocs.


So far, Sioux has stood firm in her unfirm shoes… but will it continue?
Will she keep wearing her comfortable shoes of choice? Or, will she
change to make her middle-schoolers happy?

Read to find out….



And for those who'd like to play along next week, here is the photo for next week's blurb:





Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Sickness, Sickness Everywhere

Pardon my not posting. I've had the flu/a horrendous cold. Chills. Horrible, nonstop coughing. Exhaustion. I felt bad enough that I went to Urgent Care last night, after dealing with this for 2 1/2 weeks, and I'm thrilled to be on some steroids and some cough suppressant pills. Leave it to to me to wait until I was starting to feel a bit better before seeking medical attention.

Have I missed a day of work? Nope.

Have I missed working two solid days volunteering at Half Price Books for my dog rescue group? Again, no.

What has slid aside, neglected, is my blog.

I promise I will post on Friday with two back-of-the-book blurbs (because I love the one from last week) along with this week's.

And Val, I'm sorry. You've probably given up on me. Unfortunately, I am still alive, and unfortunately, you only have a few days to prepare a blog and hilarious reviews.


Here is the book cover for this week's blurb. I know it might lack imagination, but amidst the coughing and the snorting, it's the best I could do.





Monday, December 11, 2017

"The Write Man" by Lisa Ricard Claro--Definitely Not Your Mama's Romance Novel

         Hi. I'm Sioux, and I'm not a reader of romance novels.

      I've always taken more than 12 steps away whenever I'm in the vicinity of the romance section. The covers with the heaving bosoms. The men with the flowing locks. The writing (I'm sure) is predictable and stale. 

      It's wrong, but I admit that for me, Harlequin and romance novels can be used interchangeably.

      In all my life, I've been sucked in by read only three romance novels--all three by Lisa Ricard Claro. Love Built to Last. Love to Believe. Love to Win. I enjoyed all three, but surely they were the exception, right? The plot kept me going as I was taken on a twisty-turny ride, but other than those three, I was finished with romance books.

       Or so I thought.

      Then Lisa came up with a new book. A novella. And it had one of those romance-y covers, albeit a modern one. Initially I passed, as I was in the middle of a YA novel. 

      But something in me didn't want to miss out, so I asked for an advanced reader's copy and devoured the book. Overnight.




      It's not your mama's romance novel because it's well crafted. The phrasing. The pace. It begins like honey on a semi-warm day. The opening scene just oozes along, drawing the reader into the beach setting. Things speed up and then slow down--just when you want them to continue full-speed ahead--to keep the reader on the edge of their seats. 

      To keep me hooked as a reader, it has all the components: a delicious, tongue-in-cheek villain/pirate in Scurvy Rickets. A damsel-not-in-distress in Merry Sunjoy. A stray dog. Wonderful wordsmithing.

      However, I was also hooked as a writer. In this book. Lisa has fun (or at least seems to have fun) creating "Foundling Faeries" who serve as Jiminey Cricket/internal dialogue for Merry. These tiny creatures echo Merry's feelings. Sometimes they're the devil's advocate. Sometimes they're her conscience. Sometimes they provide comic relief.

      What a brilliant idea. How delightful it is to see a writer creating a writer creating characters--the faieries--in such a deft way.


Lisa Ricard Claro


       The word choices the author made also wowed me as a writer. The phrase "bruised sky" was one I noted, but I soon stopped jotting them down as I got engrossed in the storyline. 

        If you want to read a romance that's the opposite of a Harlequin romance novel, check out Lisa Ricard Claro's The Write Man. It's a quick read and a quick study in what can be done when it comes to romance-y books.

       Hi. I'm Sioux and I'm not a reader of romance novels... unless they're authored by Lisa Ricard Claro...