Tag Archives: finewine

Let’s Be Reasonable

To me, this is like mourning the passing of the Measles epidemic cuz then you get fewer days off school.

I cannot see ANY connection between the popularity of electronic publishing and the death of libraries, Mr. Patterson.  Please explain that to me.

And let me explain to you that an epub is not a book. It is an electronic file.

There are no more engraved tablets because: books!!  Oh, wait a sec. Cemeteries, corner stones, memorial plaques, etc.

But I did see that story about the monks picketing Gutenberg because they would lose their jobs illuminating manuscripts.

There are no more wagon trains cuz of Amtrak. Well, they aren’t doing so well.  Maybe trucks and airplanes would fit better.  And cargo crates and Wal-mart.

And, seriously, did you finish Blood Meridian?  I kinda can’t see it.  But I did read Along Came a Spider if  you want to talk about literature.

“Witty.”  “Exquisite.”  “Crazy good read.” “Read it straight through.”  “Didn’t want anyone to get hurt.”  “Someone should have been shot.”  “Some of the sex was a little strong.”   “Fast, fun read.”  “Has the makings of a great novel.”  Oh, wait.  That’s my work.


IMAGE SOURCE: James Patterson’s webpage and newspaper ad.  Also google.


The Taking of Andersen 1-2-3

Demure Granny


I promised someone I would tell this story, and I am willing to be as realistic as I can recall while avoiding harming anyone. 

Just as an integral part of my personality disorder, I very much want this story told. I recently parted ways with a long time friend because I decided she was being friends with who she knew or thought she knew and that person was not me. She didn’t even know me. Well, maybe she did and I didn’t like the me she knew, but in reality, I believe she had no clue as to who I was or why. I have never had a problem being me and never wanted to be anyone else. That sometimes leads to TMI. You can check the box at the end.

I was cute in high school. Middle level clique. Friends with the “hoody” kids, and some of the uppity ups. Dated. Not much til jr. year, but a lot sr. year. Mostly “boyfriends” and making out in the alley or the forest preserve or someone’s basement. I was terribly, ‘skip grades’ smart, but I was not very “nice”. I took a guy away from someone just to see if I could and then dumped him cuz I didn’t like him. Both parties sicced their sisters on me for that.

At my ten year reunion a guy said, “I wish I knew you were going to turn out like this”. Ultimate left-handed compliment. I was pretty much coming into full flower.  Just before I turned 30 something terrible happened to my marriage. His sin. The usual. Begged me to stay married, and I did. But I had a score to settle.  I had a job and met this high school foot ball hero rich guy blonde who never noticed me in high school. We had a two year fling with all the worst complications you could imagine. My husband even said at a social gathering, “That guy’s in love with you.” I’d be at my mom’s house in Michigan and he would call me. My mom never asked, but said, “Tell him not to call here.” His wife would call me.  I got sick of him, heard him lying to his wife. Business problems, lied to his superiors. Asked me to lie. I called the person back and told real story. We both left that job.

I said, “Your wife needs you to take care of her. I have someone already. Good bye.” My spouse was a bank VP and we were flush.  High school jock ended in the news for giving municipal contracts for kick backs. He walked into my office one day and I told him to find a new girlfriend. “It will be very exciting.”

He drove by me a few years later in traffic. He kind of was following me. When I turned off the highway I waved. I had my four year old in the car. I know he wonders about that.

High school reunion web site, he has a pasty smushy face and same wife. I left marks.

Crisis of Conscience


Well, I am NOT in the mood to be subtle, so I guess I just better hope this is not read by any detectives.

You know that story about the wisdom of King Solomon? The two women were fighting over who had the rights to the baby, so King Solomon said, “How ’bout we just slice the baby in half ?” So the person that really loves the baby says, “Don’t cut the baby in half.  She can have it.”  And King Solomon says, “Well, you love the baby more so you can have it.”

So this is like a moral dilemma. Suppose a group of people are banding together to slice up your heart and your soul.  Would you play dirty pool just cuz they choose to?  Should you drag out the big guns?  If you knew the name of the grade school teacher that writes erotica on the side, would you reveal that?  Would you threaten to?  Would that be blackmail?  Even if you felt it was totally justified to survive their onslaught, to save yourself?  To save all that was important to you?  Stuff that is meaningless to them.  They are just doing it for spite.  Would you threaten to tell the guy that hides his marijuana stash in your garage to keep his wife from knowing that she will learn about it if he doesn’t back down, if he doesn’t take a different tack?  Would you talk it up in all the right social circles about the engaged couple that are seeing a urologist to get the husband-to-be wired up with a penis pump?  If you heard all these things with no warnings or stipulations, is it fair game?  If they go ahead and continue to attack you, when you know and they know you are undeserving of it, should you just reveal all?  Should you warn them of what may be in store?  Should you sit like a little mouse with your Christian conscience and let them ride rough shod over you?  My Christian conscience tells me to be a swell guy and keep all the dirty little secrets and hope Karma sorts it out.  (Yeah.  I know the Karma thing doesn’t meld with the Christian conscience, but it is my mind, so get over that.)  But the subject of my quandary is far too precious to gamble with.

These are real issues that the midwestern grandmother faces daily.  Someone made a remark about one of my novels.  “Enjoyable read, but I don’t know if it would play out in real life.”  Wanna bet?  Does each and every Mr. or Mrs. Tom, Dick and Harry America have this shit raining down on them all the time?  Or is it just me?  Maybe it is my own misperception.  But I do have court documents bearing out this tale of woe and disconsternation.

Weigh in.  I am actually thinking of taking steps to erase the problem completely.  I discussed with someone just today what would be the outcome of my court ordered mental eval.  Would I live out the few short days left to me in a prison or in a mental ward?  Would it matter?  Actually, not at all to me if it served to preserve some of the things  that I find the most precious meaning in after all other considerations. 

Strange how looking down the barrel of a gun can distract you from all the other weapons aimed at you.

Image Attribution:   asitoughttobe.com



I write stuff that can be seen by the public.  This has its risks and rewards.  I don’t care too much about either of those things.  But I am noticing a trend.  Maybe I am just waking up from a long sleep or finally surrendering my ancient cloak of denial.  But I am noticing things about love.  

First of all, I am tired of people using the word carelessly.  “I love that new shade of orchid paint.”  “I love men with beards.”  “I love you”.  This word is so necessary.  But so over used.  Maybe that is a good thing. And what are my choices?   “The way you look tonight gives me an abundance of positive feelings.”  “I feel so many different positive emotions about my new grand child, I cannot begin to put it into words.”  To the rescue:  “I love her.”

I frequent a popular website that deals with Romance Novels.  There are several very popular ones.  Romance novels, I believe, account for about 65% of all books sold.  Any –tech, fiction, whatever.  They tell you on this site about conventions to go to.  They have interviews, do reviews, do guest posts, have a very dynamic comment section. (Used to be way more dynamic and fun, but they messed with the format and it is not so much fun anymore.) They talk about who is having a special sale and even get into the on going war between trad and e publishing. Kind of.  Anyway. . .

Today I read a review about a “romance” novel that is considered an “erotic” romance novel.  There are guidelines.  A “Romance” must have the HEA, the Happily Ever After. It is required. Any story can have lots of sex.  My understanding is that a novel uses sex as a plot device  to drive the story. With pure Erotica, the point is titillation and not story telling.  So right away, I am confused.  Well, one person stated that in an erotic romance it starts out with “instalust” and then they fall in real love and it becomes a romance novel complete with the required Happily Ever After. So this book they discussed today, they had instalust and the guy knew right away she wanted to be dominated.  (A big tee hee goes out to all you males out there.  Any of you that thinks your initial impression of a female is the correct one is just clueless or six.)  So during the course of this initial meeting they are teasing about this huge sexual dynamic they are aware of and he says  (I did not read the book, just the review, and the author of the review did not want to put this in the review. You could tell she finally has to to make her point)   “You’re gonna blow me.” 

Basically, a guy she just met is telling her he is going to put his dick in her mouth. Seriously?  Maybe they had a chuckle over that, but, to me, that is not romantic or seductive.  It’s not even polite. And they get around to that, add in a few surprise orgasms, sexual intensity that causes blackouts, falling in love and living happily ever after.  I’ll give them six months.

There is a YA book that is very popular right now and it is being recommended on school reading lists. Some schools are in a real tizzy over whether it should be on a recommended list.  It’s a about a girl who kind of doesn’t fit in but has this guy pal who is popular, sexually experienced, etc.  So for some reason, (I did not read the book)  they are in a situation together and he gets aroused by her but they don’t have time to have actual sexual intercourse, so he says, (I am apologizing for this. Call me a wimp.)  “Suck me off.”  Apparently, and this is NOT where I got the first clue about this, oral sex has less meaning than a smoochie nowadays. 

Then, the story I have told before, the researcher in the Bayous finding subjects for some sexual thesis of  his design, talking to an older woman, and she says, “I don’t know what is the big deal about sex.  It’s just a squirt in the dark.”

Then we go over to Cafe’ Mom where someone confesses she had sex with a married man and thirty people get all over her, calling her a whore amongst other things.  Have they never watched Jerry Springer? 

What is the deal that “getting off” is this inconsequential thing that takes no advance thought or planning, mono-, homo- hetero, whatever, but then it is the thing that brings down kingdoms?  Where is the context for that?  Why is the morality of who you exchange intimacy and fluids with so undefined and actually nebulous sometimes and then becomes so powerful a tool that rulers of countries gladly surrender all their power for that next squirt?

Man, you got me here.  I’ve been around the block, seen both sides of the coin, walked the walk, talked the talk, taken the A train, gone through it, caused it, felt it, done it, used it, hated it, faked it, needed it, whatever.  I am completely unable, even couching it in the most vague terms possible to put any of this into any sort of context.  It is just fuel, the words, the acts, the thoughts, fuel to keep the train of life running.  Yeah, birds, amoebae, caterpillars, kings, walruses, gas, diesel, hydrogen, kerosene, coal, steam, whatever.  Just keep that thing called “life” chugging along.   ‘Til it stops.

Let’s Talk About Covers

One of the things some people insist on is that, if you are self-published, you must at least spend some money on a good cover.  I won’t.  I bought a Getty Image early on and it pixelated.  I spend a lot of time talking to customer service about it and discussing it with various other humans.  Everyone had a reason, but then I see that very picture I used in some blog or Pin or something I wrote and there it is HUGE.  Huge and unpixelated.  So now, I do screen shots, copy image, mess around with that photo manipulation program that I bought (which is not PhotoShop but has a smudging tool, which is really all you need), incorporate, and yeah, steal.  I DO, honestly, make every attempt possible to attribute.  That is just the way I am.  And the one picture I out and outright snitched is not in use by me any more.  So you can unknot your skivvies.  There are two covers on Barnes and Noble for my work that SUCK.  This is because of size requirements and impatience.  I shall, when I am in the right mood, put beautiful corrected covers up, but it apparently doesn’t make much difference since I sell more on Barnes and Noble than anywhere else.  (Which really doesn’t say much.)

So, first of all, the size requirement thing is so much baloney since I have seen with my own eyes that anything can be manipulated into any other thing.  How many times have you looked at a pin on Pinterest that was all blurry, and you wait a few seconds for it to resolve, and it doesn’t?  Me — more than once.  And another time there will be a long list of tiny photos that someone pinned, like the cats at war, and you enlarge one of those tiny thumbnail photos and you can read the number on the cat’s rabies tag. 

And secondly, there is a thing about originality.  Despite the fact that some big selling authors leave all the cover design and stuff like that to the publisher, probably thinking  the publisher should do that since he gets $7.00 for every book sold and the author gets $1.17, still, you will find an amusing and well-written piece on that delightful site Smart Bitches, showing that several different, very big selling romance novels have exactly the same cover illustration only it is reversed on one or the dress is a different color on another, or a desert is placed in the background where another has an ocean, or a forest, or a frozen expanse of tundra.  This goes on ALL the time.  And nobody does anything about it, and the huge selling author says, “Sigh.” 

This got me going tonight because I noticed the cover on Steven King’s Joylandand I was pretty sure it is a copy of a vintage pulp fiction work with a title concerning something about red heads being sinners.  I thought I had it posted on my beautiful, extensive, entertaining Redheads board on Pinterest, but I could not find it, so I am not able to provide evidence that the picture was cribbed.  Besides, if Mr. King wanted to use someone else’s photo, he sure would pony up whatever it cost cuz that is just the way he is.  And he was going for that Noir effect and he captured it perfectly.  So, that was just a blip on my horizon, a horizon filled with blips I must explore in order to keep my self from actually typing out the last two chapters of my sensational new novel that is bouncing around, fully developed inside my head.

Thirdly, but not finally there is this:

And this:


The final point I was going to make was about people who paint their own covers or have Auntie Elsie paint an appropriate one for them, but I want them to keep on doing that cuz I am very familiar with self-delusion and am not about to call anyone else out on it.
So when you want to talk about covers, I don’t listen.  If you don’t like my cover and don’t pick up my book to read, well, that’s okay.  They were fun to write.  
Thanks for stopping by.  Yeah.  I am still here. 

The Big Hack



First, I offer you my sincerest apologies.   If whatever hijacked my accounts affected you, I am very sorry.  I see today that many people, including my bank, received a big red warning sign when they got the affected email.  Mine was from my cousin and did not bear a warning so I had no way of knowing it was infected.
I have changed all my passwords and stuff, but today I see that it has even affected some of my twitter contacts.  If you still have trouble, I can only suggest changing your passwords.  My bank suggested opening new email accounts, but that would be a disaster for me.  Not that this hasn’t been so far. 
Please forgive me.  I was naive and careless.  I hope those are forgivable offenses.  

Image attribution:

POV: Educate me. Please!



“The dragon snarled. Jenny was terrified but Tommy felt unusually brave and protective.”
What is the point of view of the above quote?  I have been led to believe it is third person omniscient. It seems to me the point of view is that of the person observing the scene.  It tells about three different characters, even what they are thinking.  I could go on and add conversation (dialogue) between Jenny and Tommy.  I could put Tommy said, Jenny said, but in many cases that is unnecessary.  
“The dragon snarled at us.  Jenny was terrified but I felt unusually brave and protective.”  First person POV, right?  We are hearing the story from Tommy’s view point.  I am very uncomfortable with this.  I know it is appropriate for many stories and that it is the dominant POV in YA.    I can read it, but if I stop to analyze, how does Tommy know Jenny is terrified?  Maybe she is thrilled out of her mind because she is crazy about dragons and wants to befriend this one.  Or maybe the dragon is snarling only at Tommy because he is already great pals with Jenny. 
I do not have an enormous supply of reviews to draw from, but in general this is the only criticism I get consistently about my writing — that I change POV, sometimes within the same sentence.
Is this an age issue?  I grew up with The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland.  They are stories that are “told”.  It just wouldn’t affect me the same way if I read, “Suddenly I found myself falling down a hole under the tree.  I guess it was made by that rabbit I just saw.”  But this is the way most YA stories are written, so maybe that is what this generation is used to. And, in the case of Jenny, Tommy and the dragon, there are infinite possibilities to add more words to your story while you explore Jenny explaining to Tommy that no, she isn’t terrified.  Take my word for it.  She is terrified because I wrote her as terrified.
One person actually said, in a review, that she couldn’t finish my book (although she felt it started out with possibilities, she did admit) because sometimes it seemed as though the narrator was telling the story.  And, as you know I have said many times, telling the story as opposed to what?  Waiting in the car? Did she never read Johnny Gruelle or L. Frank Baum? I like to tell stories.  I write revisionist history basically, with lots of fictitious elaboration.  It comes so easy to me.  I better not give YA a whirl.  And here I thought all along that the genre was so named because of the ages of the characters in the story or the age of the target audience. Yeah. . . Some day I will have to tell the story of the sixth grader who asked the librarian where the DuMaurier’s were stacked. 
Am I losing readership because of my POV?  If I am, then I guess I will just bring the curtain down. I like the god-like position of telling the story.  Actually, I even had God weigh in on one of them, and I was able to put words into his mouth.  What power!!

Well, whatever floats your boat, eh?  Or whatever turns you on, or rings your bell.  My work has rung a few bells, but maybe that came from old fogies like me that could pretend they were listening to a story as they read. And, when Kevin Spacey turns to the audience and weighs in with his first person remarks, a lot of people find that artificial and are uncomfortable with it. That appears to be sort of a dichotomy.  First person on paper, third person on screen?  I think he carries it off very well, but I am a huge fan of artifice.
Could you let me know what you think of POV?  Not just by definition, but why you prefer to read or write a specific perspective.  Or, perhaps elaborate by showing me (rather than “telling’, but don’t get me started with that one) where a certain POV is more appropriate than another.  When I write non-fiction, does POV even apply?  God. I am panicking here.  I used footnotes once.  I’m gonna end up in court.  See how confused I am?
Image attribution: www.leadformix.com 



Everything Makes Me Cry



Just now I feel like I must be doing something right.  At least about one thing.  I think it would be better if I KNEW I was doing something right, but I take a lot of convincing.  But this is good enough to actually outweigh my worries for the moment.
It doesn’t matter it seems.  I think I cry more tears over the good stuff.  



I feel like a fool.  I have always been good at rationalization.  Twice,  in the recent past, I have posted stuff in my feeble attempts at irony or jest and been taken seriously.  In another case, a person misread a facebook quote of mine and went into a well-meaning and correct explanation of the thing I was trying to be sarcastic about.

I do not have a sincere voice.  My real life voice is a joke.  I went to see a doctor about five years after my last appointment.  I said, “Hi, I’m Virginia.”  He said, “Oh, I remember you.   The voice. . .”

My writing voice is intended to be facetious,  but evidence points to the fact that I am a complete failure at that.  Actually, I have heard from three readers that they got the joke in three cases.  Not a good percentage.

So, how am I going to steer this conversation back to rationalization or idealism?  Well,I just clicked on a book title in a blog.  Actually, it was a “website”.  I think.  I am not too sure of the difference, and, no, Jonathan, you don’t need to explain it to me.  The site was The Rumpus.  It is pretty liberal but kind of fun for writers.  It has infuriated me enough that I  have cancelled my subscription to it for years.  I have had wonderful discussions on it.  I found out, much later unfortunately, that one of the people I was arguing with was an author, unknown to me, of some repute. ( I admit I travel in the wrong circles.)  So apparently I read something on or about the Rumpus that caught my attention.  I am not subscribed to it, but am apparently subscribed to comments.  Really, that is all you need anyway, frankly.  It is even a bit too much info.

I linked to this book title which sounded interesting and that led me to two hours of linking trough various connected, in sometimes vague ways, to the book title or author.  And I just stopped it by closing some of the many tabs I had thusly opened.  (I am relishing the fact that I have always wanted to use that word and have never before had the opportunity.  I hope it is a real word.)  (Aren’t my asides annoying?)  And, for a reason God intended, but that has never worked too well on me, a light bulb just went off in my head.

I have gone on and on arguing in favor of certain principles.  I am calling them that because, although they may be philosophies or dogmas or truths or precepts or commandments or ideas, I feel, at the base of their structure, they must be principles.  (I flunked philosophy twice.  I have a former classmate who is a Professor Emeritus in Philosophy at a major University.  I am able to communicate with him.)  (I’ll stop it now.) And, just now, when the light bulb went off, I realized that some of the things I argue the most fervently for, that shall for the most part go unnamed, for which I have published material with tedious documentation, I do not practice, have not practiced, and have no intention of practicing. And I seriously do not think I am a hypocrite. I think I earnestly believe in those principles and, in my own concept of idealism, those principles would be followed to the letter by all of humanity — which, of course, they are not and never will be.  And, in my dotage, I will gladly own up to the fact that a lot of the stuff I have done would not have been any fun if I had not felt like I was defying some moral precept or principle.  And that makes me a sinner and that makes me a Catholic.  And this is not a confession.  This is just a light bulb moment that I have really enjoyed.  And that two hours of linking from a book title has given me a lot more insight to my self than probably the whole rest of my life — a life that has had its share of ups and downs, mostly downs, but has been a great deal of fun and very interesting so far.

Yeah.  My meds have been adjusted.

Photo Attribution:  Google Image