The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Monday, June 26, 2017

Janet Evanovich--In Town

     This past Saturday, Janet Evanovich came to St. Louis. My husband thoughtfully bought me a ticket, just because she was "some kind of writer-person" and he thought I'd be interested. I wasn't so excited that I got there two hours early to make sure I got in the front row (like I did with Mary Karr and Anne Lamott) because although I've read some of her Stephanie Plum books, she's not an author I collect or get all frothy in the mouth over. However, she's terribly successful, so I figured it would be an entertaining evening.




      From the moment she opened her mouth, it was apparent she's a Jersey girl, and a sassy one. Here are some tidbits from the discussion:


  • What motivates Evanovich to write? "Greed," she said, and laughed. "You stop giving them books and they stop giving you money. Isn't that a *itch."
  • She wrote for 10 years before getting published. (She was an art major in college.) After selling her first book Hero at Large for $2000, she quit her job the next day... and then didn't sell another book for a year.
  • After writing some romances, she got out of that market. By the time she'd written the 6th one, the well was dry. She explained, "I love sex as much as the next person... but I'd run out of positions."
  • Evanovich took an improv class. "I really sucked at dialogue. I knew my dialogue was wooden." The class taught her how to develop a character through their gestures, the way they walked and the food they ate. 
  • When she first started writing her Stephanie Plum books, she wanted to be able to write about her characters with accuracy. She had cop friends who invited her out to dinner. One of them told her, "Here, take my glock and shove it into the waistband of your pants." Janet Evanovich told us, "I was afraid I'd shoot off my privates."

        The talk was peppered with Evanovich using my favorite "colorful" word several times, a few times she stroked the microphone like she was romancing Ranger (I've read enough to know who she was referring to when she mentioned that character's name with a hint of lust in her voice) and early in the interview she said, "You'd better be careful what you say tonight--you might end up in a book." I doubted that... until I did something unthinkable later on.

        On Friday I'll share what I did which was so awful, and why I just might end up in one of Evanovich's book (or a book written by her stylist or hair dresser). 

            Thankfully, since I just had her sign her book without a name so I could auction it off at a dog rescue trivia night, Evanovich didn't get my name... Perhaps in some future novel she'll just call me CH--"for chihuahua killer."



Saturday, June 24, 2017

Writing Decisions, Writing Excitement... and Back-of-the-Book Blurb # 64

Perhaps some of you have noticed. Okay, probably one or two of you have noticed that I've turned into a slacker. Maybe those one or two are even rubbing their hands together in delight. Yipee! Maybe she's quit blogging. Maybe I won't have to read her drivel anymore.

I've been posting trying to post on Tuesdays and Fridays. Tuesday I didn't post. Today is Saturday (late morning even) so I missed Friday, too.

Initially, I thought that perhaps I should slow down to just one post a week. However, my Friday posts are soooooo popular, if I only post on Friday, I'm afraid my trickle of followers will end up drying up completely.

What I do not want is 1) my posts to get in the way of my serious sporadic writing and 2) my posts to become drudgery for me. I think that if I'm feeling resentful or bored, it'll come out in my writing.

Now I'm wondering if perhaps Tuesday is a bad day for me. I've heard that studies claim that Tuesday is the least productive day, and Thursday is the most productive one.

So, I'm going to switch and post on Mondays and Fridays. I'm hoping that sometime over the weekends I can write something and schedule it for Monday. We'll see. 

As far as excitement, I'm getting closer to finishing polishing up my YA novel. For the first time, I believe I have something marketable... something that's easy for readers to "get." My goal is to finish polishing by the end of August... and then start shopping it around.

Also, a writing critique friend has finished with their manuscript. They're ready to get feedback on it. This writer has led such an interesting life, I'm sure the story will keep me laughing and crying and nodding my head. 

Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your bookYou choose the genre. Is it a comedy? (It sure looks funny to me.) Is it a romance? (Like Romancing the Pooper?) 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. Currently, she's super busy. She and her hubster are currently basking on the beach in Florida. Leave the sand to do this book blurb stuff? No way. (She's also working on a new novel--I'm sure--so that keeps her occupied in between applying the sunscreen.)


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:


photo by pixabay

The Turf War

Mrs. Cravitz was tired of dogs pooping in her yard. “If I wanted poo in my yard, I would get a yorkiepoo or some other ankle-biter,” she’d complain to her friends. “Those neighborhood yappers are always waiting to crap on my lawn. They sashay up and down the block, holding it all in until they get to my zosyia grass. Then they drop a big fat deuce smack-dab in the middle of my yard. I can’t stand it.”
So crabby Mrs. Cravitz decided that all’s fair in war. She put up a sign. It was a polite one. A gentle one. But the pooping continued.
Those people are just as stupid as their dogs… and just as inconsiderate, too.
So the neighborhood crabass upped her ammunition, hoping…

Will what she sprinkles on her grass help? Or will she have to escalate the battle and resort to water balloons—or worse? (149 words)


And finally, for Val and Pat (and anyone else who'd like to participate), here is the photo for next week... And hopefully you'll see a post pop up from me on Monday morning.

google images







Friday, June 16, 2017

Some Chicken Soup News... and Back-of-the-Book Blurb Friday # 63

      A couple of months ago I got the news that a story I'd written had made it over the first hurdle for Chicken Soup's My Kind of America. I kept quiet so as not to jinx it.

      Two days ago, I got an email: my story was in. It made it through the final editorial round and emerged victorious.

      The story "My Ferguson" makes me proud because it tells what the real Ferguson is like. It tells the story of a community that is not one of the most dangerous cities in the world. It tells the story about a particular Ferguson family who started a business in Ferguson because they believe in their neighborhood.

      I hope that if you're a writer and you've gotten dejected because your submissions have been rejected... keep the faith. You never know. Your next piece may get a "yes."

      And now, onto book blurb stuff.

Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your book. You choose the genre. Is it a mystery? (It sure looks mysterious to me.) Is it a romance? (Like, a romance with bad hairstyles?) Is it historical fiction? (Let's hope it's in the past and not in the present.) 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. Currently, she's super busy. She and her hubster are currently basking on the beach in Florida. Leave the sand to do this book blurb stuff? No way. (She's also working on a new novel--I'm sure--so that keeps her occupied in between applying the sunscreen.)


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 Family Affair

It’s 2016… and yet the Aquanet family is stuck in the 1980s.
Arnie Aquanet and his wife Tina went retro when they got married in 2005. Arnie loved Bon Jovi—the early Bon Jovi—so when they started their family, the kids fell right into line with mom and dad. Big hair was an everyday thing. The bigger, the better.
Getting ready for school and for work resulted in a hairspray haze that hung in the house for hours after everyone left.
The destruction of the ozone layer? Everyone has to die… they might as well die cute.
But then the government passes a law. No more aerosol products allowed. Arnie and Tina know the pump sprays do diddly-squat, so they panic.
Will the Aquanets decide to stockpile their favorite hairsprays so they can survive a few more years? Or will they find a new hairstyle they can fall in love with? (150 words)



And for those who like to work ahead (like Val and Pat), here is the photo for next week:

photo by pixabay



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Heartbreak in Turkey

Last Sunday, I got back from Turkey. My mission: to bring back 3 or 4 golden retrievers.

We succeeded. Three adult dogs and one puppy will soon be in forever homes here in America.



If you go here, you can find out more about our rescue's Turkey dogs. (The puppy went to a rescue in Illinois.)

All three of these dogs were living on the streets in Turkey. There are unwanted stray dogs and cats on every street, sidewalk and highway shoulder in Istanbul as well as the small Turkish villages and towns. It's heartbreaking.

Gatsby's much more handsome than his photo leads one to believe. He was supposed to be a guard dog for a bakery. For anyone who knows goldens, they're so friendly and have such gentle natures, you know the only thing Gatsby guarded was the bread and treats--for himself--and he probably wagged his tail and turned on the full power of his brown eyes to get people to pet him.

Yes, in Turkey there are many other dogs starving, dying of thirst, suffering from getting hit by a car and aching for some human affection... but at least these four dogs are going to have a better life. 












Friday, June 9, 2017

More Turkey Talk and Back-of-the-Book Blurb Friday # 62

        I still feel like I'm in Turkey... like a part of me remained there.

        Here are a few more photos from my trip:


The Sultan Ahmed Mosque--also known as the Blue Mosque--in Istanbul


One inside view of Ayasofya, which was built in 532 A.D. It was
first a church, later a mosque and now a museum.


One of the Turkish vets who  helps rescue street dogs


Mt. Ida/ the Devil's Footprint


My Turkish friends currently have 63 dogs and I don't know how many cats.

This is a street dog that hasn't been rescued yet.
He's not growling. He's smiling, despite his horrible life.


And now--onto to book blurb fun.

Look at the photo below. That is the cover of your book. You choose the genre. Is it a mystery? Is it a romance? Is it historical fiction 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. Currently, she's super busy. She and her hubster are setting up their new house in Florida.


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:




No More Men

Florence had been married and was now a widow.

Her departed husband, Cecil, left her enough money to live on for the next 70 years, which meant that a steady stream of gentleman callers kept pestering her.

‘I don’t have any need for a man,’ she thought, and graciously gave each one of them their walking papers.

‘But I am a bit chilled at night…’ so she got a pair of Boston Terriers to keep her company.

Lily and Rose never left her side. Because she was so happy, Florence started writing a column for the Philadelphia Observer.  Each week, she’d write essays on the pros of dogs when compared to men.

Will Florence ever get remarried? Or will she slowly but surely turn into the crazy Dog Lady? (129 words)



And here is the photo for next week. (And Val, you can stop your whining about only having a couple of days to write a string of reviews and a blurb. What else do you have to do during the day?)




Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Good, the Not-Bad-at-All and the Ugly

Well, I got back from Turkey late Sunday night/early Monday morning, and I'm just now getting back to St. Louis time.

I will post more about the trip on Friday, but I wanted to share a few pictures and observations now.

Turkey is a gorgeous country. I'm not sure what I expected--I think a huge expanse of desert and nothing else--but it was beautiful and green and the ocean was an incredible blue.




We spent a couple of evenings exploring the area. Mt. Ida (also known as the Devil's Footprint) is a beautiful area. At night it was enchanting.





The food was not bad at all. In fact, most of it was delicious. Every day when in Istanbul, I had this omelet. Delicious and spicy...





The ugly side of Turkey is the stray dogs and cats. They're everywhere. On the sidewalk. In the streets. On the shoulder of the highway. In the middle of the highway, terrified and not sure in which direction they should go. In the fields, thirsty and hungry.

I'll post more about my trip and the dogs we rescued on Friday. And speaking of Friday, here's the picture for this Friday's Back-of-the-Book Blurb. (Sorry Val, that you have such little time to write the reviews and the blurb. I'll get back on my normal schedule next week.) 


photo by pixabay