Not a Whimper

Cats can be very dangerous, if you’re a dog. Whether it’s instinctual for a dog to chase a cat or just that most cats immediately go into fight or flight–most being flight–they absolutely demand the pursue response.

Dog and cat fight

Let me just say, I don’t think dogs are born with the need to chase cats. My theory is that it’s the cat’s fault. Or, perhaps, secondarily, the human’s fault (moi?) for trying to get an older, resident cat to accept a puppy. Accept a puppy? Not going to happen. In our house, the cat (fight) tried to relieve the puppy of one of her eyes. Scared the puppy so much, she decided all cats must die. And she’s held to that mantra ever since.

I am usually very careful about having Frosty around cats in the cat’s domain. Hubby–not so much. This morning, little Frost (all 13 lbs. of her), launched off the kitchen chair after the gray house cat known here as Mr. Gotto (flight).

She landed wrong.

Frosty with bandageLots of blood and a visit to super-vet Dr. McPheron of Crown Point, and it was decided Frosty will live. Our son asked how “Stubby” was doing, but it’s apparently not more than a lost toenail. We have something to give her for pain control and she’s appears to be sleeping comfortably at present.

However, she’s been shaking and panting heavily–I know it hurt. But she hasn’t even whimpered. ©2016 Virginia Williams Resource Box

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Dead Lawyers Don’t Lie-Review

Dead Lawyers Don't LieDead Lawyers Don’t Lie by Mark Nolan

Currently #1 in Books, Mystery, Thrillers, Spies & Politics, Assassinations

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Publication Date: January, 2016

Submitted by author for review

Dead Lawyers Don’t Lie – great cover, but I wish he’d have included the dog beside him (in proper “heel” formation, of course).

Tired of books that end before you have a chance to get to know the characters, the motivation, the plot? Look no further than “Dead Lawyers Don’t Lie,” by Mark Nolan. Once I really got into this book, it became a reward for the day–Jake Wolfe is the really bad-assed good guy–ex-Marine. He’s been there, seen it all. His attitude evolved with each new scar on his well honed body. He has the confidence to handle any situation and his sense of propriety leans towards the “Good Samaritan” side. His job as a photojournalist has given him access to a fine network of people, although his closest friends are those who served with him. He shares a relationship with Terrell that only men together under fire can understand and appreciate. Their conversations are good-humored and natural; dialogue as would happen between loving and respectful men.

But here’s the thing: The book you think you are getting at the beginning changes. There are twists, yes, but even more than that, these characters mature. His coincidental assignment locations have almost given him “first responder” position to two unusual homicides–lawyers murdered in creative ways by an assassin known as “the Artist.” Jake’s forensic eye offers intimate intel to his buddy, Terrell, a SFPD lieutenant and Terrell’s partner, Beth Cushman. Continue reading “Dead Lawyers Don’t Lie-Review”

Typos, Edit Errors, and Omissions

If you’ve been writing very long, you know how easy it is to overlook your own errors, whether they are typing errors or otherwise. I had another pair of eyes looking over “Cocos Island Treasure,” and I’ve been through it so many times, I almost have it memorized, so I know how dismaying it can be for someone to glance at your pages and find mistakes. It’s a subject I wrestle with all the time: When I’m reading Indie authors hard-won newly published works, do they want to know if I find problems?

Edit Errors
Was there another error they missed?

I finally settled on the compromise of contacting the author directly through a private message. Lacking English degrees, I don’t claim to check for grammar or punctuation. Lacking an editing contract, I don’t mark obvious errors. However, if we are to raise Indie standards of publication and elevate the reputation, I’m hoping the author will take a word to the wise in the spirit in which it is intended. If I see it; others must.

 

GDFGDFGPerhaps I’m noticing more edit errors lately because of heightened awareness through the publication of my grandfather’s books. Maybe there is just a slip in the level of English education in the younger generation. As with the failure to activate a turn signal on a vehicle, is it possible using Spell Check is conceived as unnecessary?

Botched HeadlineHowever, even the professionals seem to be missing more mistakes lately. Or are the errors an attempt at humor? Some headlines (whether newspaper or internet feeds) would definitely seem so. While I’d be prefer that everything we produced was “perfect,” it appears that mistakes do happen to everyone. ©2016 Virginia Williams (Credit Pics 1 and 2- SlipTalk. Credit #3 – PubGuys)Resource Box

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”

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”