Still Lovin’ Nancy

Not long ago, I reviewed three Nancy Drew mysteries as part of a stopover in Nostalgia-Land.  Another visit—er, post—seemed in order, given I’d read three more of the YA mysteries.

Mom-care is becoming increasingly more challenging and leaving less time for me to do much for myself.  So when Mom is taking a nap, Nancy proves the perfect quick and easy read.  I’m transported back to a quiet childhood time when life was perhaps no less stressful but, somehow, simpler.

The first two are originals from the 60s while the third features a new 70s cover and is “modernized”.  For example, in the old books, Nancy’s titian-haired (brownish-orange) while in the newer ones, she’s reddish-blond.  Male cops no longer rule supreme.  And lo and behold, instead of frequently wearing dresses/frocks, the girls regularly sport jeans.

The Clue of the Dancing Puppet

A mysterious dancing puppet haunts the grounds of an old mansion, where the Footlighters’ playhouse is also located.  Amateur sleuths Nancy, Bess, and George are enlisted to help solve the case and this time we’re whisked away to the world of community theater.  The dancing-puppet mystery has added dimensions: an erratic self-absorbed leading lady and an overly charming (if not cheesy) Shakespearean actor.  Along with Nancy’s searches for clues, two jewel thieves show up on the scene.   Not a bad read; not a great read.  The keep-your-constant-interest component isn’t quite there.  A 3.5 out of 5.

The Clue of the Broken Locket

Interestingly enough, this was first written in 1934.  When I looked at the copyright page, I saw the very early date and had to check it out.  The premise back then: when adopted parents can’t take care of baby twins, Nancy goes searching for the legal birth mother with the help of a broken locket.

The newer version has two lookalike cousins (who, of course, don’t know about each other initially).  There’s a ghostly launch—love those spooky apparitions!—and a mysterious mansion that goes by the great name of Pudding Stone Lodge.  We have some sinister persons who make mystery-solving difficult for Nancy, Bess and George, and there’s record pirating to boot.  The trio certainly have their sleuthing skills put to the test.  Luckily, they have some assistance from their favorite beaus: Ned, Dave, and Burt.  I liked this one a lot.  A definite 4.5 out of 5.

The Clue in the Crumbling Wall

Our young enthusiastic sleuths—Nancy, Bess and George—have a twofold mission this time.  Not only must they endeavor to locate an inheritance concealed in the walls of dilapidated Heath Castle, they have to track down the beneficiary of a will before the proviso expires.  The grounds of the estate have a maze, a multitude of crumbling walls, and a couple of watchdogs (real ones, as well as human ones).  A 4 out of 5.  (In terms of Nancy, I suppose I’m a traditionalist: I prefer the “originals”.  It’s all about revisiting fond memories in Nostalgia-Land.) WPNDuse1

. . . Yeah, still lovin’ [needin’] the escape.

Tea & Crumpets with Personality

Recently, the trio from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency posted about three writers they’d like to sit down to dinner with.  That provided something to ponder: who would I like to dine with?

Having imparted favorite authors in previous posts, I opted for five people of days gone by that would make the love-to-meet list . . . and it would be over high tea with sweet scones and flavorsome finger sandwiches.

The selection comprises champions and rogues, the wholesome and the unsavory.

Jesus

He was/is, after all, “The Man”, a person in power, a great influence and influencer, the Son of God.  How humbling—and overwhelming—it would be to be in his presence.  I’m a believer.  Others aren’t and that’s fine: to each his or her own.  For me, though, it’s a tad disquieting to read about scholars and the like who argue whether the Jesus found in the Bible is an accurate reflection of the Jesus born just prior to the first century.  . . . But then, it’s all about faith, isn’t it?  And, while I readily admit mine can be tested and tried (frequently in fact), I’ll cling to it like a life preserver.

Marie-Antoinette

The last Queen of France was born Maria Antonia Josepha Joanna von Österreich-Lothringen (as Rey might say, gotta love a name like that).  Claimed to be a pawn, this fascinating woman was a mere 14 when married to Louis XVI (reputedly a cowardly man and unmindful husband).  There’s something about the pomp and pageant of that time, the French Revolution, the clandestine undertakings, the elaborate fashions and hairstyles that intrigue me.  Marie-Antoinette possessed notable shrewdness and strength, and amazing courage during her trial and execution.  Unquestionably, a force in her own right.

Henry VIII

I believe I always possessed a fascination for this intriguing royal figure—ever since watching Keith Michell in the spectacular series The Six Wives of Henry VIII.  At 17, he became king and presided during “creepily fascinating” periods in history: the English Renaissance and English Reformation.  The six marriages aside (which make for great soap-opera storylines), he accomplished much in terms of military campaigns, politics and religion . . . and even penned a song and wrote a book.  Definitely someone who’d provide enthralling historical accounts and gripping narratives.

Mata Hari

Another great name: Margaretha Geertruida “Margreet” MacLeod.  But the stage name of Mata Hari is so much better.  Strong-willed and determined, she realized at a young age that sexuality would get her places.  A Dutch exotic dancer, courtesan/mistress, and infamous “spy”, this attractive woman was convicted of being a double agent for Germany during WWI and executed by a firing squad.  Films like “Mata Hari”, starring the equally enigmatic Greta Garbo, fed the mystery and controversy that still surround her life.  Maybe she’d be willing to share a few intrigue-packed moments over a cup of Lapsang Souchong?

Calamity Jane

There are numerous famous (infamous) western desperados and gunslingers, and all are fairly fascinating, thanks greatly to Hollywood.  It’s hard not to feel a touch of envy re those romanticized villains, outlaws, and baddies—the thrill of riding the range, being unrestricted, having no ties.  A wild-west life would have been uncontrolled and sometimes calamitous, which makes Martha Jane Cannary, better known as Calamity Jane, the fifth companion choice for tea sipping and scone nibbling.  Losing her parents at the age of 12 compelled her to make her own way through that oh-so-wild west.  Another resilient woman, she’d have fine tales to share about her hard-drinking, rabble-rousing years . . . and those benevolent ones where she played nurse to smallpox sufferers.

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Blog Juggling

For some bloggers, posting weekly is as simple and fast as boiling eggs.  1-2-3 and—hurrah!—done.  For a few, it’s a bit of a challenge to come up with fresh/unique ideas.  And for others, like a stumped IT specialist, it’s scratch-the-ol’-noggin’ time. WPgifWritingscratchingheadGifer

The first idea that came to this mind: continue with the theme of who to invite to dinner.  Hmm.  Maybe next time.  The second: what makes for a good writer.  Given I’m suffering from a bit of an irresolute mindset these days, that seemed a better option (and it never hurts to refresh/remind oneself in the process).  The third: have one of the gals from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency take over again.  Alas, they’re at a spa on Maui, having way too much fun.  The fourth: do an update re current writing projects,  but this seemed a bit of a snooze-fest and sailed out a window like a hastily pitched Frisbee. WPfrisbeeclipartimageDOTcom

A flip of the coin.  Ta-da!  What makes for a good writer it is.  The following comprises some key [reminder] points, with food-for-thought author quotes.  The first two I love—because they smack of truth.  While the first is fabulous, the second is cynical (if not a little frightening), but I get it.  <LOL>

“There are three rules for writing a novel.  Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”  – W. Somerset Maugham

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness.  One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”  – George Orwell

First things first.  Is talent a must to be a [successful] writer?  It doesn’t hurt, but it can be developed (I will swear to that).  You just have to make the commitment and . . . yes . . . do work hard.

“A writer never finds the time to write.  A writer makes it.  If you don’t have the drive, the discipline, and the desire, then you can have all the talent in the world, and you aren’t going to finish a book.”  – Nora Roberts

Make an effort to read, read, read . . . anything and everything.  You learn from others—their triumphs and their mistakes.  Open your mind.  Apply what you learn.

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time—or the tools—to write.  Simple as that.”  – Stephen King

Write as often as you can, whatever you can.  Let those fingers frolic on the keyboard or across the page (nothing wrong with the old-school approach).

“There is nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”  – Ernest Hemingway

Edit what you write.  If you’re new to editing, check out—and employ—editing and proofing guidelines and tips.

“A successful book is not made of what is in it, but what is left out of it.”  – Mark Twain

“It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.” – C. J. Cherryh

Jot down concepts for stories and scenes in a journal.  They may not prove suitable for a current project, but they certainly could for another.

“Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry.  Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.” – Jane Yolen

Set a writing schedule—even if it’s only one hour every Saturday and Sunday, and ten minutes every morning while chugging caffeine.  It’s a start . . . and demonstrates the aforementioned commitment.

“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” – E.B. White

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”  – Stephen Covey

“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” – Jodi Picoult

Stay focused.  Having Brucey the Birman on your lap is great for relieving stress and scratch-the-ears damn-you’re-cute moments, but maybe not so much when you’re attempting to focus/compose.

“You can do anything as long as you have the passion, the drive, the focus, and the support.”  – Sabrina Bryan

“Where focus goes, energy flows.”  – Tony Robbins

Utilize powerful verbs and strong adjectives/descriptions.  When writing fiction, aim to stay informal or conversational, as opposed to overly technical or formal.  Write with heart and soul.

“Strong words outlast the paper they are written upon.”  – Joseph Bruchac

“Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.”  – Ayn Rand

“A word after a word after a word is power.” – Margaret Atwood

Make sure to get input/feedback.  You need to know—and adjust—your weaknesses.  Take pride in your strengths.

“Learners need endless feedback more than they need endless teaching.” – Grant Wiggins

Lastly, here’s a great one from the amazing, witty Dorothy Parker . . .

“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style.  The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”

 

 

 

 

Rewriting Dinner

Rey likes to post when The Boss isn’t available, but she’s [happily] on volunteer duty this weekend.  Linda’s flying to the Mainland for three days “just because” (she’s been wanting a break for a while now, so let her have some fun).  As such, you’ve got me: JJ.

Rey’s right.  It’s not always that easy coming up with an idea for a post.  I really had to wrack my brain and then—hurrah!—it came.

If we—Rey, Linda, and myself—could invite three authors to dinner, who would we invite?  Here you have it, beginning with campy Cousin Reynalda.  1WPauthorsAffinityMagazineDOTUS

Rey:  I’m not much of a reader, as you may know, but of the few books I’ve read, these three authors would be very welcome at my dinner table:

Nora Roberts:  Who doesn’t enjoy a good romance?  I like how she began—homebound with the kids during a blizzard.  She just started writing a story and, yup, a star was born—well, not right away.  There were rejections.  I applaud the perseverance.  As a former (now occasional) actress, I know all about rejection.  It’s tough.  But it makes you strong.  And determined.

Danielle Steele:  Her characters are memorable; you get pulled into the storylines, struggles and traumas.  She’s sold 650 million books worldwide, which is impressive, but I really admire that she founded, and governs, two worthy foundations.  The Nick Traina Foundation (in honor of her son) funds organizations involved in mental illness, child abuse, and suicide prevention.  A second foundation, helps the homeless.  How awesome is that?

Janet Evanovich:  She’s what I’d love to be if I were an author: talented, creative, and productive.  Not only does she write various mystery series—regularly—she pens romances, too (in fact, that’s where she originally started).  The actress in me would love to get firsthand advice on character and story development.

Linda While I enjoy contemporary fiction, I tend to lean more toward the classics.  

Jules Gabriel Verne:  Multi-talented as a novelist, poet and playwright, Verne was also one of the first sci-fi writers . . . as well as the father of steampunk.  His personal life was equally fascinating (do check him out).  My favorite book would have to be The Mysterious Island.  I saw the movie a few times when I was a kid and it captivated my interest and imagination.  No question, Verne would be a intriguing gent to break bread with.

Jane Austen:  She seemed an iron-willed, dynamic woman, one not opposed to speaking her mind re British aristocracy—or, perhaps I should say, remarking upon it through compelling characters.  It’s unfortunate there’s so little information about her and that only a few of her letters still exist (I understand she had quite the “acid” tongue).

Agatha Christie:  Who doesn’t love a good mystery?  And this woman penned some of the best!  I’m not sure who I liked more: Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple.  Who wouldn’t want to share a sherry over syllabub with the “Queen of Crime”?

JJ:  Like Linda, I’m more inclined to stick to the classics or “masters”.

Wm Shakespeare:  The Bard caught my attention in high school, when we had to memorize soliloquies from Hamlet.  I’ve been hooked since and every now and again, I make sure to pick up some sonnets or a play, or whatever tickles my “Shakespearean” fancy.  His life and that period in history are enthralling; I have no doubt he’d be a captivating individual to chat with over ale and mutton.

Ernest Hemingway:  His life, travels, journalism, and Red Cross adventures make for riveting tales.  Although his writing leans toward sparse, it’s as descriptive as it can get—when you read a Hemingway book, you’re effectively transported in time and place. 

F. Scott Fitzgerald:  I suppose I’m drawn to globetrotting Fitzgerald because of the years during which he wrote—the earlier 20th-century, the Jazz Age.  Romantic times.  Scary times.  . . . Tragic times.  And here’s a bit of trivia I only recently learned: he was named after another famous American, a distant cousin who wrote The Star-Spangled Banner.

And who might you invite . . . ?

The Chockablock Bucket

Given the Triple Threat Investigation Agency trio recently provided items on their bucket list I thought, why not do the same?  I’ve never typed one, so this seemed the perfect opportunity.  . . . The title was going to be “Kicking the Bucket” as in knocking it over and spilling the contents for all to view.   <LOL>  Took a couple of re-reads to realize that maybe that wouldn’t work quite as intended.

In no specific order, here are fifteen of 15 things to accomplish/achieve before closing these eyes in eternal sleep:

  1. Learn to swim (up and beyond doing a mean dogpaddle).
  2. Visit Japan and Korea (to eat authentic sushi and hear K-pop firsthand).
  3. Get a face-lift (only Shar-Peis should have multiple crinkles and wrinkles).
  4. Partake in a physical training regime (to have form where it should be).
  5. Experience a hurricane (they absolutely fascinate me, unlike tornadoes, which scare the <bleep> out of me).
  6. Learn to meditate (this cluttered mind is too easily distracted).
  7. Release a floating lantern . . . anywhere.
  8. Fly first class (what’s wrong with a little pampering?).
  9. Stay in an ice hotel for a weekend (sounds brrrrrr-racingly cool).
  10. Glide along a Venetian canal in a gondola (with a Bellini in hand, of course).
  11. Hover in a helicopter (no better way to cure a fear of heights).
  12. Kiss the 9-5 goodbye (knowing/trusting I could make it financially on my own).
  13. See The Triple Threat Investigation Agency books made into a TV series (as a proud “mother”, I want to see my “offspring” do well).
  14. Become business-savvy (I can barely differentiate between stocks and bonds).
  15. Teach/mentor (I always enjoyed tutoring and instructing).

If I aim for one or two a year, the list might just prove manageable.  The big question, however: which one do I do first? WPmybucketuse2

The Overflowing Bucket

Hey-ho, it’s Rey, leading off the weekend post.  The Boss asked if I’d take over.  Sure!  Love to!  . . . Thinking of a topic, though, hasn’t been easy.  I’m not up for providing writing or editing advice (and Linda’d be the first to claim I suck at that).

The other day I thought of something to add to my bucket list.  That got me to thinking—hey!—why not share what’s on mine?  I mentioned my great idea to Linda and she suggested I feature hers and JJ’s, too.  Sure!  Sounds like a perfect plan and post.

So, here you have it, the experiences and accomplishments the three of us at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency hope to realize before we shake this mortal coil.  Given we had enough items to fill three posts (not kidding), they’ve been limited to 10 each, in no particular order. WPbuckettrio

Me—Rey:

  1. Appear (as a main character) in a Broadway play.
  2. Record an album.
  3. Spend a week in Paris (and buy at least two designer outfits).
  4. Buy designer wear when it’s not on sale.
  5. Experience Mardi Gras (by taking part on a parade float).
  6. Be rid of debt.
  7. Learn to hula.
  8. Learn to cook fancy food.
  9. Do a cleanse.
  10. Eat healthy for a month.

Linda:

  1. Parasail.
  2. Swim with dolphins.
  3. Hike all the trails on all the Hawaiian Islands.
  4. Run in a marathon . . . and then do a triathlon.
  5. Write a thriller.
  6. Visit Iceland and spend time at a wellness center.
  7. Spear a fish and prepare it.
  8. Try unusual foods—in the country of origin.
  9. Count my blessings every day.
  10. Have high tea with royalty.

JJ:

  1. Experience a hurricane first-hand (in honor of my sister).
  2. Learn to scuba dive (not because I love the water, but to master my fear/dislike of it).
  3. Ride a horse on Kauai.
  4. Take art classes.
  5. Spend a summer driving around Europe, going wherever the wind blows.
  6. Spend a week with an Amish or Mennonite family.
  7. Earn a black belt.
  8. Have a weekly community show (I miss being on-air).
  9. Learn to barbecue (so I don’t burn off anymore eyebrows).
  10. Have a vegetable and herb garden.

There you have it.  They sound doable, but I’m not so sure about the 200 other items we have on the ol’ list—that’s 200 each, by the by.  <LMAO>

 

Grace & Gratitude

This past Sunday, James J Cudney IV (Jay) reviewed Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie, the second in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency mystery series.

As writers/bloggers, there are times when we wonder whether we should continue writing; it can prove a thankless (sale-less) profession, one gratifying only to ourselves.  So when someone writes a wonderful review of your book, the feeling is amaz-zing.  Yes, indeedy-do, it is all worth it.

I’ve been a follower of Jay’s for over a year now.  He’s a prolific and gifted blogger, author, and reviewer, and . . . I’ll state this again (and again) . . . a kind and encouraging person.

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Please visit his awesome site to see what he’s up to.  You may also be interested in reading his entertaining Braxton Campus mystery series or other fiction works.

https://thisismytruthnow.com/

Thanks again Jay!

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Book Review: Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie by Tyler Colins

POSTED ON FEBRUARY 23, 2019

Can you Hula Like Hilo Hattie? by Tyler Colins

Last year, I read the first book, The Connecticut Corpse Caper, in the Triple Threat Mystery series by Tyler Colins. Her second book, Can You Hula Luke Hilo Hattie?, is even better. Colins is one talented author who can weave a complex plot and help readers fully visualize a setting.

In this caper, our three heroines have formed a private eye agency in Hawaii. They’d solved the murders in the first book as regular citizens, so why not make it a full-time job? It was too much work in California or Connecticut to get their licenses, so Hawaii became the new home. Great idea! Fun backdrop. Hilarious characters. First, they need to bring home a runaway, hooked-on-ice teen. Second, they need to prove a man’s wife is cheating. Unfortunately, it isn’t your typical case, and when the wife turns up dead, the mystery is gonna be way more complex than our heroines thought.

Colins has created a bevy of intense and charming characters. I love ‘Cash’ who seems like a very cool dreamboat. Each time I got to know a new character, they end up getting killed off! Maybe it won’t happen this time…. but like in her first book, the body count keeps rising. It’s a fun way to keep readers on our toes. My favorite aspect of the author’s writing style is her descriptions, whether of people or settings. It’s way more than you’d normally see in a book, but it fits very well. I have a beautifully clear picture of who’s talking or moving about the book. I find myself drawn to the action, too, but it’s a very complex plot to keep focused on.

I also see strength in transitions between scenes. It’s rarely over-simplified or brash. It ends in the right place, and I roll into the next scene without worrying what happened in between. I also find the dialog to be rather strong… quick puns, not wordy, direct but full of imagery and thought. I can’t wait to see what third adventure the ladies find themselves embroiled in… no matter what the plot is, I’m sure it will create loads of fun and memories. Great job, Ms. Colins!

 

Motivational Mottos

Posting about logos not long ago got me to thinking about something similar: mottos.

A short sentence or phrase that encapsulates the belief(s) or ideal(s) that guide a person, family, or an institution.

You may want to consider creating a slogan or catchword that identifies your business or yourself.

On a business/professional level, a motto or slogan distinguishes what you do and/or offer.  Like a logo, it’s something you want people (potential clients and consumers) to remember you by.  It should be simple and relatively short.  Above all, it should be memorable, catchy . . . evoke an image, be positive.  You want to grab people’s attention and retain it.

On a personal level, you might want a motto that serves as positive reinforcement, or reflects an objective or desire.  Or it may “nudge” you re overcoming a fear or unhealthy tendency.  A personal motto could prove inspiring, uplifting, or strengthening.  I’ve had a personal motto—a mantra if you like—for a long time, one I adopted to overcome a persistent sense of non-confidence: conviction of self.

conviction  =  belief  =  faith  = confidence

Believe in yourself =  I believe in me

To be frank, I’m still lacking in the confidence department.  Nevertheless, I hold firm in my motto . . . and, one day, I will wholeheartedly believe.

If it’s personal, place that motto—that rallying cry—on your desk, wall, mirror, body (mine’s on my shoulder).  When readily visible, it serves as a boost and a constant reminder; it becomes a part of who you are (or strive to be).  Maybe it would even work well on your blog or site or “About Me” page . . . ?

See what’s out there in the vast world of mottos.  Perhaps you’ll find one that speaks to you.  Work with it.  Make it your own. WPmottoPixabay

Happy motto-ing.

Lookin’ for a Laugh

Who couldn’t use a good laugh or chuckle?  I know I’ve been way too dry in the mirth department for way too long.  Maybe you have, too?  When life gets [way too] serious, embracing some humor and merriment is a very good thing. 

As such, I thought I’d deviate a bit today and post jokes related to writing and writers.  I’d love to claim them as my own, but sadly, I have no affinity for puns and gags.  In fact, the only one I can recall is:

Bon:  Did you hear about the peanut walking along the sidewalk?     Mot:  No.  What happened?     Bon:  He was assaulted!

Ha-ha, get it <nudge, nudge>?  He was . . . a salted.  Yeah, like I said, no affinity.  But I’m good at researching and searching, so here are a few jokes (posted on a number of sites) that just might bring a smile to that writer/blogger face. WPlaughAmyotto1

How many mystery writers does it take to change a light bulb?  Two.  One to screw the bulb almost all the way in and one to give it a surprising twist.

How many screenwriters does it take to change a light bulb?  . . . Ten!

1st draft: Hero changes light bulb.
2nd draft: Villain changes light bulb.
3rd draft: Hero stops villain from changing light bulb. Villain falls to death.
4th draft: Lose the light bulb. 
5th draft: Light bulb back in. Fluorescent instead of tungsten.
6th draft: Villain breaks bulb, uses it to kill hero’s mentor.
7th draft: Fluorescent not working. Back to tungsten.
8th draft: Hero forces villain to eat light bulb.
9th draft: Hero laments loss of light bulb. Doesn’t change it.
10th draft: Hero changes light bulb.

Three guys are sitting at a bar.
#Guy1: “. . . Yeah, I make $75,000 a year after taxes.”
#Guy2: “What do you do for a living?”
#Guy1: “I’m a stockbroker.  How much do you make?
#Guy2: “I should clear $60,000 this year.”
#Guy1: “Awesome.  What do you do?”
#Guy2: “I’m an architect.”
The third guy has been sitting there quietly, staring into his beer, when the others turn to him.
#Guy2: “Hey, how much do you make per year?”
#Guy3: “I guess around $13,000.”
#Guy1: “Really?  What kind of stories do you write?”

A writer walks into a bar.  The bartender says, “Have you written 1000 words today?  You told me to not sell you a drink until you hit your word count goal for the day.”  . . . A writer walks out of a bar.

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Orange.
Orange who?
Orange you supposed to be finishing your current draft instead of reading jokes for writers?

WPlaughAmyotto1Then there are those witty comments/statements by authors and celebs that do wonders for prompting smiles and chuckles.

The road to hell is paved with adverbs.
♦  Stephen King

If the English language made any sense, lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers.
♦   Doug Larson

It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.
♦   Robert Benchley

Here’s one that comes under “funny food for thought”:

If writers were good businessmen, they’d have too much sense to be writers.
♦   Irvin Cobb

Here’s to a brighter day . . . smile, my friends, smile.

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Writers Be Wary

Although I’ve posted on doing due diligence, I felt a need to do a little something re “Writer Beware”.

. . . Which is also the name of a website dedicated to, yes, writers being wary.  There’s a wealth of information re deceptive publishers, agents, presses, and scams.  Also provided: legal recourse suggestions and resources.

A few years ago I signed up with an agent who I—foolish me—did not thoroughly investigate.  I’d always done my due diligence.  Maybe I’d been too eager re actually having one that I forgot to take it further and explore her accomplishments and standing.  Or maybe I’d been so excited (she’d sounded so professionally sincere), I’d simply chosen to close my eyes.

Very long story short, an overwhelming “gut instinct” finally [thankfully] kicked in and propelled me into action.  I contacted Victoria Strauss, co-founder of Writer Beware (she’s also a prolific author by the way).  Pleasant and patient, she provided background on the agent; it wasn’t favorable.  Too bad I’d not immediately clued in when Ms. Agent congratulated me on making a deal with a publisher I’d never heard of (and soon learned was of questionable repute).

But this post isn’t about me; it’s about us, writers looking for decent deals, be it via a publisher or an agent—how to recognize (ascertain) it’s the real deal.

Just Publishing Advice is worth a gander.  Read Derek Haines’ recent article entitled “Publishing Companies to Avoid and Nasty New Author Scams”.

“Because Indie authors are active on social media, it is easy for a predatory publisher to get your contact details.  Then come the offers for their publishing services.”  (That explains the regular email queries in my Inbox.)  He also states, “When publishing businesses make you an offer that includes the word free, it is a signal that you should be very suspicious.”  (Simple, significant advice.)

Besides browsing websites and articles, do as marketing guru Marcia Yudkin suggests on her site (www.yudkin.com):

“It’s easy to get fast feedback on questionable literary outfits.  Post a notice asking about the specific agent or publisher you’re investigating on message boards or discussion lists frequented by writers.”

In this day and age, it’s far from difficult to “get the goods” on people and businesses.  It’s merely a question of applying yourself . . . not getting caught up in the excitement of the moment (note to self) . . . and using logic.  Think before acting.  Take heed.  Know what you’re getting into; it will save heartache and potential loss of [lots of] money. box123A

Sign on the dotted line?  Maybe yes, maybe no.  . . . Writers, be wary.