Every Now and Then…

…I have to pinch myself.

Here I am, a 65.5-year-old woman who, for most of her life told everyone who cared to listen that someday she’d write a book.

No one really believed me. Heck, I didn’t really believe me. And yet, late in my 64th year, I did just that. I published my first book. Six months later, I published a second book. Write and repeat two more times, and now there are four books with my name on them. Yes, I have to pinch myself.

So whatever it is you have dreamed of doing, start doing it. Don’t make me come over there and pinch you.

The three books in my Happy Valley series.
My sweet AND spicy romance.

Peace, people!

Little Free Library

I placed signed copies of Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort in a couple of Little Free Library installations in the Tallahassee area today.

Take a copy; share a copy…
I hope my baby enjoys her outing!
I wonder if my neighborhood would be interested in joining the Little Free Library ranks? Such a great idea, especially for those of us who live in rural housing developments.

Peace, people!

A Father’s Day Snapshot

Daddy and me

The photo above was developed in December of ‘58. Since the Polaroid instant camera had yet to come into our lives, there’s no way to tell for certain when the picture was taken. But, given that I’m wearing a coat and hat, it might well have been snapped in December, so I’d have been a little over two years old.

Another thing you can’t tell from this image is how much my daddy loved me and how much I loved him right back. I might not have been his biological child, but he adored me. I’ve always thought it was a good thing we didn’t have much money because I truly believe he’d have turned me into an entitled brat. He had trouble telling me “no.”

Daddy came to live with Studly Doright and me in the last couple of years of his life, and I learned more about him in that time than I had in all the previous years put together. We had some good talks about life and love and what makes for a good grocery store and his antics whilst stationed in Japan during his navy days and famous people he’d met while driving a cab in Los Angeles and how to win at blackjack and which club he should have used on the fourth tee box at the Floydada country club during the annual men’s tournament and just about anything else that popped into his head.

To some folks’ way of thinking, there was nothing particularly noteworthy about Gerald Hall. He didn’t have a degree. His ancestral tree didn’t include any persons of note. He never built a house on a hill or had a fancy car. But he was kind and funny and generous. He had a mischievous twinkle in his eye and a fondness for risqué jokes. He loved my brothers and our mom and me. And we loved him. I miss him every day.

Happy Father’s Day.

Heat Wave Reading

The sun had yet to rise on this Saturday morning and already the thermometer read 81° in Tallahassee, Florida. With a predicted high of 100° – and that’s without factoring in humidity – it’d be a good day to stay inside and read.

Need a few suggestions? Happy to oblige. Now I’m the kind of reader that makes Amazon’s algorithms shake their weary heads. If algorithms only had heads. There’s no one genre that dominates my wish list. One day, sci-fi. Another day, steamy romance. Yet another day, some deep tome on what it means to be human. So pay attention.

1) I’m currently reading Hunted, the second installation in Scott Walker’s Little Yokai urban fantasy series, and loving it. His protagonist, Keiko Miller, is a detective in the Los Angeles branch of the Bureau of Souls – an agency that polices yokai, supernatural beings that crossed a rift in the veil between our world and theirs thirty years ago. Keiko’s keeping a literal life and death secret from the bureau, while still being a badass detective and a loving and dutiful daughter. Here’s a link to book one because you really should start at the beginning. Caged: The Little Yokai Series Book 1 https://a.co/d/isIXOtC

2. Dear Dana: That time I went crazy and wrote all 580 of my Facebook friends a handwritten letter, by Amy Weinland Daughters, is one of those books that makes one happy to be human. It’s the true tale of the author’s quest to form a real connection with people beyond the confines of social media. The book is touching and funny and inspirational, and I highly recommend it. http://Dear Dana: That time I went crazy and wrote all 580 of my Facebook friends a handwritten letter https://a.co/d/awAFGw5

3. If you like something on the steamier side, I recommend Ivy Nelson’s dark romance series, Club Exposure, beginning with book one, Hidden. Hidden: An enemies to lovers dark romance https://a.co/d/i7WG5Ou. Honestly, my husband wishes I’d read these books and nothing else. Too much information? Sorry!

4. Heather Kindt’s Eternal Artifacts series, beginning with The Green Door, takes the reader on a roller coaster of an adventure in which the stakes are high, but the characters’ curiosity and ambitions keep them coming back for more. This book is aimed at Young Adult readers, but I totally enjoyed it. http://The Green Door (The Eternal Artifacts) https://a.co/d/aXWW7SG

5. A cozy mystery fan? Lori Roberts Herbst has one of the best series out there. I love the mountain setting where snow looms on the peaks. Perfect for summer reading. Currently there are three books in her Callie Cassidy mystery series, with a fourth one on the horizon. http://Suitable for Framing (Callie Cassidy Mysteries) https://a.co/d/jduVxpP

I could go on and on, but five is my lucky number. Let Amazon chew on that.

Peace, people.

Dancin’ with the Devil

Guns killed nineteen children

And the incumbent governor

Barely blinked

Aside from thoughts and prayers

Nothing’s been done since ten souls

Perished in Buffalo where

An 18-year-old went gunning for

Black people with hate in his heart

The devil danced

In Orlando and Sandy Hook,

Las Vegas and Charleston,

Columbine and Paducah,

Without blinking

Different faces

Different names

But the devil doesn’t care

And the gun cult extends a hand

For yet another dance.

The Art of the Review

What makes for a good book review? It’s kind of like the old saying, “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.”

Even as an author I struggle with writing book reviews: How much do I say? What will help someone else decide if this particular book is a good fit for them? I think carefully before posting a review of another author’s book. Here’s a good article on the topic by Kelly Gallucci: https://bookish.netgalley.com/bookish-lifestyle/02/2022/tips-for-writing-a-good-book-review/

Recently one of my books received a 2-star review. Then the reviewer went on to provide a spoiler without giving any warning. So, now what might have come as a shock or surprise to a potential reader is now revealed to anyone who reads the review.

Then just a day later, a reviewer gave the book 5-stars, and went on to tell a good deal of the story. Sigh. Might as well save a few bucks and just read the review, right?

In both cases if the reviewer had offered a brief Spoiler Alert caveat at the beginning of the review, the potential reader could decide whether to risk reading the review or not.

I know I’d save myself a few headaches if I just didn’t read the reviews of my own books, but a) the good ones stroke my needy ego, and b) the negative ones often help me improve my writing.

As a reader how much attention do you give reviews before reading a book? Do they matter more if it’s a new-to-you author?

Peace, people!

Just no spoilers, please!
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