Death Unmasked – Review

Death UnmaskedDeath Unmasked by Rick Sulik

Genre: Currently at Amazon’s Best Seller’s Rank #4837 in Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Supernatural

Publisher: Christopher Matthews Publishing

Publication Date: November, 2015

Submitted by author for review

The title Death Unmasked could be descriptive of the topic. The cover ties to the coat involved in the story, but doesn’t readily explain the book subject.

Interesting plot premise (reincarnation) and a subject that fascinates me. I also read and enjoy paranormal novels and really wanted to love this book as well. Rick Sulik apparently has an affinity for poetry and offers his thoughtful expressions of life intertwined within the plot of his book. His poetry ranged from pensive to beautiful. The subject and the plot have a great potential.

The book begins with a heinous scene reflective of the horrors inflicted on citizens by the Germans during WW2, that of the cruel death of married lovers; Laura is first raped, then murdered, and Emil vows retribution before his death.

Now to present day Houston Police Detective, single Sean Jamison, who is burned out at 57 years of age and reclusive. He is busy pining for his one true love, and involved in the investigation of a crazed serial killer who likes to leave the haunting line from the “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” by Oscar Wilde, “Yet each man kills the thing he loves,” as a token taunt at the scene of his sadistic murders.

That’s the simple part and that’s where simple ends. Sean Jamison, the first and main protagonist, climbs on his soap box rather often. He has realized through several happenstances that this is not his first life and that his last life ended horribly cruel. His partner, Bill Roman, is a candidate for anger management. His captain, Virginia Schaeffer, is a really horny (middle-aged?) single woman who suddenly and inexplicably falls in mad, over-the-top passionate love (after one heart-to-heart) with Sean, who is saving himself for his previous wife who he feels is now living a present day existence as well. If only he could find her! Are you confused yet?

Bill Roman is taking psychic lessons from Sean, though initially scoffs at the suggestion, and helps to find and apprehend a felon. He will try to use the same power later to help catch the antagonist, the serial killer (who previously kidnapped his wife).

But wait–there’s more: spoiler alert! The serial killer has noticed a flea-market coat that has a particular significance for him, and marks the coat so he can track the new owner. Uh oh! The new owner of the coat, coincidentally, may be connected to Sean’s previous life’s wife.

When he does find his wife from another life, they throw caution to the wind and enjoy a rather public tryst, forgetting his wife from another life has a current day fiancée. In his mind, he has found his wife, his life, and his family. But if she’s still his contemporary, I’d wager that’s too late.

Another spoiler alert: Some of these people are all connected, and I mean brother and sister connected, in previous lives. And the serial killer? You’ll just have to read it–or maybe you already know.

The dialogue ran stilted at times, preachy (and unrealistic); and the characters were inconsistently fleshed out. I had a little problem with the continuity, with scene jumping, or contradictory timing of day/night. Descriptions ran a little on the verbose side bordering on TMI.

Rosepoint Rating-three of fiveThis book will benefit greatly by a critical eye for cut, slash, and rework as the idea is solid–it should work better.

The Author: Rick Sulik served in the US Air Force Military Police prior to working with the Houston and Pasadena Texas Police Departments, followed by ten years as a courthouse bailiff. He retired in 2013.

Rosepoint rating based on current problems: Three of Five ©2016 Virginia Williams Resource Box Continue reading “Death Unmasked – Review”

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Is It Time To Dump Smashwords For Kindle?

SmashwordsI gave up on Smashwords this week.

Their Wide Variety of Formats

I’ve monitored my stats almost every day since I downloaded the first manuscript for my grandfather back in 2012–and the stats are dismal. At the time, Smashwords seemed like a good addition to my marketing plan when I published with Amazon and their Kindle site. If you aren’t already aware of Smashwords, they publish and make available ebooks bestowing freedom to authors to set their own prices. Smashwords further makes available your digital downloads to Nook (Barnes & Noble), Apple IBooks, Scribd, Oyster, and Kobo, and allows downloads in EPUB, PDF, and MOBI formats.

It’s not as if they aren’t busy trying to help promote their authors and introduce them to new readers. They are currently running (July 1 – July 31) their annual Summer/Winter Sale. In view of the complete lack of activity (probably not their fault) on any of my listings, I declined to join. They keep up dialog in their “Site Updates” as well as “Press Releases” in which they recently noted Smashwords and Publishers Weekly joined to launch an ebook best seller’s list.

Free Downloads

And I have to hand it to Mark Coker. It is not as if he hasn’t tried getting some of us off the sidelines. His free downloads, “Smashwords Style Guide” and “The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success” are comprehensive and indispensible for an Indie author as the publishing format on Smashwords is neither as easy nor forgiving as Kindle. Continue reading “Is It Time To Dump Smashwords For Kindle?”

Waterfalls of Lava

Lava Flows into the PacificIn an incredibly dangerous challenge, Alison Teal surfed toward the base of the cliff where waterfalls of lava are flowing into the Pacific Ocean at the southeastern coastline of the Big Island, turning the water upwards of 2,000 degrees. (Teal obtained permission from local Hawaiian families to film the feat.) The lava produces steam, but also becomes explosive as the burning lava turns into solid rock, which can then become hardened molten missiles. Teal said that surfing toward a lava flow falling into the Pacific has been a dream of hers since she was a child (and she is no stranger to Hawaii. Her parents, who watched safely from cliffs overlooking the scene, are National Geographic photojournalists.) Kilauea has been erupting for 33 years and remains one of the most active, but it has been three years since the last flow of lava hit the beach and this event has been anticipated for weeks.

Alison Teal
PIC BY PERRIN JAMES / CATERS NEWS – (PICTURED: Alison Teal paddles out to Kilauea volcano.

©2016 Virginia Williams

Update on Pokémon:  The game is getting tougher. Who knew you’d need math skills to play this game? I’m at Level 15 – 61 virtual characters of 143.Resource Box

Children from Dark Houses-Review

Children from Dark Houses by Carlyle Clark Children from Dark Houses

Genre: Currently #262 in Best Sellers Rank for African American, Mystery, Thriller and Suspense

Publisher: Branch & Crane

Publication Date: June, 2016

Submitted by author for review

Children from Dark Houses is a title that will hint at the plot and seals suspicions with the cover.

The book will introduce you to two new and unusual PI’s, Atticus Wynn and Rosemary Sanchez, a duo unaccountably made for each other. While their personalities may be 180 degrees apart, these are opposites that work well! Carlyle Clark spares no one, poking fun at Atticus, as well as most of the remaining characters in the book. And characters there are! While the patter from Atticus is just a bit over the top in the beginning, the dialogue evolves as the unique plot develops into good natured humor along with his delightful incite and observation of people.

Atticus and Rosemary are hired to find Imran Khan, who has run away from an exclusive reform school by his unhappy and volatile parents, Habeeb and Heena, who would rather not draw either the attention of the police or a lot of notoriety into their extremely lucrative and organized network of moving money. (The reader is introduced to the term “Hawala,” finally giving a name to a previously known but unnamed system of money laundering.

Imran’s main squeeze, Sebellia, is a nasty lady with a crude and vicious “cousin,” Eiger. Sebellia has connections with an outlaw biker gang, the Demon Dogs (who are another whole story unto themselves), and it becomes obvious that Atticus and Rosemary have a tiger by the tail. Included with the other colorful characters, Mawroo the cat, who periodically adds his own “cat condescension” to the scene.

Here are protagonists you come to love to love and antagonists you love to see they get what is coming to them. Believable dialogue, non-stop action, surprises and fun along the way. I received this book in exchange for a review. I think this author is off to a terrific start and he has a series that will keep his readers looking for the next installment.

Author Carlyle ClarkCarlyle Clark should know about cats–he has two along with a dog. Married and a Chicagolander, Clark is also an avid sportsman and martial arts enthusiast. Bullseye!

Rosepoint Rating based on the correction of current edit errors:

©2016 Virginia WilliamsResource Box

 

Twelve Points for Review Submission

Most new Indie authors believe reviews are the make or break of a book and aggressively pursue them. There are numerous articles on the algorithm Amazon uses to determine Best Sellers Rank. While it is generally considered to be reviews that help to get you to the top of the pack, it isn’t, according to what I’ve read. Amazon won’t disclose their algorithm, but will readily agree that good reviews do seem to help drive sales, which IS the major contributory factor in Best Sellers Rank.

ReviewsI’ve written before on reviews, discussing whether or not 300 five star ratings are really all bogus or not. Having written and posted over 100 reviews myself, I’ve always strived for honesty, striking a balance between what I liked about the book as well as what I didn’t. Most of the books I review are Indie books, although I’ve also read more than my share of best-selling authors in the past year and posted those reviews whether the author needed it or not.

Reviews can run anywhere from a short informal paragraph or an in-depth analysis of the book of more than 500 words detailing not only the description of the plot, but a critical view of how the topic was handled. Point being: Did you agree with the observations or challenge every posture? I’ve developed the following twelve points in the submission of my reviews. Continue reading “Twelve Points for Review Submission”

Dog Days of Summer

There is a reason we call our dogs our “fur kids.”

Frosty-a Bichon FriseWe love them almost as much as our own. We have a tendency to anthropomorphize them because they seem to connect so tightly to us; intuitive to our emotions and moods. I’ve posted pictures of my own little girl dog, Frosty, on this blog before. Like posting pictures of your children, you can’t help it because they are so “doggone” cute.

Cool DogThey are so much a part of us (for over 30,000 years now) that we have “dog days of summer” activities with them. Better let them run and play now because it won’t be long before we’ll be sharing a “three dog night” as winter chills down. Uh oh, and there are many more fun doggy expressions, like these few: Every Dog Has Its Day, It’s Raining Cats and Dogs, Work Like a Dog.

Sleepy FrostI sincerely try to follow Cesar Millan’s knowledgeable posts and admonish my excited little (10 year old) pup when she sees me grabbing my purse to be “calm, submissive” before I’ll take her anywhere. Cesar is a fount of information re all things canine and continually drives home his formula for successfully “balanced” dogs:

First-ExerciseThen

Discipline-and Lastly

Love

 How is that possible? Perhaps he should be teaching us how to avoid reacting all soft and cuddly to excessive cuteness. ©2016 Virginia WilliamsResource Box

Kristen Lamb’s Blog-Writer’s Resource

If you haven’t stumbled across Kristen Lamb’s Blog, I’ll provide you with a treat today. This entry was posted on July 25th and particularly caught my eye as my attention to my FB fan page is woefully slow. Topical and current:

Breaking Facebook Dependence—How to Create an Enduring Author Brand

Kristen is a Writer’s Digest Award Winner for the 101 Best Website for Writers and 2013 winner for the Top 10 Blogs for Writers and best selling author. Moreover, she is quite attractive. Enjoy!

PS: For those following my Pokémon GO progress, I’ve made level 14 and have now collected 51 virtual characters. ©2016 Virginia WilliamsResource Box

 

 

Hail, Caesar” – Supreme Satire

Hail, Caesar!You probably know me better by the book reviews I frequently post. I really love reading and take most requests, happy to return a truthful review. Today, I’ll take a major departure and review a video we watched recently called “Hail, Caesar.” Released February, 2016, you’ll either love it or won’t like it at all. I did–my two guys didn’t. Hubby slept through it; no contest as he can sleep through most anything. Son called it a bore. NOT.

Taking place back in the 50s heyday of Hollywood, Eddie Mannix (played supremely low key by Josh Brolin) is an savvy movie exec trying to handle all the problems of both his actors and film producers at Capitol Pictures. Today he is tackling a disgruntled director, a singing cowboy, Tobey (played adorably by Alden Ehrenreich), an Esther Williams type synchonized swimmer, and a handsome dancer. Mannix sneaks an occasional cigarette though he promised his wife he’d quit, and seeks forgiveness numerous times from a priest who tells him, “You’re really not that bad, my son. You don’t need to confess this often.” Continue reading “Hail, Caesar” – Supreme Satire”

Pokémon GO Is Serious Exercise

PikachuMelanie cocked her head just to the left and snatched a quick glance at me. “You know you are the oldest one here,” she whispered, “and I’m the next.”

As I gazed around at the jostling crowd pushing the traffic around Crown Point Square, I didn’t need to guess their ages. Of course, she was right. These were largely teenagers, sprinkled with pre-teens and an occasional millennial. “Yeah, I know.”

Later there was a man possibly in his 50’s walking with his son, his own smart phone in his hand beckoning us across the street. “We have the light, you know,” he called as he waved his arm at us. Traffic was heavy with vehicles making lefts in front of us, pedestrian crossing or no, in their hurry to get to the next PokéStop. It was pushing 10 pm on a fairly temperate Wednesday evening and Mel sighed, “I really didn’t expect this much traffic.” Continue reading “Pokémon GO Is Serious Exercise”

Research Your Best Post Times

Regardless what you’ve been told or read, evening hours are the best to post social media content according to Kevan Lee. Following the charts for the best time of day or week to post all the various social media accounts can be a tricky and confusing matter. Even within the account there may be one or two “best” times varying in Twitter; for instance, from noon to three Monday through Friday, except five to six pm on Wednesday (according to sources), but no time on the weekend? Huh? Does that mean everyone is posting at work, possibly on lunch time or afternoon break? Perhaps afternoon break then, but he cites three pm and literally into evening hours. So have you researched your best post times?

I have to believe the stats may be leaning heavily on reporting by male respondents, as it would seem to me that the evening household commotion is still largely dominated by women. Mothers engaged with children’s after-school activities, mothers getting dinner; and then preparing for the following day leaves little time for computer games. Does she really crumple at 10 pm to catch up with Facebook friends or scan Pinterest? (I remember being too exhausted to do much other than collapse gratefully into bed.) Pinterest stats, by the way, say best engagement hours are between two to four am and evening hours every day, five pm on Tuesdays, and eight to eleven pm on Saturdays. There appears to be nothing we can no longer track down to the minute!

Perhaps accounting for the popularity of photos and the ever-growing demand for videos, Instagram has a stronger showing of engagement over Facebook or Twitter, although both the latter have increased video acceptance. As for photos, Kevan maintains that The average interaction % on Instagram is up to 10 times higher than on Facebook.” Instagram best engagement hours are anytime Monday through Thursday, except three to four pm.

Need I repeat, however, the increasing interest in branding through video? Book Trailers 101 Continue reading “Research Your Best Post Times”

Natural Wonders of Our Planet Earth

There are so many natural wonders on this planet of ours that is impossible to list or picture them in one short blog. There may be several in your area, as these phenomena can occur in more than one area of the world, while others are located in one isolated area and one area alone, as with a few of the exceptional spectacles in Iceland. Planet bound or skyward, they awe and inspire, difficult to capture on film or digital camera–rare when they are–natural wonders of our planet.Lenticular clouds

Heavenward, our climate makes for some spectacular shows such as water or fire spouts. How about lightning that strikes upward, not down? Those strikes have been captured and authenticated. This is a lenticular cloud–some so alien as to be mistaken for UFOs.

Rainbow eucalyptusGlorious trees grace our environment. How about the Rainbow Eucalyptus? This tree, also known as the rainbow gum is probably the most colorful tree on the planet. Found in the Philippines and Indonesia, it also grows in Hawaii. The bark starts out as green. Then as the bark ages, it begins to turn color as the chlorophyll is replaced by tannins.

Spotted Lake in BC, Canada, takes on a polka dot appearance in the summer. The water evaporates in the summer leaving large deposits of colorful minerals. Also known as Kliluk Lake, there are numerous videos on YouTube that exhibit its beauty.

Columnar basaltColumnar basalt is the result of lava flows that has cooled quickly and cracked vertically. This particular phenomenon is found around the world. The “sailing” stones of Death Valley move hundreds of yards at a time–by themselves over the sand.sailing stones

The planet is 71% water, 29% land. It is filled with so many natural wonders and as harsh, varied and violent as it can be, still is our fragile planet. I am awed every day at the site of new displays of beauty and worried at its ability to withstand the indolence of man. ©2016 Virginia Williams Resource Box

Exaggeration

I’ve written before regarding my author buddy, Michael Reisig. I really enjoy his style of writing, but more than his style of writing, it is  the philosophy behind everything he writes. It’s almost poetic and almost always goes straight to my heart. Reisig just seems to nail both the best and worst in man. He understands it apparently, otherwise how could he describe it so eloquently? The following came in his last newsletter, an observation I felt worthy of reprinting. Enjoy!

ExaggerationMichael Reisig

By Michael Reisig

I was sitting by the fireplace with a friend yesterday, drinking coffee and trying to keep away from the winter weather, and he was telling a grand story. I suspected that without a deliberate attempt to be deceitful, some of the story had been embellished, and given the situation that was perfectly okay. But the thing about exaggeration is that there’s a fine line between being a grand storyteller and a bald-faced liar, and I think the crux lies in how often and how willing you are to bend the truth.

You might think of exaggeration as a custom peculiar to man, but if you study nature you realize that it’s common in animals and birds as well. Mating rituals are often all about embellishing or magnifying elements of their bodies – fluffing out feathers, exaggerated actions, enormous bellows and roars. Actually that sounds to me like a night at the local watering hole.

But the problem with exaggeration is that it ultimately diminishes distinction, because it becomes the harbinger of disappointment and often cheapens the final appraisal. The lesson here being the more you profess, the more you may be forced to produce. Take resumes for instance: there are few of us that haven’t gone to great pains to create an image there – they’re more like grand embellishments of who we’ve been in the past and a wish list of the qualities we assume would be an advantage to the situation at hand (staying within boundaries that won’t make us look like absolute fools if someone actually checks.)

Let’s face it, many times in excitement or indignation, our conversations seem to take on a life of their own – the colorful embroidery of words are out of our mouths before we can stop them, and in a moments of quiet afterwards we chide ourselves for not correcting such blatant corruptions of the truth. I can’t help but be reminded of the quote by Kahlil Gibran: “Exaggeration is truth that has lost its temper.” But at the same time, exaggeration is often nothing more than a tool – used by governments, television networks, politicians, and novelists. We inflate situations, or deflate situations to suit our needs, or simply ignore situations with the exaggerated aplomb of the deaf.

But where is the line between exaggeration and lies? Where is that fine line where truth and conscience take a back seat to ego and exigency. The truth is, it’s an individual territory in each one of us, because no one weighs the value of honesty exactly the same as the person next to them. I have certainly met people with whom there was no distinction between truth and lies, and there was no pride or sleep lost over the matter.

In hopes that all your stories carry a gem of veracity, I’ll leave you with a quote by 19th Century humorist Josh Billings; “There are some people so addicted to exaggeration they can’t tell the truth without lying.”

His last book, “Down the Road to Key West” continues to be a best seller on Amazon. Check out his books or read more about Michael Reisig, the author, here.

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Pokémon GO May Not Be Senior Friendly

Pokemon GOWhat is all this hullabaloo about Pokémon GO? Are you one of those “10 years and older” willing to see what the uproar is about? This is not the first time I’ve tried to catch up to the latest craze. Pokémon GO has now hit more than “21 million active daily users.” You’d think there would have to be something really captivating about it. Turns out, it’s Augmented Reality. (That’s AR to anyone older than 10 years.) A few days ago, I wrote about AI (Artificial Intelligence). This game appears to be a long way from intelligence of any kind. TPokemon Go Ballhe whole point seems to be that of throwing a virtual ball at a virtual creature.

Pokemon Pikachu
Pikachu

Being such a progressive older person, however, I do have a smart phone. And this game is free. (They always start out that way.) But then, here is the catch–there are no instructions. What little print is included must be at 6 pt–WAY too small to read.  I assume that’s because Pokémon is totally familiar to our younger generations who still have good eyes (the original Nintendo game is 20 years old), and they are well acquainted with the annoying little yellow creature and need no instructions.

Pokemon turtleBut Pokémon GO was only released July 6th and this version is specifically designed for mobile application, Apple iOS and Google Android devices. The game was developed in San Francisco by Niantic and uses the phone’s own GPS to appear in gamers physical locations. WHOA! (That’s the “augmented reality”!) Using the device’s camera, different monsters pop-up, who can range from dragons to crabs (I “caught” one yesterday). They all have these amazingly unique names; don’t ask me what the crab was called. Continue reading “Pokémon GO May Not Be Senior Friendly”

Do We Really Need AI?

I need a new computer. Shoot the Computer

One that understands me.

One that anticipates what I’m trying to do–and executes it properly the FIRST time.

One that doesn’t flip out every time I breathe hard or brush the wrong key.

One that will STOP fighting what I am trying to do and LETS me do it!

One that doesn’t auto-correct the slang, euphemisms, or abbreviations with words I’ve never heard of.

One that doesn’t have to have the same passage or photo re-entered and saved six times to stay where I put it.

One that doesn’t take a sudden left turn and leave a large block of content unsaved.

Frustrated woman at computerAnd,

One that uses my searches to FIND what I actually want within 15 minutes.

With all this talk about AI taking over, I’m not really worried. My computer doesn’t seem to have learned a thing in six years. ©2016 Virginia Williams Resource Box

Young Adults Are Into Fantasy

So have I been beating my head against the wall trying to market fiction books in a remotely held genre for years when a little research would have told me quickly and quietly where the trend lies? (Hint: It’s obviously not historical sea or western adventures.) The focus might better shift to romance (the blue line in the Google Trends chart)  with a stronger showing for mystery. Most of us love a good cozy mystery. It appears, however, that it is the young adults who are driving the fantasy genre.

Google Trends also shows that Sci-Fi’s are down, which is difficult to imagine given the popularity of J. K. Rowlings and is currently viewed in #4 position according to Thomas Stewart. Of course, he also places fantasy at #4 as well with such books as “Harry Potter.” Holding strong in his #3 position is the Bible and religious or inspirational books. Number 2 would be the mystery category and where does that leave Romance? Number 1–perhaps no secret to most.

Google Trends Chart
Romance, Mystery, and Young Adult

Horror stories are static, but a surprise was the uptrend for the young adult category. So is interest in tablets (the rising star in electronics for young adults), kindles, and cell phones also fueling an interest in..(Gasp!)..reading?

Continue reading “Young Adults Are Into Fantasy”

Amazon Prime Day – July 12th

Amazon Prime Day
Amazon Prime Day

Member of Amazon Prime? Billed as “Amazon’s Largest Event Ever,” Amazon Prime is preparing for July 12th, their monster sale to attract new prime membership. While my Amazon thoughts always focus on books, particularly for Kindle, there are actually over 100,000 items set to go on “Black Friday” level sales. This one-day only global sale will include everything from books to BBQ’s. This is their second annual Prime Day event where worldwide members “ordered 398 items per second,” last year beating out their own Black Friday sales. Deals will start every five minutes through the day.

Of course, there is a special deal for Kindle Unlimited, which is a $10 monthly subscription service, for up to 40% off. This doesn’t just include books, but ebooks and audiobooks as well. So are we jazzed or what?? Just when I was thinking of offering a sale of Stanley McShane books, they are promoting a monster sale. And yes, these specials extend to the UK, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, Belgium, and Austria. Love it!

So what could go wrong? Continue reading “Amazon Prime Day – July 12th”

Royalty Free Images? Beat Getty Images!

Pictures! I’ve touched on the subject before when I posted regarding Flickr and Creative Commons some time ago. The photo on the left above was embedded from Getty Images, and although Creative Commons has a wealth of public domain or free images to tap, Getty Images is getting my attention because of the ease with which their royalty free images can be embedded to your blog. Of course, with any site that offers royalty free images, there are details in the small print, which should not be over-looked for copyright details. Most simply want simple attribution. I chose that doggy picture because it reminded me so much of my own little puppy (now ten years old). In the meantime, I’ve found numerous free image sites. Most want sign-ups or subscriptions at the least.

So whom have I been playing with lately? These are my top six go to sites for Royalty Free pictures: Continue reading “Royalty Free Images? Beat Getty Images!”

The “Artistic Crime of the Century”

twin-towers
Twin Towers-Wikipedia

America has benefited by some of the most creative and innovative engineers, scientists, and builders on the planet, conceiving modern marvels such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Hoover Dam, Mt. Rushmore, bridges, tunnels, transcontinental railroads, skyscrapers, and, of course, the World Trade Center. It was in 1974 when 24 year old Frenchman Philippe Petit made it his “le coup” to illegally walk on a high wire across the top of the twin towers a total of eight times, the “artistic crime of the century.”

Then the tallest structures in the world, the twin towers stood at just over 1,360′. According to Wikipedia, it was among a complex of seven buildings. The twin towers opened in 1973 and were known as 1WTC and 2WTC.

 Petit walked at the 1,350 ft. level at the 110th storey. There was a 200′ gap between

philippe_petit
Philippe Petit: Credit AP

the buildings. The feat is celebrated in a film released in 2015 called “The Walk,”  and there is no way to appreciate just how high that really is until you see the picture of the walk with Lower Manhattan buildings well below. Better known is the terrorist destruction of the twin towers on two-eleven.

It was an American icon; a rallying point. It would be nice to celebrate that deep pride; the fierce American spirit year round again–not just July 4th. Happy 4th! ©2016 Virginia Williams Resource Box

So Much For Bugs Bunny!

It would probably come as no surprise to you to learn that studies have shown consumers spend more time with digital media than they do all forms of media–and that would include television viewing. Even back in 2012 studies by Global Web Index found that of approximately 10 hours a day spent in various media, it was digital media that edged out over 50% of attention. TV consumption down to 23%? No more Saturday morning cartoons? No more Bugs Bunny pulling Saturday morning babysitting duty?

As anyone who is more than 55 knows, if you can’t get a cell phone to work, hand it to a 5 year old.

phonefamily Continue reading “So Much For Bugs Bunny!”

Freaky Friday Features

 

carrot.png

It’s Freaky Friday and granted I have missed a few. We are still in a state of transition and things can get pretty crazy around here. Just to remind myself that there is still a sense of humor in the world out there, I’ll present you with two funny pictures today. Maybe just my sense of humor, but both are pretty funny though I can’t imagine how that horse got himself(?) into that situation. (Trying for the break to freedom no doubt! The pastures are always greener….or there was a really pretty little filly just over yonder hill.) Yes, I’d imagine the cow was photoshopped, but how great is that? It’s Friday–relax and have a chuckle on me. And them.horse

 

 

©2016 Virginia Williams

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I Love Beta Readers!

This article says it all–and quite succinctly. I’ve greatly enjoyed being a beta reader. And I have no problem volunteering for new authors willing to share their manuscripts. I hope that I’ve contributed to their work, and helped them along to completion and publication. The two-way street here is that it always teaches me something as well. Read on!

Joynell Schultz

I mean it so much, that I’m going to be redundant: I love beta readers!

Wow. My three beta readers have completely IMPRESSED me!

I write so people find enjoyment in what I’ve written. I write to share ideas and thoughts with others. I write because it’s fun. Well, it is fun, until I find myself in an endless sea of a single task. Here is how my novel has gone so far.

  • I’m so frustrated with my OUTLINE. I wish I could just figure out the climax.
  • I have so much more to do on my FIRST DRAFT, when will I be finished?
  • REVISING is so tedious. How did I write this piece of crap anyway?
  • Who truly knows how to EDIT? Grammar? I must have slept through that class.
  • But BETA READERS? I LOVE THEM! I LOVE THIS PROCESS!!!! I’M IN NO HURRY TO FINISH THIS STEP (for once). BETA READERS…

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Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit

Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit….

 “I was thinking we could get a corned beef and make a big  pot of corned beef and cabbage,” my son enthused. His green eyes sparkled at the thought of it.corned-beef

He waxed poetic about the ole days when we would celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with corned beef and cabbage. A toast to my grandfather, the author of those manuscripts I’ve struggled with the last few years, and to our alleged Irish ancestors–but then everyone claims to be Irish for that one day–a fully excused and actually obligatory Guinness celebration. Continue reading “Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit”

Getting Old Ain’t For Sissies

You’ve heard that old saying, “Getting Old Ain’t For Sissies.” I’m learning it’s true.

I wrote recently about our impending move from Goodyear, Arizona to Indiana to stay temporarily with our son until we could find a home and my husband employment. The move itself went very smoothly; two guys to help efficiently load, cooperative weather gods, and quick exit walk-through of the apartment. The adventure began quietly enough with my driving our little car following DH (in RV vernacular–“dear husband”) in the Budget truck.  Then we reached Kansas.budget-truck

Continue reading “Getting Old Ain’t For Sissies”

Freaky Friday Features

He Guest Hosted (Just) Once on SNL!

Known to millions of early television viewers as “Uncle Miltie,” Milton Berle was among the American TV pioneer stars during “the Golden Age” of TV. Born in 1908, he was credited with a number of witty quotes, several (including the one above) were the most popular: “Laughter is an instant vacation,” “If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands.” But I think my favorite is also a poem:

“I’d rather be a ‘could-be’ if I cannot be an ‘are’ because a ‘could-be’ is a ‘maybe’ who is reaching for a star. I’d rather be a ‘has-been’ than a ‘might-have-been’ by far; for a ‘might-have-been’ has never been, but a ‘has’ was once an ‘are.” 
― Milton Berle

Starting in silent films and vaudeville, he was an actor and comedian. He died in Los Angeles of colon cancer in 2002 after a long and illustrative career. ©2016 Virginia Williams Resource Box

Dishing the Dirt on Reviews

This is the age of instant. We want it now. Whether food, internet, or books, it must move–quickly! I’m older. I can wait. I can give Burger King up to 5 minutes. I can give a book several chapters. I’m usually pretty careful regarding the book I choose to begin next–sometimes looking up Amazon reviews to see if the little descriptive blurb really tells the story. I’ve written before regarding Amazon Reviews. You generally want to read the good and the bad reviews. Somewhere therein lies the truth. love-hate

Having read a great book, I really enjoy creating a lively and honest review. Unfortunately, I’ve read a few lately that have not been so inspiring as depressing. The last I began was “The Hostage,” Book Four of the Sarah Roberts Thrillers by Jonas Saul. Having read one of his previous books, “The Warning,” Book Two, I noted the foul language, but apparently enjoyed the plot enough to award five stars. This time I couldn’t get past Chapter 3 with the description of a scene by the perp that turned my stomach. Yes, I know–it’s a thriller/horror novel. (I don’t like Freddy either.) Not usually one to abandon a book–I freed The Hostage. (Yuck) Continue reading “Dishing the Dirt on Reviews”