Ahh, the reviewer

I haven’t been working on my stories lately. Poor Robert and Allison are still awaiting their ultimate connection while Lynette and Lachlan are in need of a cover before uploading/publishing. *sighs* However, that does not mean I’ve not been tending my craft, either.

I may have mentioned I joined the Kindle sponsored Goodreads read-a-thon and upped my one year reading goal to 45 books – from 30 – by year’s end. I am six books ahead of schedule, by the way, having finished fifteen books as of yesterday. And with each book comes a review, as well. So I have been busy writing, critically thinking, and poking my muse with – hopefully – well thought out and informative reviews.

Alas, one cannot please everyone all of the time. A book I finished on the first of this month, An Affair to Dismember, was reviewed; all reviews are first posted to Amazon, then one of my other domains (Scribes Canvas was formally a webhost reseller domain but is now a reviewing only site), and sometimes on Goodreads as well. I gave the story three stars on my Amazon review.  I felt it was fair; five stars are reserved for those stories that are truly extraordinary while a single star, and I’m not sure if I’ve even gone that low thus far, are for stories that I wished I never committed to read and want to forget, just utterly despise them for whatever reason. Three stars mean I liked the book well enough and recommend the writer to other readers, but does not necessarily mean I shall be a big fan of the writer or go out of my way to purchase new books to grace my bookshelves.

My reviewing style is one honed from graduate school. It’s not an educational or school-like voice, but still one chosen to keep “me” out of it. Meaning, the review is focused on the story and the author, not the reviewer, so I never use first person references as the reviewer. If a sentence calls for a “me” voice, I refer to myself as “this reader” and not “I” or “me”. I use critical thinking when reviewing. I try to balance bad comments with good – make sure a positive comment comes before a negative one. I hope my critique is read with the intention it was written in, as an informative and helpful tool for the writer. It is also hoped the writer remembers I am but one solitary reader and may very well be alone in my opinion, but I am very much entitled to that very same opinion.

Most writer’s seem to appreciate my reviews and take them in the spirit they were written. After all, many come back and ask me to review their next offering, as well. However, some of their, hmm, well-meaning, friends choose to attack my review for whatever reason. In the aforementioned review, two such people took great pains to leave comments about my use of “this reader” in the review. No comments about the story. No comments about the creator of the story. Just, my references to “this reader”. Now, how does that help the story’s writer in any way? They wanted to lecture me on, I guess, arrogance, and instead presented their own. While drawing (negative) attention to the written review, which can actually do more harm to the story reviewed than my actual review.

Another kind soul apologized for their behavior. Not necessary but much appreciated. She hoped their mean-spirited comments would not push me away from reviewing. They won’t. I’ll keep reviewing and eventually return back to my own writing. When I am ready.

Until then, I am so outtie….

I write, fiction; or, as Kellyanne Conway might term it, alternative facts

As a four-year-old, my perception of the Cuban Missile Crisis was, “Mommy, the stooopid Prezsieden stopped my cartoons again!” As a teen, I had to learn about the event in my history classes and understood President Kennedy was not only taking a hard line on the Soviet Union building missile bases in Cuba, but that he was working to ensure the safety of American citizens as well as working with the UN. While President Kennedy did not want to wage war with the Soviet Union, he also would not back down from his duty to safe guard the United States as a whole.

Article I, Amendment 1 – Freedom of expression and religion: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (Wednesday, March 4, 1789 – emphasis my own) On January 20, 2017 – inauguration day – six journalists were arrested while reporting on protests against the sitting President’s inauguration. They were doing their job, reporting – see Amendment 1 directly above – and now could face up to ten years in prison. [See article here: http://www.snopes.com/2017/01/25/journalists-arrested-felony-charge/] The sitting President has banned several predominantly Muslim countries entry to the US and stated, “My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.” (January 29, 2017) However, let’s be very clear here. President Obama responded to an actual threat when it was uncovered that two Iraqi refugees had been implicated in bomb-making while still in Iraq, that had targeted American troops. The sitting President issued his executive order with no known triggering threats against Americans. President Obama did not halt or ban visa applications, although the process admittedly slowed considerably. President Obama did not authorize a “blanket ban” on all citizens of Iraq entering America, and from traveling through the United States – including greed-card holders. For those that do not know or understand, a green card is given as proof to legal permanent residency, to those that have officially been granted immigration benefits which includes permission to reside and be employed in the United States. The sitting President signed a “blanket ban” against seven countries – not against known or suspected extremists, but against everyone from those countries, presuming them guilty of terrorism without proof, from entering into America. The sitting President referred to the terroristic attacks on 9/11 as to reasoning behind this ban – yet, the countries not included in this ban are the very ones where the terrorists came from, were trained in, lived in (Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan to name two)… and also, I believe, countries where the sitting President currently owns hotels and has other business ties.

Christians believe in one God and follow the word of the Bible. Muslims believe in one God (Allah in Arabic) and follow the word of the Quran. From History.org, “… Islam, which means literally “submission.” This new faith incorporated aspects of Judaism and Christianity. It respected the holy books of these religions and its great leaders and prophets — Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and others. Muhammad called Abraham “Khalil” (“God’s friend”) and identified him as Islam’s ancient patriarch. Islam traces its heritage through Abraham’s son Ishmael.” (emphasis my own)

Friederich Trump immigrated to America (from Germany) in 1885 and became a citizen  in 1892. Abraham Rutan came to America (from France) in 1675 – a full 210 years before Heir Trump. A Madame Duchesne settled in New Orleans (from France to Canada for many years and then America) in 1823 – over 50 years (62, to be exact) before Heir Trump, while a J.B. Duchesne also settled in New Orleans (also from France/Normandy to Canada and then America) in 1822 – also over 50 years (63, to be exact) before Heir Trump. Duchesne is another spelling of the French surname DuShane. My mother descends from the Rutan line and my father is a DuShane. By all accounts, my familial line has been in America longer than our sitting President’s familial line.

What is my point, you might be wondering…? Well, part of my family was here in America before the Constitution was even written and I happen to take pride in what that Document states. Oh, I’m sure many Americans take pride in the Constitution, I am in no way claiming my pride is stronger simply because part of my familial line arrived in America before it was even penned. I am no historian although I am educated, holding an MA in English; I read, a lot. I write, fiction; or, as Kellyanne Conway might term it, alternative facts. As a concerned citizen, I do not have a problem with our government taking steps to keep us safe – as President’s Kennedy and Obama did. No, not at all! I expect it, no, demand it – they have many whose entire careers concern gathering information and making the data known so the President can make an informed decision. Our Constitution was not founded in fascism, which seems to be the particular bent of the current Administration. Religious freedom and freedom of speech – including the press – are the very first things addressed in the First Amendment, for crying out loud.

What saddens me the most however, is witnessing the blatant bigotry and racism not only still present in this once great nation, but fervently shouted from rooftops. I cry for my country. I am so outtie….

Gotta do it

I am so damn proud of women today! Check out the images on this CNN story from yesterday, the USA Today story from the 21st,  this Snopes story about why protestors signs were left where they were after the march in D.C., the New York Times story about what comes next… I could post link after link after link. There is unity here, people – not just women, mind you – unified in their terror over this new era, unified in their anger over the habitual liar in the most powerful office, unified in their disbelief over claims of “alternative facts” replacing what the lies are – falsehoods and lies!

Dan Rather has posted some extremely powerful things in the last couple of days, like this one and this one, both posted on Occupy Democrats website. He’s calling tRump out, calling him the liar he is, and reminding every single American of our power and that we must hold him accountable! Dan’s the man….

Watch for the lies, people. Don’t let him slide. According to Robert Reich, the GOP will allow this continue while they tear apart the progress our country had made and line their pockets – no matter how many Americans it hurts, before they “pull the plug” on him. I paraphrased the Rawstory article and added my views to what Reich apparently said. It’s gonna be a rough ride.

*sighs* I am so outtie….

Better late than never

First post of the year 2017, only nineteen days into the year. Guess it shows I’ve not been doing much writing, eh? Well, on the up side, I did join the Kindle sponsored Goodreads 2017 book challenge; signed up to complete thirty-five books this year but my private unpublicized goal is fifty! *laughs* I’ve actually already read four books, making me three books ahead of schedule, so fifty shouldn’t be too hard of a goal.

As I’ve always said, if one wishes to improve, one must read, read, read. Now, the added beauty to this is I have also started writing reviews for the books I’ve read, as well. I have three books posted to my domain, Scribes Canvas, plus one movie, and book number four read is reviewed and posted to Amazon and/or Goodreads. I’ll likely be starting another book when I head to bed tonight, too.

I managed to add a tiny bit to the Lynette and Lachlan story, just to flush out the epilogue a bit more, and wrote a couple of paragraph’s in Allison and Robert’s story. So I guess my depression/oppression from the election is coming to an end. I hope. The orange one has the inauguration in one day. Friday. And my television will be off, or on DVD, Netflix, YouTube, or Amazon only. If the Facebook post concerning a free, star studded live streaming concert on YouTube was real, that’s where I’ll be!

Not writing related, but I’ve also managed to get a semblance of order back into the house – specifically the den, since the hot water pipe leak. Wet wall cut away, drywall is patched, dry and sanded, and ready for painting. Since I’ve lived – and smoked – here for almost six years now, it’ll be impossible to match the exact color of the undamaged walls, so I’ve been looking at contrast colors. Think I’ve settled on a shade of purple, actually. But furniture has been rearranged, excluding my LaZ-Boy chair (it’s still sitting in the middle of the living room *grins*) and once the painting is done I’ll be rearranging the wall décor, as well. Diplomas and such will be moved to hang over desk instead of remaining where they are. Also have to plan on replacing the desk chair for my secondary desk as the old one finally bit the dust… in fairness, it was around twenty-two years old! I am hopeful these changes will be conducive to continued creativity, though.

That’s not everything that’s happened in the last nineteen days, but it’s enough for now. So I am so outtie….

Voting in America

While out and about earlier today I overheard a few troubling conversations about the upcoming Presidential election. People said they weren’t going to bother to vote because they didn’t like either official. Like they were limited to vote for either Hillary or Trump and neither fit their personal choice.

Do they no longer instruct students in Civics classes – for the younger people I heard today – that Americans have yet another choice, the “write-in candidate”? Are the older people too addle brained to recall that our country is one of the few that allows this practice? Can none of them recall many years ago when the country was split and people were not pleased with the Presidential choices, so many chose to write-in their candidate, Bozo the Clown???? The Democratic Party didn’t like the Republican choice, former President Ronald Reagan, while many Democrat’s and Republicans alike didn’t like Walter Mondale. The year was 1984 and Bozo the Clown did receive many votes… obviously not enough to become the President having only gotten around 0.02 percent of the vote…. But still, this Toledo born entertainer did toss his hat into the ring.

Each State has its own rules and regulations as to how a candidate may be written in and your vote counted. Here, in Georgia, you need to check here to see who the available candidates are. Unfortunately for me, the candidate I wanted to write in, is not available… *sighs* I’ll still vote, though. If one does not vote, then one does not have the right to complain or gripe over the candidate that does win. After all, that vote one chose to not cast, might have been the one vote to make a difference. Vote, people. It’s your right and duty.

I am so outtie….

the power of the phantom

Okay, then. Have been playing Phantom of the Opera over and over again, getting myself not only into a more romantic mood, but also helping me better channel Robert’s voice. Hopefully it worked.

I finished chapter nine and got the first scene of chapter ten completed, a confrontation between Robert and Kara/Allison’s parents, Jake and Marie. Allison now knows about her biological parents, but hasn’t fully accepted it, yet. Robert is also showing his interest in Alli – only to be interrupted by jealous Kara! Hence, the confrontation…. I also grabbed the Scrivener backup from the laptop that’s been acting up, which is the main PC I use for writing, mind you… so I did the bit of writing mentioned, here, on my desktop. Only way I could watch the PotO, any-hoo, since I currently only have the blueray disc and only the player in my den is blueray.

Just wanted to touch base, more or less, since I had that huge blogging gap. *grins sheepishly* It’s after 3a.m. and we’re at the final part of the movie, it’ll end in about five minutes. The time part is no biggie, but I’m done writing for now cause my right hand is acting up. Yeah, even using a keyboard instead of pen and paper can make it flare up and cause havoc. So I’ma gonna finish this post and the movie, then head back to my room to attempt reading. Hopefully, whatever new writer I start tonight, will not sour me again like the last several did… as long as they attempt to edit! Grr.

M’kay, I am so outtie….

Ooopsie-daisie

Oh.My.Gosh. It’s been almost a solid month since I last posted! So, my son-in-law did get my original DVD of PotO out of my old player, but alas, it’s scratched. *sighs* I do have the new blueray DVD, of course – which I can only use in the den. Once I’ve paid a bit off on my Amazon account, I’ll purchase another DVD for my bedroom, again.

I’ve been besieged with author requests to read and review their work, and I’m actually happy to do so. For the most part. However, I hit several blech-y books in a row – extremely poor editing, if any; atrocious spelling, grammar, and punctuation; awkward sentence structuring; tense issues; and, point of view mishaps. Two of the books were less than one hundred pages, each – yet it took me three or more weeks to get through them because of the errors! Some of these ‘writer’s’ are churning out a book a month, for crying out loud. If they had been edited, I’d be the first to offer immense kudos for working so hard… but, these also happen to be the same authors that spill forth with the afore mentioned issues. It’s obvious they aren’t writing because they have a burning desire to tell a tale, rather, they wish to earn some quick cash. *sighs*

I also watched and reviewed a newer web-based series that likened itself to decent goth such as “The Woman in Black” (James Watkins, D. 2012). Ha! What I watched was crude and vulgar with no psychological thrills and chills, whatsoever. My reviews can be found on Amazon or one of my other domains, here. That’s my Scribes Canvas domain, btw.

Of course, most understand in order to improve their craft, they must read, read, read! Some of what I read had high stars and I can only assume the readers were either friends with the writers or too soft-hearted to critique the way they should have. Because quite frankly it was drivel! I hope, when I finally get back to writing and publish, the reviewers will be as honest as I was. How else is one to learn? It is a way to help polish and finis our work, right?

K, I am so outtie….

Darkness

I’m a huge Gerard Butler fan, no doubt about it. Like many writers, I am sure, I model the leading males in my stories after celebrity males I consider drool worthy and visual personifications of a true alpha male. Gerard is one of these males.

When describing these alpha males, I have a picture of the celebrity male on my corkboard. Actually, I try to find two males that are… not so much similar, but at least complimentary of each other, and combine bits and pieces of both in the stories alpha male. That’s my way of not only creating the perfect male character for the story, but also help if I should be lucky enough to sell movie rights, they are not locked into an exact description that only Gerard Butler could fill, or Brad Pitt, or Dwayne Johnson, etc.

Besides the images on my corkboard, I’ll often have funny or romantic movies featuring the males used, playing on DVD; I also play music when I’m very into the writing and know I won’t be looking up at the TV screen, whatever suits my soul and needs for the writing at the time.

When writing a romance, I tend to keep romantic ideology around me as much as possible. I fall asleep to The Phantom of the Opera (2004) every night. Until my DVD player died, that is. With the disc still inside it. *sighs* I bought a new player, my daughter will do her best to pull my DVD out of the broken player – if she can’t, I will buy a new one. So, I started watching some of my other favorite Gerard Butler movies to help keep me where I needed to be… The Ugly Truth (2009), Olympus Has Fallen (2013), London Has Fallen (2016), and Law Abiding Citizen (2009) to name a few. Each of these films show various kinds of love the character Gerard is playing, has for others in the movie. There are several other films, too, but these are my “go-to” movies. Phantom is the main movie, and I miss it, a lot.

Watching Law Abiding Citizen (2009) was not a good idea for me, at this time. I empathize for Clyde (Gerard Butler) as well as Jamie Foxx’s awesome portrayal of ADA Nick Rice. Feeling for Clyde ended up pushing me into wanting to watch Sons of Anarchy (2008-2014), so I just finished a marathon of watching. I found my head entering a very dark place as season 5 ended; halfway through season 6, I was feeling very dark… the only bright spot was my grand daughter’s 4th birthday. Her party rocked! I never laughed so hard, watching her bounce – and be bounced – on her trampoline. It was awesome….

But when I came back home, I stuck the DVD’s back in. Even after joking with my daughter earlier in the day about where my head was at when I’m supposed to be writing a romance. Sheesh. I told her I should probably go back to work on my serial killer story cause that’s how dark my head felt.

I finished the series about an hour ago. Betrayal, death, matricide and more still reverberating inside my head. Wow. And no Phantom to pull me back. Damn.

So, I likely won’t work on Robert & Allison’s story tomorrow – their story is romance, it’s light but with some action… it has one dark scene in it that was influenced by my SoA marathon, but it does work in the story so I’ll keep it. But the story shouldn’t have any more dark stuff, so I need to purge myself before pulling Robert & Allison back in. *sighs*

That’s where I am at. Damn. I am so outtie….

And so on, again

So, Jake & Marie have finally told Allison that she is their biological daughter. She has most, but not quite all, of the details. Henri can’t wait to tell Kara – he’s got a bit of trouble maker in him! *laughs* And Robert has finally set his eyes on Allison, so the romance part will finally start heating up and kicking into high gear. The Kara-jealousy angle should prove some fun, too.

Now comes the big decision… a sweet romance, like Lynette & Lachlan’s, or something steamier…? To help make my decision, I’m going to skim my “How to Write Erotica” book by Valerie Kelly. It was written in 1986 so I’m not really sure if it’s too outdated… maybe I’ll do a quick Amazon scan, as well.

Either way, time to get my fingers tapping away at the laptop keyboard, so I am so outtie….

Onward

Life isn’t perfect, but it is definitely good. Until the bottom falls out. Again.  — Allison Bolden, age 11

But, when I feel like I’m ready to change, I look for woods. Solitary areas deep within the woods. Spots totally away from humans. Places where I can wolf out and run free, sniff all the interesting scents bombarding me and run with the other wildlife – okay, chase ‘em. But still. I’m not trying to go all Freddy Krueger on humans, so I’m even different from what these sites say are proven truths. Sheesh, even my werewolf self is a freak. — Allison Bolden, age 15

Snippets from Robert & Allison’s story, after some major incidents in Alli’s life. *grins* She hates to be called Alli, by the way, but Robert thinks it suits her.

I’m writing the final scene of chapter 8, a big reveal. This chapter also offers a glimpse of Robert’s budding feelings for Allison and is the start of the actual romantic part of this romance novel. Earlier, Robert did show interest and intrigue in Alli, but other stuff was going on that needed to be dealt with, so, here we are. I think it works as is, and will wait till after I finish it in its entirety before going back for revision work.

Currently, I have roughly one full chapter – two scenes – of backstory via Allison’s memories which hopefully show why and how her personality is as it is. I’m waiting to hear back from a faithful reader with comments, i.e. my daughter. *grins*

Any-who, that’s what I’ve been up to and am heading back to, so I am so outtie….