Fresh Fodder, Smellin’ Like a Flower

Bad title, huh?  I thought it had a nice little poetic thing going, but Linda groaned and rolled her eyes and JJ just shook her head and walked away with her arms in the air.  Hmmpf.  I don’t see either one of them posting today. 

Hey, it’s Rey.  The Boss has a whack of things to do over the long weekend—yeah, there’s one across the waves and north of the 49th Parallel, which according to Ms. Smarty Pants (Lindy-Loo) is the latitude line that shapes the boundary between Canada and the United States . . . somewhere between Manitoba and B.C., if I got that correctly (and do I really care?).

Anyway, I’m happy to post on behalf of my two fellow [lazy] colleagues.  Maybe I’m not posting something super fresh, but it’s worth touching upon, and that makes it as fresh and fragrant as—you got it—a flower.  😊

The Boss, like most of us, gets bummed out when no one “likes” her post or criticizes her writing / editing.  I get that.  I’ve gotten a lot of criticism in my life, and it’s not easy to deal with, much less accept. So, how do we turn a negative experience into something positive?

Probably the first thing is not to snap at the person who’s delivered the less-than-pleasant “news”.  It’s hard not to want to become defensive, for sure.  But my experience has been that if you can remain cool—take a deep breath or three—then you might just get a useful “take away” in return.  Ask the person to elaborate; they may actually have some useful information/advice.  But if they’re not offering anything of value, leave it, walk away.  Tempting as it might be, don’t criticize in return; that doesn’t resolve much except aggravate the situation; it just makes those sour grapes all the more tart (and hard to swallow).

Look at criticism as feedback.  Criticism is such a negative word, so think of it as feedback—opinions and suggestions.  Those sound so much more upbeat, don’t they?

And feel free to offer your side.  Respond to the “feedback”—not with snarls and an oh-really?! attitude.  Explain your intention, where you’re coming from.  Maybe Mr./Ms. Feedback misunderstood your intent.  And, if he/she didn’t—and doesn’t—get it, move on. 

We can’t be loved all the time, by everyone. That’d be wonderful, but that’s not the real world.  Learning to deal with negative comments about our writing/blogging—our hair, our habits, whatever—is the best course of action.  Who’s the better person?  The criticizer?  Or the criticizee? 

Yeah, I know, Linda’s already snickering about my word usage.  And speaking of criticizers, like my BFF, that’s the beauty of solid relationships; you know where you stand and you how to react.  That’s not always the case with people you don’t know well or at all.  But, regardless of who you’re dealing with, know that responding is best done with a smile (even if forced) and, maybe, sometimes with a grain of salt.

A Whole Lot About Nothin’

Actually, that’s probably more like a whole little about nothin’, because I can’t imagine this post will go on endlessly.

I’m sitting here, sucking back vanilla yogurt, after sucking caramel candies, after sucking back frozen mochi, and experiencing a bit of a sugar rush (never mind wondering why the jeans are fitting a bit more snugly).

It’s one of those mornings . . . days . . . when I don’t feel like posting.  But I’ve never not posted on a Wednesday or Saturday, and don’t want to stop now.  It’s a commitment thing.  Sort of.  Kind of.  If I didn’t post on the timetabled day, I’d probably get mad at myself.  That wouldn’t be good because I get p’o’d at myself enough as it is (hmm, maybe that’s a future post).

I’m guessing as fellow writers/bloggers, you probably have similar don’t-wanna days.  Or should we call them I-wanna-do-this-instead days?

I wanna be walking the dog (if I had one).  I wanna watch [mindless] TV.  I wanna go eat a triple-scoop ice-cream by the water’s edge.  I wanna listen to soothing music.  I wanna eat a big bag of ketchup chips.  I wanna dream of winning a million dollars and all the things I’d do.  I wanna . . . so not be writing a blog post.

Maybe it’s blog burnout?  . . . Nawwwwww.  More like blogger emulating sloth, which sounds like another, and rather pleasant, wanna—I wanna be hanging from a tree, closing my eyes to the world passing by.

On that note, I believe I’ll meander about aimlessly and do a whole lot of nothin’.  😉

Two New

Two of my favorite fellow authors have books coming out soon.  Having had the pleasure of reading both, I can honestly say neither disappoint.  It’s a bit too early to provide reviews, but there’s nothing wrong with plugs.  😉

1seanSean Robins’ The Gray Emperor is Book Seven in The Crimson Deathbringer series.  If you’ve read the sci-fi books, you know they’re chockablock full of action (great intergalactic space battles, fanatical alien species) and humor (danger abounds, so do the drollness and farce).  Jim, the protagonist, and his buddies are back and along for the thrilling ride—the beautiful warrior Xornaa, the prankster “insect” Tarq, the solemn unbeaten General Maada.  . . . Or are they?  Perhaps they’re doppelgangers?

1jinas-profile1Jina S. Bazzar’s Shadow Pawn is a future-set murder mystery with a fantasy component.  It revolves around an intriguing protagonist with an equally intriguing history.  Page one yanks you in, as a good book should.  The storyline, action and descriptions, have you wanting to continue reading.  There’s a dark element, which adds to the thrills/excitement.  And who doesn’t love a resilient headstrong heroine who never backs down?

Simple fact: Sean and Jina are exceptionally talented authors whose stories always entertain.  This blog will feature reviews of The Gray Emperor and Shadow Pawn in the next month or so.  Meanwhile, you can find Sean and Jina on various sites (just do that Googling thing); I heartily recommend you check them out.

https://www.amazon.com/Jina-S.-Bazzar/e/B07B2989VT%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

https://www.amazon.com/Sean-Robins/e/B07PS1116K%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

A Short Summer Break . . . Sorta

The Boss is away today—too much on her editing plate, but she’s fine/happy with that.

The three of us are still entrenched in the Mo-Mo Martine case.  Someone took out this up-and-coming Montreal-based mobster back when disco and polyester were popular . . . but his body was only discovered recently . . . on our side of the world!

Here’s an excerpt:

He held up a ruddy, scarred hand and then pointed toward the living room.  Before we could proceed, an officer rushed through the front door.  “McLeod’s delayed.  Engine blew on the H1.  And Tenafly slipped down an incline as he was checking out the area.  Twisted his ankle.”

Ald Ives rolled his eyes and muttered something under his breath.

I moved to the aluminum baluster railing and eyed the expanse before us: sapphire ocean to the front, stately homes over the incline to our left, and a racket-ball club to the right.  Given how Antoinetta was sitting, it seemed likely the shot had come from somewhere along the tree- and shrub-dense slope.

“Care to do some private-eyeing?” I asked my colleagues.

“Let’s—”

“Leave it to my team,” Ald interrupted Rey with a stern expression.

“Your team seems to be slipping up,” she said with a disarming smile.  “Or is that down?”

He rolled his eyes again and peered below when his name was called.

“The cousin’s here to pick up his sister to take her to the funeral parlor, sir.  What’ll we tell him?” a young officer asked.

Ald drew a deep breath.  “I’ll be right down.”

“Catch up later?” Linda asked.

He nodded curtly and instructed us to provide our statements to Officer Ramsey before we left.  We watched him hasten outside.

“Telling someone they’ve lost a loved one has got to be the toughest part of the job,” Rey murmured.

Linda and I concurred.

“Are we still meeting Harry for dinner?” Linda asked.

“No reason not to,” Rey replied, nodding toward an officer checking something on his cell phone.  “That’s Ramsey, isn’t it?”

I nodded, recalling having met him at an HPD softball game last month.  “After giving our statements, how about we do some digging and see what we can find out about Stefano’s fatal ‘accident’?”

Rey eyed me curiously.  “You thinking it wasn’t one?”

“Pietro had something to do with Mo-Mo’s death.  Stefano died just a few months after.  Coincidence?  Or . . . ?”

“Or,” my cousin said flatly.

“Or,” Linda repeated with a firm nod.

We haven’t placed any bets re who the killer might be, because it could be one of a dozen-plus potential perps.

We do love challenges, though, so we’re going to get out there and meet one head on!

. . . Aloh-haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

No Summertime Blues

The Boss is taking the weekend to do clean-up and whatnot, so she asked if one of us would like to post.  We all volunteered but, to be honest, not one of us could think of something [interesting] to post.  It’s summer.  Vacations abound.  It’s a time to be footloose and fancy-free, to be less stressed, less preoccupied, less work-driven.  It’s a time to dance!

So, we decided we’d keep it light and bouncy.  Rey, Linda and I (JJ) are simply going to provide you with three songs we think reflect summer cheer and gaiety.

Over to you, Cousin Reynalda.

Hey, it’s Rey!  Yay!  Uncle Gary was a child (teen) of the 70s.  Whenever we’d spend mid-July at his Maine cottage, he’d play 70s music.  That was okay; as a kid, I liked anything upbeat.  He’d always start off our stay—kinda like an official commencement to the cottage retreat—with Mungo Jerry’s “In the Summertime”.  (Linda, who has a whack of facts crammed in her pretty head, said the name was inspired by a poem by T.S. Eliot, “Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer”.  Ok-kay.)  Ya know, I can still see us dancing on the dock—and sometimes off.  Yeah, good times.

https://youtu.be/yG0oBPtyNb0

And super smart Linda?

I’m going to go with the hugely talented Norah Jones’ “Summertime”.  She has an awesome, sexy voice.  The piano sounds so right—appealing, pleasing, hum-provoking.  When she sings that song, it’s easy to imagine myself reclining on a chaise longue by the pool at sunset, an icy sangria in hand (which I’ve done many a summer eve).  It’s a great way to chill on a breezy, hot solstice eve.

https://youtu.be/czkLkyS_0S0

Over to you, JJ.

It’s a cross between a relatively newer song and an older one; both put spring into my steps and bounce in my bu-uh-behind.  Rauw Atejandro’s “Todo de Ti” is fun and fresh.  Shaggy’s “In the Summertime” is fun and familiar.  You know, I think I’ll go with singer, rapper and songwriter, Rauw.  I’m feeling some serious dance moves coming on . . .

https://youtu.be/CFPLIaMpGrY

Here’s to the rest of a great summer—hang loose and dance like there’s no tomorrow!  😊

Can “I” Die?

Sounds rather tragic, if not dark, doesn’t it?  Not to worry.  I’m not thinking of leaving this mortal coil.  😊  Another way to pose the title question: when you’re writing your book in first-person, can your protagonist die?  Not quite as “grabbing”, though, is it?  😉

The question was posed on a writer’s site recently, and it caught my attention.  Quite honestly, it’s something I’ve never considered.  Kill a secondary/crucial character, yes, maybe, but the central character, the protagonist, the narrator?  Never!

But then, I’m a want/need-a-happy-ending gal.  Central characters shouldn’t die; that’s just wrong.  If I enjoyed the read and the hero/heroine bites the bullet after I’ve traveled through thick and thin with them, I’m in a [major] funk for days!  I feel deprived . . . deceived . . . and downright p’o’d.

If it’s really in your heart to do so, though, to accomplish the fatal grand finale, you could switch between POVs—something that drives me absolutely crazy (and will usually have me tossing the book into the recycling bin)—and have another character, or you, detail what’s so tragically transpired.

And, just to ensure we’re on the same page, let’s quickly summarize the three POVs.

♠   1st person: the storyteller is part of the story or is involved in it and relates the action from his or her own point-of-view.  ♠  2nd person:  the storyteller talks directly to you and pulls you into the narrative (not my cup of tea, but to each his or her own).  ♠  3rd person: the storyteller is an indirect onlooker and provides particulars, rather like a journalist/reporter might.

Alternatively, you could end with, well, your protagonist’s end-ing.

I noticed the Colt Python a mere second before Lee fired it—into my heart.  I always thought death was instantaneous when a bullet burst into a vital organ.  But I was dead wrong . . . literally . . . there’s a split “reality check” second.

So, yes, sure, you can kill off your central character.  And it wouldn’t be that difficult.  But do be imaginative.  And remember this: you’d be limited in the sequel department, unless you plan to bring your protagonist back from the hereafter . . . as a narrating ghost . . . ?

Almost Missed the Posting Boat

Sometimes, things are simply not in your hands . . . like hours-long across-the-nation Internet outages.

What a calamity, what misfortune . . . what nonsense and absurdity . . . and a major reality check.  We’re totally hooked [dependent] on technology.

After spending a few [useless] hours at work, chatting and chuckling about said calamity and tossing about yeah-I’ll-head-home-soon-’cause-there’s-nothing-to-do-here remarks, it was indeed time to do just that.

Seeing people’s faces on the streets as yours truly walked home, had me thinking a major to-do had occurred or that the world was coming to an end.  Countless people milling about outside shops, gulping coffee, eyes wide, staring disbelievingly at cell phones, tap-tap-tapping, hoping [praying] for some connection to the cyberspace sphere.  What the <bleep>?!?!  Say it ain’t so, Joe!  We’ve been disconnected, cut off from the real world, the news, social media, mom and sis, and Auntie Em!  Dang, we’re doomed.

It’s been over 10 hours since “No Internet Access” popped up.  I sure wouldn’t want to be in the IT folks’ shoes today.  Can you spell s-t-r-e-s-s?

. . . And now, I’m back.   Indeedy-do, I almost missed the posting boat.  Fortunately, life has returned to [relative] normalcy.  Not everything is readily accessible as yet, but <audible sigh of relief> we’ll get there.

We always do, one way or another.  😉

Time for a Shameless Mid-Week Post

If I don’t promote myself, who will?  😉  It’s a job I am so not adept at (what with time, work and life getting in the way), but here goes . . .

My new book collection is now live and can be found at various retailers, such as those below:

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/triple-threat-mysteries-collection/id6443052045

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/triple-threat-mysteries-collection-tyler-colins/1141713349?ean=2940166791627

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=gzt4EAAAQBAJ

Rakuten Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/triple-threat-mysteries-collection

1NCaaaPer Next Chapter—thank you, NC 😊—these collections are targeted toward a specific segment of the eBook market, specifically, “binge readers” who prefer to purchase the whole series / several novels in one go.

Initially, NC is only publishing these collections in wide distribution.  Amazon editions will follow (once the Amazon version is live, I’ll let you know).

And that, my friends, is all she wrote.  😊

Best Foot Forward

(nothing like an editor making a major flub in the title – LMAO)

An old expression, which dates back to the 16th century if anyone cares, but still used now and again.  Meaning?

♦  to present an ideal version of yourself (to impress others)  ♦  to make the best possible impression  ♦  to start trying hard to be the best, or as good, as you can, or  ♦  a favorable initial impression.

It popped into my head the other day while browsing author-related social media.  Sadly, there are still people out there who like to criticize others—for how they write, an idea they have, a book they’ve written, a manuscript they hope will be published.

In my travels, I also  found some posts that disparaged others for their views, comments, ideologies, and even looks. Are we so perfect that we have that right—to condemn or ridicule or laugh at?

I always attempt to consider others’ feelings and respond/write accordingly.  However, I’m guilty of making a recent comment that, while not outright critical, probably wasn’t that nice . . . which is why I felt compelled to post about it.  It was a rare moment and the post I was responding to rather . . . well . . . shocked me.  So much so, I wrote a terse reply.

While there’s nothing wrong with constructive criticism (and I’ve posted re this previously), there’s a lot wrong with critical destructiveness.

We truly are unique individuals, and being “one-of-a-kind” should be honored and valued.  How dull and predictable the world would be if we were all the same.

Treat others with the respect they [we] deserve.  Enough said.

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