Blah Blog . . . Pretty Post

Looking at the previous post, I realized I’d forgotten to “pretty” it up a bit (add some zip, as it were).  The ideas were there . . . and that’s where they remained.  There.  Alas, memory being what it is these days (leaning toward n-i-l), I’d neglected to add a couple of things I’d fully intended to.  <sigh>

That seemed worth posting about: having a blah blog due to a lack of pretty posts (bad memory issues later).  And just what makes a blog blah, as in b-o-r-i-n-g?  Lack of good/interesting content for one.  Sure, most topics have likely been written about (countless times), but that doesn’t mean it has to be dull.  Consider who it’s being for.  Then, speak to that audience.

Make sure headings/titles are to-the-point and “captivating”; pull in (attract) readers.

Give the post a distinctive spin.  Add humor.  Insert commentaries/opinions.  Provide pep.  And, perhaps most importantly, make it sound like you.  Unique!

heart-shockedPics/images make for happy eyes; they can prompt people to peruse the post.  If it’s a short post, there likely won’t be a need to add more than a pic—it depends on the subject—but if it’s long, break it up here and there.  GIFs are great, if not fun, but don’t throw them in for the sake of it.

Some color never hurts.  Spice it up a little.  Maybe those colors are ones that will help define/identify your blog and, subsequently, you.

Again, depending on the subject, add statistics, quotes, examples, or back-up data.  Don’t simply “plop” them in, though.  Make sure they are relevant and that the information/post flows well.

<LOL>  Think I went in a slightly different direction than intended, but it’s all good.  Some food-for-thought . . . and (hopefully) not enough to make any eyes glaze over.

Happy posting.

Missing Mynah No More

Hey, it’s Rey . . . and JJ . . . and Linda!  We’re posting as a threesome today. 

It took a while to decide what the topic would be, but I—Linda—thought it might be fun to backtrack a bit and update re a case or two.  Over to you, Rey . . .

Hey again.  Yeah, so we went with Murphie the mynah bird case.  For those of you who missed this one, here’s a rundown.  We were hired to find Mrs. Maynard’s prize bird when he was birdnapped back in August.  The perp(s) had broken into her la-di-da Kahala condo and slipped out with Murphie and his gold-barred cage (yup, as in 24-karat).  They wanted 5K for the feathered fellow.

So we had Linda serve as the go-between; she was to deliver the ransom at a designated place on Kuhio Beach.  Unfortunately, the 5K was “Payment #1” and they didn’t leave the mynah.  But we did luck in with locating one of the birdnappers: Plucko.  Too bad he wouldn’t talk.

Yeah, that dude was more tightlipped than sour-faced Aunt Gertrude when confronted with something—or someone—of “a dubious nature”.  Anyway, Murphie’s cage was found, but the bird wasn’t.  Poor Mrs. Maynard; the dear ol’ gal was so upset.

And understandably so.  Thanks Rey.  It’s Linda again.  We kept an eye on the area, hoping Murphie would return, but one mynah bird pretty much looks like another.  Mind you, he did love hearing “Rockin’ Robin” regularly, so we’d sing that—a lot.  Sadly, no luck. 

Until—it’s JJ (in case you were wondering)—last week!  We’d returned to the park (as we had off and on since September), sang Murphie’s song—and lo and behold, he landed on Rey’s shoulder!  We always came prepared, and this time was no different; we got him into a little treat-filled cage and back to his “mom”.  She was beyond ecstatic.

So were we.  No one likes a happy ending—and a happy client—better’n us. 

Fantastic Followers, Fabulous Friends

Not a rambling post per se, simply an observant [self-indulgent] one … leaning toward followers and friends.

I know my blog has [very] limited likes and [very] few followers (mostly friends).  <LOL>  That’s okay.  It’s not as if I post anything enlightening or eye-opening.  And, in truth, the blog itself is rather blah.  It’s not “pretty” like others.  Not fetching.  Not much of anything, really.  But it’s mine.  And, given what my personal life entails (or doesn’t), I take pride in what I’ve accomplished thus far. 

I follow a number of blogs.  When I like something, I can read the post via email or visit the blog.  When there, I see some have no likes at all except mine, or maybe a small handful.  I can relate, being in the same boat.  Do I feel bad for the blogger?  No, just a little sad.  They’ve put their hearts and souls into something and have received next to no accolades. I suppose that annoying saying is, alas, appropriate here: it is what it is.

On the flip side, other bloggers receive an abundance of compliments/likes and I must confess I am a bit envious (but far from jealous).  Kudos.  And, undoubtedly, well deserved.  I suppose blog likes, followers and friends, are much like life: unpredictable (which can prove exciting) and sometimes unfair (which just plain sucks). 

Merely a meager observation.  And a heartfelt thank-you to fantastic followers and fabulous friends; I love that you care.

And a Five . . .

Welcome to Day {Final} Five of the 99-cent promo for Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie?.  It’s the Triple Threat Investigation Agency’s first official case . . . and JJ, Rey, and Linda couldn’t be more ecstatic.  Here’s an opportunity to prove they made the right choice moving to Oahu and becoming professional private eyes. 

All they have to do is prove that a pretty, young trophy wife is cheating on her elderly, millionaire hubby.  Easy peasy . . . not.  She’s found floating in the waters of a secluded beach—and it’s not because she’s enjoying a relaxing swim.  

A lot of people didn’t much care for Carmi; she’d ruffled a lot of feathers over the years.  Determining who the killer is proves to be a challenging task.  But the trio has the patience and perseverance to determine who he/she is. 

Much like the number of suspects, clues abound—as do gang members, drug dealers, and tense/dangerous moments.

If you’re interested in learning how JJ, Rey, and Linda fare, please check out Hula at:

https://www.amazon.ca/Hula-Hattie-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01KEEBNOS

And a Four . . .

It’s JJ today, hey!  Welcome to Day Four of the 99-cent promo for Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie?.  It’s our first official—paying—case.  We’ve recently opened the Triple Threat Investigation Agency and Rey, Linda, and I are out to prove we made a wise decision about becoming professional P.I.s.

We’re hired by WP Howell, an elderly millionaire to discover what Carmie, his young and very pretty wife, is up to.  He’s thinking “affair”, which will make a divorce that much easier.

“But there’s more, my dear. It’s not that I simply want to prove she’s an adulteress . . . but . . . it’s possible she may actually have something on me. As such, I’d like to ensure we keep each other’s dirty little secrets.”

“What is it she may have on you?”

There was a hint of annoyance in the smirk. “Let’s see what you and your associates uncover.”

“If anything” hung at the end of the flat comment. Fair enough. Time—and detecting ability—would tell. “If all we discover is that she’s having an affair with the pool boy, it will help your divorce outcome. If there’s nothing else to be discovered, then . . .”

“You’re suggesting you’re not up for the task?” Another smirk.

“You yourself said ‘may’. It’s quite conceivable there’s nothing to find,” I declared, refusing to be intimidated.

“Let’s say it is more than ‘may’.”

He was testing me. Fine. “Then, we will uncover it.” I sounded and appeared ten times more confident than I felt. But I was good at researching and ad-libbing, so why not apply on-camera skills to something that went beyond weather reports and community events? I leaned back and mirrored his smug smile. “You do realize that your wife could get very p’o’d if and when something comes to light? The phrase ‘payback time’ comes to mind.”

With an expression devoid of emotion, he tilted his head to one side and then the other. “That’s entirely possible. If you find out the ‘may’ concerning me, so be it. I’ll laud your talents to everyone I know. If and when you find something on my wife, yes, it will definitely get her ‘p’o’d’ as you eloquently worded it. But it will also be enough to maintain her silence.”

I regarded him closely. “Why do I have the impression you know what it is and the last few minutes of conversation have merely been . . . an evaluation of some sort?”

“All right Jill, yes, I do have an idea, but I don’t know for a fact.” The smile was droll. “Let’s call this little one-on-one a getting-to-know-each-other moment.”

I bowed and brandished an arm like a page might before his king.

William laughed heartily while I merely watched and waited to see what else, if anything, would be revealed. “You’ll start Monday. I’ll pay six-hundred dollars a day, plus expenses. You have ten days. Take photos, as you see necessary. Send a findings report at the end of each day. If all proves acceptable, I’ll pay a two-thousand-dollar bonus at the end of the assignment. Should you discover the ‘may’, I’ll pay an extra ten-thousand each and you’ll forget about whatever you’ve unearthed once you’ve delivered.”

“That seems satisfactory,” I managed to say without having my eyeballs pop out of their sockets. “And all the éclairs and tea cakes we can eat?” I added in jest, feeling a need for lightheartedness.

“I’ll have Sonie pack a box.” He rose.

The meeting had officially ended.

Before we can find out what Carmie is involved in, she’s found murdered—floating in the sapphire waters of the Pacific.  There is a long list of possible killers (she’d annoyed a few folks over the years).  Add gang members and drug dealers to said list and you have one heckuva challenge!

You can check us out at:

https://www.amazon.ca/Hula-Hattie-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01KEEBNOS

And a Three . . .

Hi, it’s Linda today and it’s all about threes . . . it’s Day Three of  the 99-cent promo for Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie?.  The Triple Threat Investigation Agency is officially open for business and the three of us—Rey, JJ, and I—are excited about taking on our first case as professional P.I.s.

Yes, we’re pretty green, but we’re all about accepting challenges . . . and overcoming them.   The task: uncover the “secret” of an elderly millionaire’s pretty, young wife.  It could be an affair, and it certainly seems like it might be—until gangs, drugs, and peculiar persons enter the scene(s).

Unfortunately, said wife is found murdered in the sapphire waters of a secluded Oahu beach.  Who of the unconventional cast of characters is the murderer?  As we attempt to fit intricate puzzle pieces together and figure out what’s what, we encounter a body or three.

We’ve dealt with a sundry of murderers in past, however, thanks to a wacky week in Connecticut at Rey and JJ’s equally wacky aunt’s place, and while this new set of quirky personalities proves equally taxing, we have enough faith in our [budding] talents to persevere.  We may be many things, but quitters we’re not.

Here’s an opportunity for us to prove we made a wise choice in becoming bona-fide detectives.  Can we do it, however, before the murderer strikes again?  If you’d like to find out, please check us out at:

https://www.amazon.ca/Hula-Hattie-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01KEEBNOS

And a Two . . .

Not an original title, but I never claimed to be a writer/blogger.  Hey, it’s Rey today (gawd, I love that—illiteration I think Lindy-Loo calls it).  Huh?  Ah, okay – alliteration.  So-o, it’s Day Two of the 99-cent promos for Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie and, yeah, it’s a bargain.  And a great stocking-stuffer, hint-hint.

JJ, Linda and I are hired to find out what a millionaire’s young wife is up to—as in, maybe she’s having an affair?  It’s our first official case and we’re aiming to please!  Unfortunately, we’ve barely begun when young wife is found dead.  Floating in the Pacific.  And not by accident.

As we’re trying to figure out who her killer is—from a long list of possible perps—we go head-to-head with gang members and drug dealers.  This case proves to be one crazy, thrilling rollercoaster ride.

Here’s a “tidbit”, as told by Cousin Jilly…

I shrugged. “She has money—lots of it—courtesy of hubby. She’s too health conscious to be into drugs, at least to ingest. Her body would be a temple and all that. Moreover, drug suppliers tend to lean toward the seedy, at least the small players do, and I can’t see her associating with low-lifes. As for big drug-dealing guys and gals, no, I don’t see it.”

“But you had a gut feeling about the shop and it wasn’t because you had a hunch she got a good deal on hand cream and mac nuts. It appears to have paid off.” Linda slipped on her sandals, stood, and stretched. “What do you think this is all about, Jill—I mean, JJ?”

“She’s into something illegal, or at least suspect. We have to go with that because William so much as said that when he asked we find something on her,” I replied.

“And he knows exactly what it is,” Linda proposed. “Those bags could well be that ‘something’. You were brilliant to trick Salv into giving us the ‘same’.”

“Brilliant, maybe,” I said wryly, “but successful remains to be seen.”

Rey put on her slides. “The closed sign just went on. Let’s mosey on over to the entrance.”

“Would you take a couple of photos when Salv exits?” I asked Linda.

“Pics of a guy with bags coming up,” she said cheerily, pulling out a Sony digital camera from a small Hawaiian print knapsack, one of three purchased during a recent shopping excursion. “I’ll hang back a bit.” She glided toward a plumeria tree twenty feet from the main shop door.

A young couple carrying a couple of store bags stepped from the entrance, bid Salv good-night, and strolled to a Toyota Tercel rental. He waved, stepped back in and locked the door, then disappeared, likely to set an alarm and depart from the rear.

Rey and I moved forward and leaned into a waist-high railing that ran along the portico and was comprised of curved black balusters and light oak. The apparent aim was to provide a homey feel, but missed the mark.

“Waiting for me?” Salv gave a quick smile as he stepped from behind.

We jumped, having expected him to appear from the other side.

He chuckled and held up a big Sweet Paradise bag. “As requested. Who’s paying?”

“Carmie Howell had two bags, smart boy,” Rey said flatly.

“Why waste an extra? These babies are expensive.” He offered a toothy smile. Strange, but under the diffused lighting, he appeared to possess fangs. Before I could peer more closely, he closed his mouth.

I flipped my hair in a lame attempt to appear nonchalant. “Is it the same amount for the same stuff?”

He looked me up and down, and then did the same with Rey. “You’re not in the same league as Carmie Howell,” came the casual observation.

Rey squared her shoulders and eyed him up and down in return. “We didn’t luck in with the millionaire crowd, smart boy. So f’g what?”

“Keep trying. You may not have the years anymore,” he smirked, “but the looks are still there.”

Care to find out how we do, nudge, nudge?  Please go to:

https://www.amazon.ca/Hula-Hattie-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01KEEBNOS

And a One . . .

It’s Day One of the 99-cent promo for Can you Hula like Hilo Hattie (a bargain, as Rey likes to say).

Hula, the second book in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series, has our amateur sleuths—JJ, Rey, and Linda—donning official private-eye hats on the beautiful island of Oahu.  The new agency is open for business!

Their first client is wealthy WP Howell, a septuagenarian who wants the trio to discover what his pretty, young wife, Carmie, is up to.  Millions—and a much-desired divorce—rest on it.

What seems fairly straightforward quickly evolves into fairly complicated . . . when Carmie’s battered body is found in the sapphire waters of the Pacific.  It soon becomes evident that Carmie was not the only one with a secret, nor the only one to die an untimely death.  Who among a cast of curious, unconventional characters is tenacious (or crazy) enough to eliminate all living liabilities?  JJ, Rey and Linda determine to find out.

Perhaps you’d like to find out how these aspiring P.I.s fare?  Please check them out at . . .

https://www.amazon.ca/Hula-Hattie-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01KEEBNOS

Hey, it’s Rey Today!

I’ve got post duty today, so hi there!  And guess what?  I’ve got no <bleeping> clue what to post about.  I’m not into editing/proofing or anything like that, as you know.  I could tell you about my life as an actress or a private eye, but Lindy-Loo, my BFF, gave me the evil eye.  JJ just rolled her eyes and took Button for a long walk.

I guess I’ve got writer’s—er, blogger’s—block.  Hmm.  As Lindy-Loo would say, “dang” (I’d say it a bit differently, but our Boss likes to keep her audience at a “family” level, if ya know what I mean).

Okay, so, back to posting.  How about an update re our new/upcoming case?  It ain’t goin’ anywhere—for the moment.  The Boss has way too many mom-care/job responsibilities at this time and she’s lookin’ it, too (maybe I’ll get her some cream to get rid of those ugly bags under her eyes).

But we still have clients coming our way, so we’re keeping busy and staying grateful.  Always look for that light at the end of that dark [sometimes excruciatingly] long tunnel.  JJ might say “count your blessings”.  Lindy-Loo would tell you to keep your “chin up”.  In other words, stay positive and even if today is a super crappy day (oopsy, sorry Boss), realize that tomorrow may just be a heckuva lot better!

Here’s an old song that we never tire of hearing. . . hopefully, you’ll find it just as uplifting as we do (ya can’t help but sing along and/or dance) . . .  keep believin’!

 

To Err is . . .

. . . human.  Sure, of course it is.  But to err as a writer is not a good thing.

As an editor, I make mistakes; I may miss the odd typo or don’t see for looking <slap on wrist>.  That’s human, but not professional.  Nor is it professional for a writer to make errors.  Yes, there may be an editor to catch things, and that’s fine . . . to a point.  I believe, from both the writing and editing perspectives, that it’s important—as I’ve often stated—to  demonstrate competence.

So, why don’t we review those things that writers, perhaps more specifically new ones, make.  Here is some food for thought . . .

Say, as that new writer, you’ve determined what you want to write, how you’re going to present it, and that you’ve perhaps even completed it.  Are you going to send it off—to an agent or publisher?  Perhaps.  But maybe you’d like to review it first (emphasis on the maybe, as in “yes”)?  First drafts should not be final drafts.

Have you checked out the genre your book embraces?  There are certain practices that should be followed; readers of given genres have certain expectations.  A great way to see what’s what: read, read, read (learn, learn, learn) as many books as you can in your given/preferred genre.

Does the story/book start with a strong opening—one that attracts the reader (wants him/her to continue reading)?  If not, consider how you might make it more tantalizing/gripping/intriguing.

On a similar note, does that opening provide too much background or history from the get-go?  If it does, again, consider how you might make it, yes, more tantalizing/gripping/intriguing.

Are you telling as opposed to showing?  Sounding like a colleague spewing facts and figures at a never-ending meeting?  Mix in dialogue and action with the details and descriptions.  Add friction and tension.  Speaking of telling, what about the voice, the narrative?  Does it flow naturally or sound forced/stilted?  Is it repetitive?  Don’t repeat details or have characters recounting events and the like over and over . . . and over and over . . . and over again.

And what about your plot (storyline)?  Is it strong?  Does it keep the reader interested?  Are there any holes (errors) in it?  Does the action flow (is there logical progression)?  Are loose ends tied up?

What about typos and grammatical inconsistencies and punctuation errors?  Getting feedback is a good thing.  Ask friends and folks to read/review your book.  If you can, hire an editor, but if you can’t, there are a lot of wonderful writers’ groups to be found on social media; ask if someone would be interested in helping a fellow writer.

If you’re submitting to an agent and publisher, learn what the submission requirements are . . . and make certain, when you submit, your query is professionally presented.

That’s it, that’s all.  For now.  <LOL>  Happy writing . . . and editing.

Judy Hogan Writes

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