Read My Lips

TikTok is the newish marketing tool for authors. I’m a little late to the game. And maybe a little too old for it, but it amuses me.

This morning I decided to recycle my first TikTok video, adding captions to a post in which I read a scene from Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort aloud.

Adding captions is as easy as clicking on a button that says captions. But there’s a catch—if you don’t spend a little time editing the captions you might give your readers/viewers an unexpected giggle.

Unexpected pickles are all the rage these days. I believe “giggle” was the correct word, though.
I had to grab the book to figure out this sentence, but maybe I should’ve left this at it is…

So I’ve found a new way to amuse myself. This could be dangerous.

Peace, people!

Rules to Live By

The title is a bit lofty, isn’t it? It should read, “Rules I must abide by 90% of the time just for the hell of it.” But that’s just too long.

You see, since I discovered Wordle I have made it a habit to solve it first thing in the morning—before I get out of bed. And then I learned about quordle. It’s four wordle puzzles in one. A little harder, but usually solvable—again before rising.

But, then Octordle came along. It’s like wordle on steroids—eight wordle puzzles. Lots of fun! But I must solve it first thing in the morning, as well.

The same goes for Wordle 2, a six-letter version of the original Wordle game. It’s my favorite of the bunch.

Now this may sound daunting, but usually I can solve all the puzzles within a 20-minute time span.

And then I play Framed. It’s not about words at all.

Would you believe me if I said all these puzzles help with the writing process? No, I’m not buying it either.

Peace, people!

Sweet Review

I received the sweetest review for my Happy Valley series on Amazon today:

Hope. That’s what it’s all about, right?.

http://Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort (The Happy Valley Series) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08P76RBRD/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_EVSJZR95Y0R5KRHCFMKD

http://Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort (The Happy Valley Series) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09M544HFH/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_XD459WA2H9P977VHK9XX

Restructuring

Reunion at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort is in the hands of my editor. Well, to be more precise, it’s bouncing back and forth between my editor and me.

Edits for the first two thirds of the book went fairly smoothly, and then we hit a snag. I’m the snag. Now I’m involved in the delicate act of restructuring. Also known as “fixing all the stuff I did wrong.”

I did a LOT of stuff wrong. All I can say is, thank goodness for word processing programs.

Oh, if you haven’t read the first two books in the Happy Valley series, now would be a great time to do that. I’m hoping Reunion will be ready to publish by the first of June.

Peace, people!

http://Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort (The Happy Valley Series) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08P76RBRD/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_TYKFSJZ3B6S7QEJXPSAH

http://Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort (The Happy Valley Series) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09M544HFH/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_24J10JVS86N13Z8HRP46

Back in the Olden Days

There was a time, children, when phones did not come equipped with cameras. I should know; I lived through those dark days, and even for me it’s now a concept that is difficult to grasp.

Back in the olden days if someone, a man for example, wanted to take a photograph of his daughter holding his first born grandchild, he would likely have to wrestle a roll of film into a boxy camera, maybe a Brownie, carefully aligning the slots of the undeveloped film onto a cylinder-shaped sprocket-type mechanism. He’d have to shut the case and advance the film until some vague sign from the gods told him to stop.

There might have been much fumbling and cursing as he went about this task. I wouldn’t know—I was only two and a half months old.

The man would then carefully consider the lighting and the background. He would try his best to capture a moment worth saving. You see, there were no editing options on the side of the camera. No cropping capabilities without actual scissors. Oh, and weeks might elapse between the day the image was snapped and the day it could be fetched from the drugstore, and even then one might receive only unfocused double exposures or even pictures of nothingness.

For the man, photography wasn’t a hobby. He just needed a visual reminder of how his daughter looked as she held her own daughter on an ordinary day. A moment in time that would pass and never come again in exactly the same way. A memory that his granddaughter would one day, 65 some odd years later, take a picture of with her cellphone to post on Mothers Day.

He succeeded, and I am grateful.

Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful mother. I miss you every day.

Freida Jarrett Hall and little me.

Clearly, I Have Unresolved Issues

A dream:

I stood in a field

Surrounded by children.

One asked,

Will you mentor me?

I hemmed and hawed

Scratched my head,

Then, yes.

But know I don’t take this lightly.

We drove to a school

Children in plaid skirts and narrow ties

Crowded near.

This is my mentor,

The child said.

She took my hand and we walked

Through archways,

Across sports fields.

We sat at narrow desks.

I thought to ask her name.

Didn’t you know already?

It’s your name, too.

A cat wound our way

Demanded a petting.

The girl smiled.

I’ve named her after us.

Flailing

Is it okay to blame everything on menopause? My anxiety? My lack of focus? My inability to allow an event to unfold without my interference? My flailing about? No, it’s really not. I tried to kick it back to “the change,” but that would be a cop out.

You see, I’m a flailer. And, it’s okay when my flailing affects only me, but sometimes it spills over into the larger world and then I feel like dog poo. Like right now.

I had an issue with booking a room in Vegas for a conference in November. I’d used the conference link to make the reservation, but when I called the hotel to alter the reservation, they had no record of it having been made. I spoke with multiple customer service reps, giving them my confirmation number as it appeared on the email the hotel sent me, but received the same answer each time: “We’re sorry, but we don’t have a reservation for you.”

So, what did this anxiety-ridden old woman do? She posted an account of her issue on the conference attendees’ Facebook page. Surely if I had this issue others might have it, too.

Long story short, no, they did not have a problem. It was just me. But I managed to spark a panic. In my flailing, I bumped up against people I don’t even know, and likely caused a lot of unnecessary work for customer service at the hotel. I know I probably gave the conference organizer a pounding headache as he intervened for me.

I’m not sure what my punishment should be, but maybe, just maybe I learned a lesson: Flail if you must; but keep it to yourself.

Peace, people.

TikTok Learning Curve

I’d been trying to get my nerve up to use TikTok as a marketing platform for my books for a while now. Finally this week I uploaded my first video. Using my trusty iPhone I took probably nine trillion takes and finally produced a clip that didn’t make me gag.

It’s a very simple video with no special effects or showing of cleavage or dancing about. It’s just me reading a portion of a chapter from Mayhem at the Happy Valley Resort. It received about 830 views and a few likes then sputtered out.

So I produced a second video. It required fewer takes since I didn’t fumble around with the variety of buttons available. Again, I read from one of my books, The Cowboy and the Executive. I think it’s been viewed a little over six hundred times with a smattering of likes.

I tried a silly one last night. Just me hiding beneath a blanket to escape the editing process. That little experiment died on the vine.

So today, I’m putting on a ridiculously low cut blouse, cranking up some sexy music, and dancing around the pole I had Studly Doright install in the dining room. That should sell some books, right?

Peace, people!

Sacrifice

As Lanie strolled along the tree lined pathways that meandered through the urban park, she often imagined living in one of the apartments overlooking the venue. One with a balcony where a wide array of plants in multi-colored pots competed for their place in the sun.

Of course she knew there were times when the goings on in the park might distract from her peace. The solstices, when virgins were offered up in exchange for safe passage between the seasons, would be particularly messy. Better, perhaps, to stay in her current dwelling, where the only inconvenience might be the occasional burglary.

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