Sunday, September 17, 2017

My Review of "Al Franken, Giant of the Senate" :-)

Dear Senator Franken:    

Many people have read "Al Franken, Giant of the Senate" but I bet I'm the only one who read it in a dark shuttered house with a tiny flashlight as Hurricane Irma raged on, pounding trees and battering utility poles until they were just poles. Luckily, I had saved your book for a rainy day (the rainiest), which was also the longest day of my life (excluding childbirth).     

Like millions of Americans, I've suffered anxiety, anguish, and angst since Election Day. Okay, I'm completely freaked out--and the bad news just keeps on coming. I'm ashamed to admit that I hadn't thought about how government functioned since passing civics class in junior high so I had a lot of catching up to do. With the help of Wikipedia and other non-fake news, I got up to speed and then prayed our checks and balances would protect us from the ignorant, pernicious grifter whose favorite hobbies were bullying and sexual predation. And Tweeting.

Desperate to do something, anything, I joined an army of other middle-aged women who wanted to fight back. (Our motto: "We're not paid protesters, we're your mother.") After participating in the Women's March in Miami I joined the League of Women Voters, the ACLU, and Indivisible and then sent money everywhere--Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Human Rights Campaign, Sierra Club, NRDC, the ACLU again, and so on. I went to rallies, signed hundreds of petitions, joined activist FB groups, sent e-mails, made phone calls, mailed postcards, and registered people to vote. I spoke at a rally and even organized a protest! My husband of 30 years didn't bargain for a 56-year-old hippie activist with radical bumper stickers on her car, but for better or worse, right?

If there's any silver lining to all of this, it's that people are waking up and fighting back. Personally, I've gone out of my comfort zone so many times I couldn't find it with GPS. Still, it's daunting, depressing, and so, so difficult. Your book made me laugh and gave me hope. It inspired me to keep going. If you can do it, I can do it! If nothing else, the fact that I've gained fifty new Facebook friends since November tells me one thing. I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me! 


Friday, August 4, 2017

Quirky Essays on free promo :-)

Are you having a bad day? Then my award-winning (!) humorous book "Quirky Essays for Quirky People" is just what the doctor ordered--and it's on free promo from 8/4-8/8! Check it out here:

Link:  https://www.amazon.com/Quirky-Essays-People-Complete-Collection-ebook/dp/B00KC7BNNY/ref=sr_1_13?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1501872885&sr=1-13&keywords=barbara+Venkataraman

Blurb:
For the first time, all in one place, the award-winning books, "A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities," and "I'm Not Talking About You, Of Course," PLUS seven bonus essays. What a collection! If this doesn't make you smile, then you're not even trying.

"A Trip to the Hardware Store"
These humorous essays explore such quirky topics as: disastrous home repairs, ("A Trip to the Hardware Store"), an unfortunate dinner party ("Dinner is Served"), the truth about lazy people ("Lazy Bones"), the weird life of a debt collector ("Your Account is Past Due") and obsessions with gadgets ("Gadget Girl"). Other essays examine how surreal the aging process is ("Where Did the Time Go?"), why you shouldn't judge a person by their job ("Beyond Belief"), and how to complicate simple transactions ("High Finance"). 

"I'm Not Talking About You, Of Course"
A collection of humorous insights into important topics ranging from annoying pet people ("I'm Not Talking About You, Of Course"), to analyzing your inner child ("Irrational Fears"), to living like the Amish in the aftermath of a hurricane ("A Jolt of Electricity"). Other essays examine just how much damage can be caused by a sneeze ("It All Started with a Loud Sneeze"), why it is so complicated to buy a tube of toothpaste ("Ask Me No Questions"), how a parent's obsessive hobbies can become an inescapable vortex ("Crazy Hobbies"), and why spending the night in a sleep clinic is like being abducted by probing aliens ("Nightmare at the Sleep Clinic").

If you don't see yourself in each of these entertaining essays, then I'm not talking about you, of course.




Map Your Mystery Blog :-)

So, I found this cool blog called "Map Your Mystery" that organizes cozy mysteries geographically and I thought "What a fun idea!"

I contacted Christine (because it's her blog, lol) and she graciously agreed to read and review my Jamie Quinn box set. I'm happy to report that she liked it and wrote a lovely review:  http://mapyourmystery.blogspot.com/2017/08/jamie-quinn-mystery-collection.html?spref=fb

I highly recommend her blog. Here's the description:

About the Blog

The setting of a mystery book may not be as important as the clues surrounding the mystery, but in cozy mysteries, it adds to the flavor. Speaking of flavor, there are many, many cozy mysteries with all types of businesses as the central focus - bake shop, knitters shops, libraries, charmed bakeries and so much more. The businesses as well as their location make for a fun read.

My plan with this blog is to take you on a tour of the United States (at first) and plot out where your favorite mysteries are set. Maybe you will find a mystery you have not read or a business you might want to own yourself.

If you have a favorite book or a location you would like to recommend, please email me at mapyourmystery@gmail.com. If the book is one of a series, make sure you send the title of the first in the series. I'm like that - need to read from the beginning of the series. 




Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Great review for Jamie Quinn! :-)

Check out this great review of my Jamie Quinn Cozy Mystery Box Set (Books 1-3) at "Turning Another Page", a wonderful blog for book marketing services and reviews. Thanks, Lauren!

https://turninganotherpage.com/book-review-jamie-quinn-mystery-collection-by-barbara-venkataraman/

Speaking of Jamie Quinn, the Box Set is free on Kindle through July 27th, so get yours before it ends. J


Also, "Engaged in Danger" is in the process of being recorded by a fantastic voiceover actress, Fay Annette. Once you hear her voice, you'll be hooked!  https://www.favoiceworks.com/  


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Baby wombat news! :-)

As you may know, I have a fondness for wombats--even if they are the reason my poor protagonist Jamie Quinn can't be with her boyfriend, Kip. Check out this short video of the cutest baby wombat ever, you'll see why. :-)  


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OOiUy6iXio&feature=youtu.be 

In other great news-- The endangered Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat welcomes a new joey! 

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-40654802


Monday, July 17, 2017

Mental Health Day

            The stranger stared into my eyes so deeply it felt like he was looking into my soul. The staring went on for so long that I was starting to feel uncomfortable. He finally spoke.
            "You have presbyopia."
            "Oh my God," I said, "Is that serious? It sounds like a tropical disease."
            The ophthalmologist laughed. "No, it means you have old eyes. You also have a touch of astigmatism."
            I rubbed my blurry, traitorous eyes. "What's the cure, doc?"
            He shrugged. "Longer arms so you can read a menu. Glasses, of course."
            "Can't I just use a selfie stick to hold my papers? What if I enlarge the font on my computer? Isn't there a warehouse somewhere with spare parts for when mine wear out?"
            The doctor laughed again. "If you find it, let me know."
            After spending an hour picking out the least unflattering glasses and grumbling the whole time, I hightailed it over to the dentist for my next appointment, Siri helpfully mapping out my route.
            "Hmm," the dentist said, peering into my mouth. "That's interesting."
            "Uck-eww-argh?" I asked, which translated to what do you mean by interesting?
            "Yup," she said, after poking my tooth with a sharp object, "you need a crown."
            "Why?" I asked with my eyes since my mouth had fingers prying it open.
            "This filling is old, not much tooth left. You need a root canal and a crown. Make the first appointment on your way out."
            "First appointment?" I said, but she was already gone.
            Next stop on my day of doctor appointments was a bone density test. I was out of there in no time, but no sooner had I reached my car than my phone rang, it was my primary doctor calling with the results. The bone density test showed I had Osteopenia, a decrease in bone density. She said I should start taking calcium supplements and do weight-bearing exercises. That seemed manageable--definitely more pleasant than getting a root canal.
            My final stop was the ENT's office for a follow-up about my sinus issues.
            "I think you have sleep apnea," she said.
            "Is there a pill for that?" I asked hopefully.  "Maybe a spray?"
            She shook her head. "Afraid not. You have to go do a sleep study."
            "People are going to watch me sleep?" I croaked.
            She nodded. "Yup, you will be wired to monitors and an EEG machine, with sensors all over your head and body. They'll measure your oxygen intake, your REM sleep, your heart rate, and whether you have restless legs."
            "What happens if I do have sleep apnea?" I whispered.
            "You'll have to wear a CPAP mask that blows air up your nose and forces your airway open."
            "I HAVE TO GO HOME NOW," I said.
            After all that, I needed another full day just to recover, a mental health day. I had only one more question for Siri--which way to the beach?



           

            

Sunday, July 16, 2017

My Fifteen Minutes of Fame :-)

If you've always been curious about how Jamie Quinn popped into my head, check out my fun author interview at Indie Publishing Group, thanks, Ben!

http://www.indiepublishinggroup.com/author-interview-barbara-venkataraman/

For even more excitement, check out the new review of "Jeopardy in July" in the lovely "In D'Tale Magazine". Thanks, TJ!

http://magazine.indtale.com/magazine/2017/july-august/#?page=122