Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Audio-book giveaway! :-)

Do you need a laugh? Something to entertain you on your commute? I have just the thing--a free audio-book download of my award-winning book "Quirky Essays for Quirky People". Comment on this post with your e-mail and I will happily send you a download code for an audio-book.

Here's the link if you want to check it out:

Here's the summary:

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 his or her 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 a sneeze can cause ("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.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How to Split Infinitives With Confidence :-)

Mrs. Grammar Person is thrilled to share this explanation of how to split infinitives, to boldly go where no one has gone before...cue the Star Trek theme song.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

My flash fiction story--"Luck is a Lady" :-)


            Sam wasn't sure if it was a wonderful sign or a sign of impending disaster but he knew it was definitely a sign and to ignore it would be foolish indeed. His mother had taught him the importance of paying attention to signs--like the time when he was five and the chickens wouldn't eat, she just knew something terrible was about to happen. Sure enough, her brother Vern wound up in the hospital the next day more dead than alive. The fact that he had started a brawl with a motorcycle gang while blind drunk didn't factor into it as far as Mama was concerned. A sign was a sign and you ignored it at your peril. Another time when the clouds formed a dollar symbol in the clear blue sky, she made Papa buy her a lottery ticket and--praised be to God--didn't she win fifty dollars? She used that money to buy Sam a new suit for church as a thank-you to her sweet lord and savior. It didn't matter that Sam wanted to buy the silver race car in the window at McCrory's, Mama couldn't have cared less. Funny thing about it, now that he was a grown man with a good job he had plenty of money to buy himself a racecar, but he didn't want one any more. Just like he didn't want to stay up all night watching TV while he shoveled candy in his mouth until he felt sick. Times change.
            But this sign was a tough one to figure out and Sam knew everything depended on getting it right. A wrong decision could ruin everything. He wondered why it couldn't be something simple, like finding a penny heads up or walking under a ladder. At least then he'd know what to expect. Of course, not every sign was reliable. One time, a bird flew straight into the window and killed itself and Mama went crazy waiting for the tragic news that someone had died. Weeks went by and nothing happened but she never relaxed her guard until she heard that Earl, their old mailman who was in his 80s and living in a retirement home across town, a man who used to keep stones in his pocket to ward off vicious dogs and who liked to shoot baskets with the boys in the park, had died. That afternoon, Mama threw open the curtains, breathed a sigh of relief and said well, finally that's over with, thank-you, Jesus. Sam thought that one was a bit of a stretch, but he didn't say so.
            Now that Mama was gone, Sam had trouble reading the signs; he couldn't tell good omens from bad and it had left him befuddled. Mama could always explain everything by reading the signs and she made perfect sense. But there were no signs the day she died, no warnings at all, no howling dogs or dead crickets, nothing. In the evening, Mama had sprinkled salt in front of the doors to keep evil spirits away, just like she always did. Then she had baked a chocolate mayonnaise cake for the Church bake sale and put it on the sill to cool--that's what she'd said anyway. Sam knew she did it to stop him from snatching a slice of his favorite cake. Later on, with the aroma of chocolate cake swirling through the air and the sound of his mama humming softly to herself, Sam had been lulled to sleep. But when he got up in the morning, she was already gone. She just went to bed and never woke up. They saved her chocolate cake for the funeral, of course. Sam didn't want any, didn't want to eat at all, but he broke down and ate a piece in honor of his mama. Usually, you don't know when it's the last time you'll ever do a thing. This wasn't one of those times. As Sam savored the cake, taking small forkfuls to make it last, he knew his mama would've been tickled to know she'd catered her own funeral reception.
            In the three months that followed, it was all Sam could do to take care of the house and the chickens by himself and make it to the marina by eight. There was no time to think about signs or anything else. Then, one morning, he found a ladybug on the roof of his truck. He knew good luck was coming his way. Carefully, he moved her to a leaf and made sure she was safe, but before he could get in the truck, a black cat ran out from between the tires, darting right in front of him. Sam shook his head. That meant bad luck for sure--or, if he was lucky, it just canceled out the ladybug. He drove more carefully than usual, unsure as to what fate had in store for him. He barely made it to the marina on time and had to run straight to the dock to prep the boats for the tours scheduled that day. As he stacked the life jackets, he was startled to discover that he wasn't alone. A woman in cutoff shorts with streaked brown hair was stocking the boats with drinks. She turned around and gave him a dazzling smile.
            "Hi, I just started working, today's my first day. Did you see those fish jumping out there--amazing! And the sun sparkling on the water, isn't it just beautiful? Oh, I forgot to introduce myself, I'm Samantha, but call me Sam. What's your name?"

            As the fog in his head cleared away, Sam laughed out loud. He knew this was the last sign he would ever need. And it wasn't confusing at all.

A Visit to the Doctor, à la Dr. Seuss

I have a funny story to tell
It starts out bad but ends up well
How it happened, I cannot say,
Such a crazy mixed-up day!

Yesterday, while in my yard,
Playing ball, I fell down hard!
I cut my leg, it was a mess!
I cried out loud, I must confess.

I went to see my doctor quick
I told him that I wasn’t sick
I pointed at my leg so sore
He shook his head, “Son, say no more,
The problem’s there, it’s plain to see,
Your finger’s crooked as can be!”

“Don’t look so glum, I have a plan,
Dr. Bonejoint, he’s your man.
He’ll fix you up, he’ll give you care,
He’s right next door, I’ll take you there.”

I did explain-it was no use,
These doctors could be so obtuse!
And then I yawned, mouth open wide
Dr. Bonejoint peeked inside,
“The problem’s there, it’s plain to see,
Your tooth needs work immediately!”                                                

“Don’t look so glum, I have a plan,
Dr. Toothright, he’s your man.
He’ll fix you up, he’ll give you care,
He’s right next door, I’ll take you there.”

I did explain-it was no use,
These doctors could be so obtuse!
And then I coughed, mouth open wide
Dr. Toothright poked inside,
“The problem’s there, it’s plain to see,
You need a tonsillectomy.” 

“Don’t look so glum, I have a plan,
Dr. Sorethroat, he’s your man.
He’ll fix you up, he’ll give you care,
He’s right next door, I’ll take you there.”

I did explain-it was no use,
These doctors could be so obtuse!
I was so mad, stuck in that place,
Then Dr. Sorethroat saw my face.
“The problem’s there, it’s plain to see,
You have a rash, obviously!

“Don’t look so glum, I have a plan,
Dr. Skinclear, he’s your man.
He’ll fix you up, he’ll give you care
He’s right next door, I’ll take you there.”

I did explain-it was no use,
These doctors could be so obtuse!
I had enough and couldn’t take much more,
Then Dr. Skinclear looked at the floor
“The problem’s there, it’s plain to see,
Your leg is bleeding, it’s red as can be!

“Don’t look so glum, I have a plan,
Dr. Stitchem, he’s your man.
He’ll fix you up, he’ll give you care
He’s right next door, I’ll take you there.”

I was almost brokenhearted,
When I ended up back where I started!
Dr. Stitchem looked confused,
Then sewed my leg where it was bruised,
He ruffled my hair and patted my knee        
Then gave me his apology.

That was my crazy mixed-up day
I finally left to go home and play,
I thanked Dr. Stitchem for making it stop,
And also for the delicious lollipop!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Choose your holiday! :-D

It's a long time to go without a holiday from the 4th of July to Labor Day and we need something to take our mind off the heat, so I offer you a choice of real holidays you can celebrate today:

August 8, 2016 is Assistance Dog Day
August 8, 2016 is Happiness Happens Day
August 8, 2016 is International Cat Day
August 8, 2016 is National Frozen Custard Day! 
August 8, 2016 is National Zucchini Day!

I plan to celebrate two holidays at once: National Frozen Custard Day and Happiness Happens Day since the first one is the reason for the second. 

I don't anticipate finding a zucchini custard though, so National Zucchini Day is off the table, ha ha. ;-)  Speaking of vegetables, does anyone agree with me that pumpkin pie is a vegetable?  

Isn't it interesting how the cats get an INTERNATIONAL day?  

Tomorrow is another great day to celebrate and the choices are even better:

August 9, 2016 is Book Lovers Day
August 9, 2016 is National Hand Holding Day
August 9, 2016 is National Polka Day
August 9, 2016 is National Rice Pudding Day

So, go ahead and hold someone's hand, do the polka, eat some rice pudding, read a book that you LOVE, and say hello to some indigenous people.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Review of "My Only Story" :-)

I must confess that I just finished reading "My Only Story" for the second time. Why does it strike a chord with me? Is it because it's about the complicated relationship sisters have? (I'm the oldest of four sisters) Is it because I love the narrator/protagonist Rita and wish I could meet her? (Yes) Is it because Monica Wood is the writer I strive to be--poetic, succinct, humorous, natural, and filled with heart? You bet! And also because she tells a great story. I'm glad it's not "her only story" :-)

Rita wants to help people, heal them, and she's good at it. Little does she know, she needs a healing makeover herself. She's in a rut: divorced, yearning for a child, and fighting a fight she can't win to save her town. When she thinks she's found happiness and purpose after dreaming of a crippled dog she needs to help, she learns she's only half-way there. Fixing other people isn't enough, you still have to fix yourself, and forgiveness goes a long way. Life is a glorious trip!
Check it out:

I Art New York! (Video for artsy people) :-)

My son Josh and his friend Diego made a short documentary about people in the arts in NYC. The film has been accepted to three New York film fests (so far). Woo hoo! It's fifteen minutes long and very enjoyable. If you like it, you can follow Josh on Vimeo. Here is the link:

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Spotlight and Jamie Quinn giveaway :-)

Spotlight and giveaway! Check out the beautiful Tometender Blog and enter to win. :-) Thanks, Dianne!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Help correct a terrible injustice by signing a petition...

Check out this article by Pulitzer Prize winner Leonard Pitts and help correct this terrible injustice by signing the petition. Thank-you!!

Here's the petition link:

Monday, August 1, 2016