Giving Gratitude

A simple post today.  As some of you may be aware, yours truly has been rather stressed (depressed) for the long last while.  Trying to go with the flow.  I know, nix the “trying”—just go with it, right?  (Maybe if the flow tried to go with me a wee bit, that would help, but that’s another rant, uh, post.  LOL)

While I haven’t had all the time I’d like to devote to blogging, writing, and social media—especially of late—I’m still quite aware, in my present rush-through reading/writing/life travels, of all the wonderful blogs, sites, books, and people out there.  So many individuals share incredible, uplifting, and enlightening things—be it telling tales, personal episodes and events, messages of faith and belief, or stories of perseverance and strength.

A few fun and fascinating folks have entered my life since I began blogging and some are still there, even though I’ve been remiss in staying in regular touch.  But I hope they know that my thoughts and good wishes are always with them.

Giving gratitude is a very good thing, and something we should do frequently.  Let’s be thankful for a lovely sunrise, a wonderful warming cup of joe, a pretty poem, a side-splitting story . . . a shy smile.

I’d like to extend a simple, wholehearted thank you to everyone who has entered my life, even fleetingly.  You’ve touched me in some way and I’m grateful I’ve received the opportunity for our paths to cross.

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Do You Hear What I See?

Happy Wednesday everyone.  It’s Linda.  The Boss is still stressed (a bit depressed, too), so I said I’d be happy to post today.  The $1,000 question though: about what?  In view of the fact I review wines and food, I thought maybe I’d feature a few outstanding Hawaiian wines and culinary delights . . . or perhaps enlighten readers about the local music and literary scene.  So many topics, so little time and space.  He-he.

As I sit here listening to Jake Shimabukuro (a cutie who plays an awesome ukulele) I’m thinking how much books are like music.  Comprised of words, units of language, stories communicate accounts, events, yarns, legends: tales simple and complex.  Much like songs.

Words are lyrics.  Words are music.  Like melodies, they flow . . . and have rhythm.  They entertain.  Soothe.  Thrum and strum.  An arrangement of vocal/instrumental sounds.  Writing a narrative is like writing an aria or anthem.  A fluid artistic endeavor.

Athenian philosopher Plato stated, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”  No argument there.  And the word “stories” could easily be exchanged for “music”.

According to Modest Mouse, an American rock band formed in the 90s, “Music is to the soul what words are to the mind.”  Right on.

And there’s a great quote from Alphonse Marie Louise de Prat de Lamartine, Knight of Pratz (that’s a mouthful): “Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends.”  Born in the 18th century, De Lamartine, for those not in the know, was a French writer, poet.  He was quite influential in the continuation of the Tricolore as the flag of France, as well as the Second Republic (a transient republican government under Napoléon Bonaparte).  I digress.

I told Rey what I’d written just before getting ready to post.  She responded with two typical Reynalda Fonne-Werde comebacks: a buffalo snort and a loud raspberry.  Then she fell on the sofa and laughed.  Guffawed, actually.  This encouraged me to do exactly what I’d set out to—with a trumpet blast.  In her ear.  He-he.

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What’s Wrong with One More Saturday Shameless Self-Promotion?

Gotta love those.

Hey, it’s Rey.  The Boss is de-stressing . . . again (poor thing).  So I volunteered to post today.  Topic?  An easy one—I didn’t have to give it any thought—coz the Next Chapter folks sent a cool email the other day. WPpromoA

The publishing company is expanding their book marketing and joining up with Prolific Works, previously known as InstaFreebie.  How whizbang is that?  Very!  Because this allows readers to claim a FREE preview—not the whole thing, folks—of Next Chapter books.  (JJ, Linda and I’d love for you to take a look at our adventures!)

Good news for you.  They’ve provided links to The Boss’ book page, so you can take a gander (an expression Cousin Jilly and The Boss like to use).  A favor from yours truly:  please check out the Prolific Works giveaways by clicking on these links:

 The Connecticut Corpse Caper  https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/5qAjEzfK

 Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie?  https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/K4tsH2TL

 Coco’s Nuts  https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/7HnIyUtj

 Forever Poi  https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/L9QLKnyk

Next Chapter’s super excited about this.  So are we!

Return to Drew-Land

Last year I returned to Nancy Drew mysteries—Nostalgia-Land—rereading books I loved as a kid.

Before the holidays (pressie to self), I ordered a box set—1 through 10—and had a chance to read a few.  Given the ol’ stress level, the revisit to Nostalgia-Land/Drew-Land was a welcome break . . . and much needed escape.

Here are reviews for the first three in the long-established series.

The Secret of the Old Clock

This story was first written in 1930 and then rewritten in 1959.  Nancy aged two years, going from 16 to 18, and received a personality readjustment. WPNancyABB

Our young sleuth is asked to help the Crowley family, courtesy of her fondness for a young girl being raised by the not-in-their-prime Turner sisters, Mary and Edna.  The snobby and snotty Tophams, who took in Josiah Crowley during his later years, are certain they’ll inherit everything . . . but, as Fate would have it, there’s a new will.  It leaves money to some very much deserving people.  Enter Nancy.  Will she be able to locate the legal declaration?  Where will she look?  In an old clock that Edna said Josiah had once mentioned?  Which one!?

Best friends Bess and George aren’t on the scene yet, but Helen Corning is.  She seems a bit flat, but maybe it’s because I like the cousins; they have personality.  It receives a 2.5. out of 5 because Nancy is on her own a lot and there’s way too much “thinking”.

The Hidden Staircase

WPNancyABCGood friend Helen Corning, now engaged, asks Nancy to help solve the mystery of Twin Elms, her grandmother’s supposedly haunted house.  Before she and Aunt Rosemary arrive at Nancy’s home, a man arrives and advises the pretty detective that her father is in danger because of the railroad case he’s working on.

Despite a dangerous incident, Mr. Drew tells his daughter to go to Twin Elms.  Once there, Miss Flora tells Nancy about a ghost, how things are disappearing and strange things are occurring.  Music plays suddenly, a chandelier swings on its own accord, and a mask appears at a window.  Yup.  Bizarre goings-on indeed.  Intrigued, Nancy investigates the house inside and out . . . and eventually discovers a hidden staircase.  I won’t share where; you’ll have to read the book.

There’s also the subplot where Mr. Drew disappears and it’s feared the famous lawyer has been drugged and kidnapped.  This new and urgent mystery demands Nancy’s attention.  This one gets 3.5 out of 5 (I like “haunted” places).

The Bungalow Mystery

WPNancyAmazonDOTcom2The third story in the fun series starts with Nancy and good friend Helen on a boat during a storm.  A very ugly storm.   They capsize, but are rescued by Laura Pendleton, a fellow boater.  The trio row to a cove and head to a bungalow that Laura had noticed earlier.  They find food in a pantry; how lucky is that?  As the threesome dry off and warm up, they get to know one another.  Young Laura tells them she will be meeting her guardians—Mr. and Mrs. Aborn—at a local hotel, and then live with them in their home on Melrose Lake.

The Aborns are not the nicest folks and soon Laura calls Nancy to ask for help.  She escapes the room she’s been locked in and finds herself at the Drew house.  Fortunately, she took her mother’s valuable jewels with her . . . but that won’t stop the Aborns from trying to get them.  Whatever the cost.

Our resolute sleuth gets caught up in chases and explosions, and discovers the truth about the Aborns.  Missing money and securities are located, and crooks nabbed.  I’d give this a 2 out of 5 (it had some snoozer moments).

Definitely nothing wrong with visiting Nostalgia-Land or Drew-Land.  Enjoy(ed) them both and looking forward to doing so again!

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1 Point Here, ½ Point There

As a reviewer, I will deduct ½-1 point when I find a number of typos and errors/inconsistencies.  Thinking on it the other day, I questioned whether this was fair, given that it can really be the editor’s fault and not the writer’s.

But is it really?  As a writer, I do my best to catch all typos and inconsistencies in a manuscript, but given I’m human, I might not necessarily capture them all.  As an editor, I do my best to catch all typos and inconsistencies in a manuscript, but given I’m human, I might not necessarily capture them all.

The editor in me will honestly confess that it sometimes irks me when I receive a manuscript abundant with errors, some so glaring and numerous it makes me wince.  It suggests the writer completed one draft and didn’t give a fig about revising or editing.  Perhaps he/she knew there’d be an editor, so why bother or worry?  Who needs to sweat the small stuff, right?  The manuscript was completed; that’s all that matters.  That’s fine, I suppose.  But what if said editor is good but not great?  What happens then?

This brings me back to previous posts re the importance of proofing and editing our own work.  Most writers find it a tiresome if not daunting task, and I get that.  But consider it this way: it’s a valuable way [practice] to augment writing skills. The more we edit and rework—polish—the more we learn and develop.  And the less we have to rely on someone else to “perfect” our product.  There’s a certain degree of pride in that, don’t you think?

Today, thanks to world of e-publishing, anyone and everyone can be an author . . . which is wonderful, because traditional publishing of yesteryear made the book world a very difficult realm to break into.  Yet it can also lend itself to a certain apathy, where the standard of professionalism seems less critical (that’s another post, my friends).

Conclusion?  Deductions will continue . . . as will counsel re the virtues of self-editing and augmenting our skills. WPuihereA

Review: With Her Fists by Henry Roi

Is it [exceptional] bad luck or being in the wrong place at the [dreadfully] wrong time?  Or a question of both?  One fateful day, Clarice Carter and her hubby, Ace, are conducting business as usual at their shop, Custom Ace, and the next they’re both in correctional facilities—for the long haul.  Who do they have to thank?  A couple of nasty, dirty cops with ties to The Teacher and a no-holds-barred cartel.

Speaking of holds, Clarice “Shocker the Fighter” Carter is a bantam-weight pugilist with numerous wins under her belt.  Being a skilled boxer comes in handy when you’re behind bars, living under conditions that go beyond trying.  But this gal’s strong and determined, and she’ll do what’s necessary to survive—and escape.

WPbookRoiABCWhen you have cellmates with names like Death Punch, Boogerilla and Tattoo Face, you know trouble can’t be far off.  With Her Fists, Henry Roi’s gritty and raw debut novel surges like a whitewater river.  The action is intense, and the details and descriptions are so thorough that you can effortlessly visualize settings and characters (some in all their scary, unsavory splendor).

The facts re boxing and tattooing create an additional layer of realness, and there’s humor, too, which helps alleviate the ugliness of correctional life (and death).

“So peanut butter and jelly with sweat pants and a side order of hand towelettes,” Eddy said.  “Thank you for choosing Fugitive King.  Please drive around to the window.”

“I want fries and a divorce with that,” Ace added.  “I’m citing ‘irreconcilable driving differences’.”

“He screamed like a girl,” Clarice informed them.  Eddy merely chuckled.  Bobby sounded like he was choking to death.

While they waited on delivery service from Fugitive King, Ace and Clarice walked down to the water.  Held hands and sat on the sand bar, fully exposed in all its smelly glory, low tide waters lapping gently against the small beach and bank connected to it.  An early morning fisherman motored his skiff out around the marsh islands a couple hundred yards in the distance, sea gulls hovering over him, man and boat silhouetted from the rising sun 93,000,000 miles behind him. 

Ace gripped her hand.  “Should I moon that guy?” he said.

Clarice looked at him, shocked, and gasped, “No!  What’s wrong with you?  Act your age, dude.”

He just smirked.  Stood and offered her his hand.  Clarice took it and gained her feet.  He bowed and kissed her fingers.

Then they turned around and exposed their glowing rear-ends to the fisherman.

With Her Fists receives a 4.5 rating (the editor in me has to deduct ½ point because of typos and inconsistencies like italics usage).

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The author, Henry Roi, was born and raised on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and finds inspiration in its places and people.  As a GED tutor and fitness instructor, and advocate of adult education in all forms, he works one-on-one as well as on-line.  Personal interests, not surprisingly, include: tattoo art, prison reform, and auto mechanics.

This talented writer also focuses on promoting indie writers by arranging reviews, delivering media campaigns, and running blog tours.

You can find Henry on Twitter and Facebook @HenryRoiPR.

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New Year, New Outlook, New Hope(s)

Hey, it’s Rey.  The Boss is in meltdown mode these days (poor thing), so we decided to take over re the first official 2020 blog post (New Year’s Day doesn’t count).  We’re keepin’ it light; nothing earth-shattering or overly deep. 

Because it’s a new year—a new decade—the three of us from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency thought we’d share what we’d like to accomplish and see happen this year. 

We’ll start with my BFF, Linda.  Over to you, hon!

WPAgency2Thanks Rey.  I’m not looking for anything grandiose.  A nice home, sufficient finances, and continued employment would be perfectly fine.  Blogging and writing is fun, so I definitely want to continue with both.  Volunteering with the homeless goes without saying.  Oh, can’t forget continued good health:  that’s important.  What would I like to accomplish or see happen outside the norm?  Well, it would be great if the agency were successful—i.e. it receives steady, regular cases.  And I wouldn’t mind a trip to Japan and Hong Kong.  <chuckle>  Rey’s rolling her eyes and feigning a yawn.

That was a snoozer, wasn’t it?  Thanks Linda for sharing that non-exciting wish-list.  What about you, Cousin Jilly?  Hopefully your 2020 plans are more thrilling.

WPAgency1Sorry to disappoint, Cousin Reynalda.  I’m of a similar mind.  I’m not looking for huge financial gain, other than what we earn through the agency or via independent projects.  I’m content with the new house, even if it needs a lot of work.  I’d like us to have more cases, but we’re not doing that badly for a relatively new agency, so I’ll keep the faith that all will work out in our favor.  A relationship doesn’t appeal to me, at least not at this time; it’s too much work, never mind the making-compromises component.  Volunteering at the animal shelter is a must.  <hehe>  My cousin just rolled her eyes again and offered a big fat, fake yawn.

Thanks JJ.  Another snoozer.  Okay, here’s what yours truly hopes for 2020.

WPAgency3I’m all for having a nice home, an exciting private-eye career, and saving the monk seals.  That’s the humdrum stuff outta the way; now for the real, fun things.  I want lots of money, because—as you know—I love shopping.  Faux designer bags and shoes are okay, but I’d like the genuine articles, know what I mean?  Considering I’ve been married three times, I’m not looking for another walk down the aisle, but I could handle a boyfriend or two.  Question is: could they handle me?  <LMAO>  I still want us to expand the agency—to Maui and Kauai, for starters.  I’d also like to do more community theater and see a movie made about the three of us.  I could play me!  With the right director/crew, it’d win an award or two.

One last thing re 2020: our new case HA-HA-HA-HA will be avail.  Can you spell w-o-o-h-o-o?

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To 2020!

A few thoughts flowed through the ol’ noggin re writing the final post of the year.  The one that persisted was about purging . . . cleansing feelings and sharing truth/life. 

Then I thought, given what I’ve been going through for [too] many years, that would be quite depressing.  Who wants to start a New Year on a negative note?  Not I!  Not this time!

So, here is a simple heartfelt post—and here’s to a truly wonderful, inspiring New Year. 

  May our dreams and aims become reality.    ♥  May the bad/adverse/harmful and hateful be things of the past.    ♥  May we grow as individuals and embrace the good in one another.    ♥  May we forgive.    ♥  May we stand tall and not allow others to topple us.    ♥  May we find the ability to be assertive without being aggressive and do what’s right (and recognize that which is wrong).    ♥  May we be supportive and giving, without being overwhelming or overpowering.    ♥  May those of us who are weak find the strength to [finally] take stands.    ♥  May those of us who have lost our faith once again find it.

Happy 2020 everyone . . . may it be your year!!! 

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T’is Time for [Writing] Resolutions

Given we’re a few days away from a new year (and, with any luck, a better one), t’is time to record resolutions . . . maybe?   They’re great for keeping us focused, not so great for keeping.  Am I right?  . . . Maybe?

Let’s focus on writing resolutions—as in resolutions for writers/bloggers.  There are way too many to consider, so we’ll keep ’em sweet and simple, and fairly straightforward.

The first one has to be, to quote Nike: just do it!  Write, write, write.  Post, post, post.  It’s the blessing, and sometimes the bane, of our existence.

Ensure you write every day; set a schedule.  If you were doing this professionally—and, hopefully, one day you will—you’d have to commit to a timetable.  Arrange one that works with your daily routine.

Challenge yourself this coming year.  Write something outside your comfort zone.  You don’t have to go for a novel; aim for a short story.  If you hate sci-fi, give it a go!  You may surprise yourself.

Learn to embrace—and love—editing.  You can leave it to a professional if you like (and have the $$$), but it’s a skill that can be picked up.  Just apply yourself.  Practice makes perfect.  Am I right?  No maybe this time; it’s a fact.  <LOL>

If you haven’t published or set up a blog yet, do so.  Find a publisher.  Publish an e-book. Create a blog; they’re easy and fun, and can look as professional or arty as you want (just consider your ultimate goal when you design it).

Mingle.  Meet other writers/bloggers.  You can do it on-line or via a real group.  Make sure you’re on social media so that you can connect—not only with fellow authors, but readers, and possible customers (who may partake of your writing skills or blog offerings).

Read.  Learn from others.  Study styles and approaches.  Get (don’t steal) ideas.  See what makes for “success”.

Support your colleagues.  Wouldn’t you want (and appreciate) encouragement in your quest?  Give back . . . always.  It’s a good thing.

Share.  Writing/blogging for personal interest is great.  But if no one reads your stuff, are you getting anything out of it?  . . . Okay, maybe.  Nothing wrong with personal satisfaction.  It depends on your ultimate aim, doesn’t it?

On that note, my aim is complete for today.  But I may be back with more.  We can never have enough resolutions, can we?  WPresolution1

High-Five for a Free Book

Today marks the fifth and last day to get a free copy of Debbie De Louise’s exciting five-star mystery Sea Scope.

This riveting tale revolves around Sarah, still mourning her brother’s death and lamenting the break-up of her marriage.  She decides an escape is in order—and Sea Scope, a childhood home, is the perfect retreat.  Twenty years previous, she and Glen, her brother, had come across a dead body by a lighthouse.  Back then, Sarah couldn’t comprehend why her parents had left Sea Scope so quickly … nor why her father took his life a year later.  Upon return to Sea Scope, she deals with staggering memories and messages.  Strange clues written in crayon are left by someone claiming to be her brother . . . and numerous dazing facts are revealed about that strange summer so many years past.

The universal link to the book is: mybook.to/SeaScope.

You can also find it on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PPW1D41/

Please feel free to check Debbie out at these sites (I’m sure she’d love to have you visit):

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debbie.delouise.author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Deblibrarian

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2750133.Debbie_De_Louise

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2bIHdaQ

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/debbie-de-louise

Website/Blog/Newsletter Sign-Up: https://debbiedelouise.com

♥ Happy Holidays everyone! ♥