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.

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!

Pinch Me

Five Hundred?!

About a week ago I realized that Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort was nearing five hundred reviews on Amazon, and I took a moment to let that soak in. When I wrote the book I never dreamed anyone other than my small group of friends and maybe a few family members might read it. Okay, maybe I dreamed others might take a chance on it, but I certainly wasn’t making any bets.

I’d really thought of Mayhem as a stand-alone novel—that explains its length. For better or worse, I wanted to get as many loose ends tied up as possible. Chalk that up to being a rookie author.

Then, lo and behold, readers I’d never even met began reading the book and asking for a sequel. Of course no miracles were involved other than a generous fellow author, Lori Roberts Herbst, taking the time to show me how to advertise on Facebook. That she retains her sanity after working with me is the true miracle. Check out her award winning cozy mysteries on Amazon.

Mayhem remains my best selling book, but its sequel, Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort is gaining traction. And I’m hoping we’ll have Reunion at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort ready to publish in time for it to qualify as a summer read. Oh, and there’s a spicy little romance, The Cowboy and the Executive, with my name on the cover, as well.

Pinch me, but gently, please. I bruise easily.

Peace, people!

http://Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort (The Happy Valley Series Book 1) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PDRH2Q9/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_47JVD6SR1X1PRRYXQDJP

Head Shots

There was a brief period in my life when I was considered adorable. It began the day I was born and ended around the time I entered kindergarten. Somewhere there is photographic proof, but I’m too lazy to go through all the pictures from those long ago years. Let’s just say that any one of my school pictures from first grade through my junior year would make excellent dart board targets. Senior year photos weren’t any better, and to make it worse, featured feathers around my skinny bare shoulders. Shudder.

So, one might deduce, and correctly so, that I shy away from having my picture taken. Regardless of how much I prepare or practice or primp, my smile always seems to look slightly unhinged at its best or dour at its worst.

So when I needed a good head shot to put on the author’s website a good friend is helping me develop for my books, I was in despair. Should I pay for a professional photographer? That’s never worked for me in the past. Should I just take a selfie and be done with it? Or, should I turn to Studly Doright whose photography experience is limited to taking multiple shots of whichever motorcycle he’s currently got for sale on eBay.

I feared hearing, “Here, honey, let’s get a closer picture of your gas tank. Polish it up a little first.”

But in the end. I risked it. After all, he works for free, and he’s never once failed to find a buyer for a bike.

“Who knows,” I thought. “We might even get lucky.”

And I believe we might have. Help me choose.

1
2
Or maybe this slightly deranged one? 3

Yes, my hair is imperfect in the first two, but that’s a given in my world. I think Studly did pretty well. And just in case these go on eBay, I get really good gas mileage.

Peace, people.

Florida Man Works at Walgreens

I met him today. That epically incompetent human known as Florida Man. He was working the cash register at Walgreens and when I finally made it to the front of the line I asked him where a specific product could be found.

He shrugged.

“Can’t you look that up on an inventory list?” I asked.

“I never heard of that product. Maybe try the pharmacy.”

I walked back to the pharmacy where a very nice pharmacist waited on me. When I asked about the product she said, “Oh, yes. We have that, but it’s not with the pharmaceuticals. Let me show you.”

She left her section and walked with me to the item I was searching for. I thanked her and went back into the cashier’s line.

Florida Man looks at my item and says, “See, I told you it was in the pharmacy.”

“No sir. The nice pharmacist led me to your part of the store. It was on aisle one.”

“Hm. Well, I never stocked it.”

Now, this is where r go weird. He rang my product up, then asked, “Would you like to donate to runaway children with Alzheimer’s?”

I said, “That makes absolutely no sense. Children don’t get Alzheimer’s except in extremely rare cases of rapid premature aging.”

“That’s what it says on the box of red noses. For the benefit of runaway children with Alzheimer’s”

I looked at the box filled with red rubber clown noses. “Sir, these are given in exchange for donations to fight childhood poverty. Not for runaway children with Alzheimer’s.”

“Maybe they meant autism. Runaway children with autism. That’s who the red noses benefit. Do you want to donate?”

“Oh good grief. Sure. Just read the box before you misrepresent the purpose of the red noses again.”

As I left the store, I heard him ask another customer, “Do you want to donate to runaway children with Alzheimer’s?”

Florida Man, no doubt.

Peace, people.

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