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Sunday, August 21, 2016

You Be STUNNED If You Read This Blog!!!!

                                                  Image result for exaggeration

Sometimes, I feel that I'm drowning in exaggeration.....and I actually like exaggeration. A writing course instructor told me one time that the best way to write humor was to exaggerate and over the years, I've found that to be true. For instance, I wrote about my new pocket hose - "on the commercials, they show a woman holding it up with her little finger and that's true....when it's empty. Full of water, it weighs more like 845 pounds". That's exaggeration for effect.

But today, we live in a world of hyperbole. I've begun to hate the word awesome. (NASCAR is especially terrible for over-use of this word - the tracks are all awesome, the tires are awesome, the pit stops are awesome, etc, etc, etc.) NO! To truly be awesome, something must be, if not totally unique, at least extremely rare. Niagara Falls is awesome; the Grand Canyon is awesome, oceans are that.

Your new car is not awesome unless it is the highest end Ferrari or Lamborghini. If it is a Chevy, Ford or, it's simply one like a million others.

We see these promises on t.v. Hamburgers the size of breadboxes. Medicines that fix your erectile dysfunction or allow you to control your bladder (so if there are medicines to control bladder leakage, why are there also all those ads for adult diapers?). Online courses that make your child a genius.

Incredible claims are constantly being made on Facebook.

"Use this cream on your face and your wrinkles will DISAPPEAR OVERNIGHT!"

"Take this collection of herbs and your diabetes will be CURED!"

"Use this trick that credit cards companies don't want you to know and ELIMINATE your debt!"

"He bought an old house and you'll be STUNNED by what he found in the basement!" (After you click through 452 "next pages", of course. Oops, see it's catching!)

"You'll NEVER BELIEVE what he caught in the ocean, discovered in a cave, found in an old chest."

Yeah, you're constantly being stunned and amazed and flabbergasted on Facebook.

Every recipe is mouth-watering; every bit of news is mind-blowing. Every puppy, kitten, baby is indisputably cute and they may all make you smile but none of them are not the MOST precious you've ever seen.

This is the political season and over-blown rhetoric is the norm. We've lived through seven years of Barack Obama and we've heard him called a Kenyan Muslim communist/fascist/socialist, who wants to take all our guns, prior to instituting Sharia Law.

Hillary (or Shrillary or Killery, if you prefer), we hear, is a corrupt pathological liar who literally KILLS her opponents. For some reason, she's in league with Obama to give over America to the Muslims. There must be money in it for her and Bill because we know they only do what they do for money. I'm not sure why the right is worried about her, really, because she's practically on her deathbed anyway and probably won't even live until the election.

America will be destroyed if she becomes president.

Donald Trump is a narcissistic megalomaniac - a racist and bigot who wants to unloose nuclear weapons on our enemies.

America won't survive if he becomes president.

Now, I admit that I'm a liberal Democrat so I find more credence in the claims made again the Donald than I do Hillary but still, I expect that even if he got elected America would still exist when his term was over (well, unless he really did decide to use those nukes). Probably even the Republican party would still be around to frustrate those of us on the left.

According to his worshipful devotees, the only prayer the U.S. had is if we had recognized the vast moral superiority of Bernie Sanders, the only PURE candidate in the race, the only candidate who had our best interests at heart.

The problem with all this over-magnification of the mundane is that we then don't recognize the outstanding when we actually see it. Scientists and historians and even regular people have found some amazing things, such as chests of old letters and tombs of dead kings and new species of birds and fish and butterflies. There are places in this world that are breathtakingly magnificent. There are talents that are so incredible all you can do is shake your head in wonder. We've just seen some of it during the Olympics.

As a bit of a wordsmith myself, I hate all this over-exaggeration. I think it lessens the power of words into a vast battering ram of blather.  


Sunday, July 17, 2016

What To Read During Droughtlander.....


For those of us who are sick of the ugliness of our current politics and heartsick because the Outlander season is over, let me suggest Kerry Lynne's books about The Pirate Captain. 

Someone on my Heughn's Heughligans  ( a fan community for Outlander, and more specifically, Sam Heughn) recommended Kerry Lynne's books about Nathanael J. E. Blackthorne, Captain of the Ciara Morganse. 

Like Outlander itself, I initially didn't think it sounded like my usual cup of reading tea. I normally like very graphic, hard-edged, gritty books about espionage and assassins and serial killers (much like my own books). But I'd learned from the Outlander series to sometimes trust the judgment of others. So I ordered the first book and fell in love.

Like Outlander, The Pirate Captain, features a strong female heroine, Cate. She is captured by pirates but then she captures them with her courage and independence and kindness. And, of course, she captures the Captain's heart and he hers because this is a romance,  after all. 

But it isn't simply the romance of a man and woman but also a romance of a man for his ship and for the sea itself. The descriptions of Blackthorne's love affair with The Ciara Morganse are beautifully written. The ship is close to being a living being, willing to give her all for her Captain, as he is willing to give his all for her. 

Just as we learned about Scottish history from Outlander, we learn about sailing from The Pirate Captain. Just as we learned about the Gaelic language from Outlander, we learn the language of those who ply the ocean from The Pirate Captain. 

I don't see how anyone who fell in love with Jamie, wouldn't also be charmed by Nathan Blackthorne. He is a man of mystery, a legend in his own time, although he never tells the same story twice. The superstitious seamen believe he is protected by Calypso, the goddess of the sea. Like Jamie, he's been shot, stabbed and branded, always emerging whole from his travails, his myth larger than ever. 

He wears his hair in long black braids with bells and ribbons woven through his hair and mustache. He is much tattooed with every tattoo having a story behind it. He is witty and clever and courageous. The dialogue sparkles whether between Nathan and Cate or the Captain and his men or with his best friend, Thomas, another character who enchants us. Even his talent for inventive cursing is colorful and humorous.

As soon as I started the first book and realized how much I was enjoying it, I ordered the second two so I'd have them when I was ready. Yes, The Pirate Captain is escapism in a way but it isn't shallow or superficial. The characters are people you fall in love with and their world is one you want to spend more time in. A strong heroine, a dashing Pirate Captain, a beautiful black ship, blue water and bluer skies and lush tropical islands. 

Five stars for The Pirate Captain. 

"Outlander" Pirate Edition, Amazing, Fifty Shades of a Pirate Captain, Make a Great Movie, Got to read it Again, Hurry with the Sequel!



                                  The PIRATE CAPTAIN, Chronicles of a Legend

By Kerry Lynne         
                                 Historical Pirate Fiction with a love story! 
                                "Seriously, it's like Outlander with Pirates!"                                        
    During the year of 1753, I was sailing the West Indies, minding the oars in me own ship, pursuing me purpose in life, to disrupt the unholy alliance of two corrupt men and destroy their lives as they destroyed mine. I mistakenly kidnapped Catherine Mackenzie - wrong person,easy mistake, you understand - and me life went arsey . . . turvey. Having lost hearth and heart to the Jacobite War, and wanted by King Georgie's courts. Cate has lived many years destitute and alone. She desires but one thing: a place to belong. How could I deny that? Alas, if it were only that simply.
It's a story of scarred people, blinded by defenses.
It's the story of trust or rater the lack of.
It's the story of loss of faith and heart.
It's the story of a Captain's life. 
"Have you the courage to join us?"

              Nathanael J. E. Blackthorne

              Captain of the Ciara Morganse
The Pirate Captain, Chronicles of a Legend's series; Listed in the Top Paid 100 Bestsellers, Amazon's US & UK Kindle Historical Caribbean Fiction for the past year. On, Dec. 24 and Nov. 1, ranking for the books were #25 & 26 (Christmas Eve and National Author's Day) in the US.
The Pirate Captain, Chronicles of a Legend,  Nor Silver
From UK - 5 stars Brilliant, By Malteaser88,
Anyone who enjoys anything to do with sailing and pirates in general will love this book. The characters are well thought out and you find yourself deeply engaged from the get go and often find yourself rooting for characters you previously were unsure of. A good length of a book full of rich details. I was devastated when I finished as now I'll have to wait until the follow up! Highly recommended!
The Pirate Captain: Nor Gold 
From US - 5 stars Unforgettable Characters, By Borgia,
Lynne's characters, main as well as supporting, are complex and well developed through her descriptive writing. Nor Gold is a page turner of pirate adventures and relationships with an exciting plot that keeps you wanting more straight through to the end, and even then you can't believe it's over! This is the type of story that when you have finished reading the characters stay with you, and you miss them; by no means is this a take off of the "Pirates of the Caribbean"  
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable Characters, November 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nor Gold: The Pirate Captain, Chronicles of a Legend (Kindle Edition)
Nor Gold is the second book in the Pirate Captain series by Kerry Lynne. Her characters, main as well as supporting, are complex and well developed through her descriptive writing. Nor Gold is a page turner of pirate adventures and relationships with an exciting plot that keeps you wanting more straight through to the end, and even then you can't believe it's over! This is the type of story that when you are done reading the characters stay with you, and you miss them.
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable Characters, November 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nor Gold: The Pirate Captain, Chronicles of a Legend (Kindle Edition)
Nor Gold is the second book in the Pirate Captain series by Kerry Lynne. Her characters, main as well as supporting, are complex and well developed through her descriptive writing. Nor Gold is a page turner of pirate adventures and relationships with an exciting plot that keeps you wanting more straight through to the end, and even then you can't believe it's over! This is the type of story that when you are done reading the characters stay with you, and you miss them.
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable Characters, November 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nor Gold: The Pirate Captain, Chronicles of a Legend (Kindle Edition)
Nor Gold is the second book in the Pirate Captain series by Kerry Lynne. Her characters, main as well as supporting, are complex and well developed through her descriptive writing. Nor Gold is a page turner of pirate adventures and relationships with an exciting plot that keeps you wanting more straight through to the end, and even then you can't believe it's over! This is the type of story that when you are done reading the characters stay with you, and you miss them.
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable Characters, November 3, 2014
The Price of Victory by Kerry Lynne
"The Pirate Captain"

Copyright 2016 PIRATE CAPTAIN ™

Monday, July 04, 2016

I Miss The Carottles

Image result for old women cartoons       I was thrilled when I sent for my DNA analysis to see just who I was in terms of ethnicity. I knew one long-time family question would be answered. My Gram's maiden name was Nussbaum and we always figured we had some Jewish blood. She denied it but well, you might if you lived in a town called New Berlin, Illinois, in the late 1800's, mightn't you?

Grammie was a character. She stood at an apple-shaped 4'10. She never had on a pair of slacks in her life, nor had she ever cut her iron gray hair which she wound in a bun on the back of her head. She wore dresses that she made herself and you almost never saw her without an apron. She was our family cook until she got sick. When we kids came home from school, it was generally to the delicious scent of baking yeast rolls. She wasn't a lovable Grandma. We weren't allowed in her room unless invited and that happened rarely.

She'd had a rough life. My grandfather was the Indian Agent on the Caddo Reservation in Oklahoma. When she had her first child, Grandpa rode for the doctor but by the time, they got back, she'd already had the baby, cleaned it up and buried the afterbirth. Later, another child would die out there while her husband was gone so she dug her son's gave herself. (Her last words before she died were - "oh, look, there's my sweet Charley", which was the baby she'd lost.)

Anyway, when I got my DNA back, evidently she'd told the truth. It doesn't show a drop of Jewish blood. (Nor Native American, nor Black, nor Oriental - we are the most boring of Western Europeans - mostly British with some dashes of German, French, Nordic and Irish thrown in).

Still, Grammie almost had her own language and those words sounded Yiddish, though perhaps they were simply a form of pidgen German.

For instance, when you set something on the back of the stove, you just let it brutzle back there. Brutzling is slower than a boil, slightly faster than a simmer. Grammie just about always had beans or soup or stew brutzling on the stove. If you were going to give the kitchen a lick and a promise with the broom, you swintzled it. And if you half-assed ironed clothes without taking much care, you roshpelled them. Have you noticed a pattern here of less than sterling housekeepery?

Shoes were dopas and your favorite raggy robe was an old drunzel. Your head was your copsha. I can hear Grammie now, pulling me into her lap, patting her shoulder and saying, "lay copsha now and go to sleep".

An unruly child was a holabock and a messy one was a sloppahoness.

If you came home tipsy, you were pahsoofa.

To eat was to fress. When dinner was ready, she'd call out - "come ca fressa."

If she doubted your word, she'd say with contempt - "ah, du bees ferecht!" which meant, "you're crazy".

The Nussbaum family was large and argumentative. They were always feuding but they also couldn't stand not to know what was going on with one another so the arguments ended when someone inevitably said, "I wonder what the Nussbaum smacht?" (What the Nussbaum's are "up to".)

My father's generation of the family called themselves the Carottles. I have no idea why and now that I'm curious enough to want to know, anyone I could have asked is gone.

Isn't that the way of it. So often we're not interested in our family history until it's too late.

Did your family use any special words that were unique to them?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Feminist Sexist?

                                                 Image result for outlander jamie

I have admitted with sad awareness in my old age that I have always been something of a sexist. It's not that I don't have wonderful women friends whom I love because I do. It's not that I haven't written and protested and carried signs for women's rights, because I have. It's not that I'm not supportive of women's causes because I am. I'm a full-fledged Hillary Clinton fan. I can't wait to see a woman in the White House as president.

But, having said all that, my heroes have always been males. When I was young, I wanted the main characters of the books I read to be male. I wanted the leads in the movies I saw to be men. Even now, the only t.v. program I watch is Outlander. I admire the Diana Gabaldon for having created a strong, fearless, intelligent female character - Claire. I respect the producers for accentuating her strengths. But, nevertheless, I doubt if I would watch if it wasn't for Jamie, her husband and lover. He's the one who draws me in so that that Saturday night hour is inviolate, no matter what else may be going on.

When I go to the library to pick out books, I read author's names rather than titles....and I mostly pass by female authors. I read the blurbs and if the protagonist is a woman, I usually put it back on the shelf.

Now I write books myself. I've written 13 novels and only one features a female main character and femininity wasn't her strong suit. I relate more to men than I do to women.

I wonder if that is cultural? I'm 69. When I was a girl, only boys played "real sports". Cowboys were all men though they might have a wife, like Dale Rogers, as a helpmate. Superheroes were all men until Wonder Woman came along. It goes without saying that all presidents were men, and most congresspeople too. Courageous soldiers were men. Even most breadwinners were men were most inventors and scientists and doctors and college professors and pilots. In the beginning, all astronauts were men. So were police officers and firemen. And don't forget Supreme Court Justices.

So, where else were you to look but at the men to find your heroes other than the occasional Madame Curie or Amelia Earhart or Florence Nightingale?

Perhaps I'm a case of arrested development because be they actors, musicians, book charactors or athletes, my most loved are men - Johnny Depp and Sam Heughn, Jack Reacher and Gabriel Allon, Jimmie Johnson and Peyton Manning, David Garrett and Prince. I can't think of a list of similar females although I like some of them well enough.

Do you suppose it is possible to be both a feminist and a sexist?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Exhilaration of Creativity

                                                 Image result for writers

This is my favorite place to be: I'm at my desk. I have a pack of cigarettes, a lighter and an ashtray on my left, along with a mug of coffee on a coaster. My keyboard and monitor are directly in front of me. On the wall above, is a picture of a window ledge that holds a book, a cup and saucer and a vase of pink roses. The window looks out on the beach. It is a scene I can disappear into when I'm mulling my next sentence. It is where I wish I was instead of a small town in land-locked Indiana where a sea of waving corn serves as our ocean.

A long-haired tortoise shell cat (Paisley) is curled in a ball on one chair and a blonde Pekinese (Chantilly) is snoring in another. A huge gray part-Maine Coon cat (Slate) is stretched out at my feet; a black and white kitten (Filigree) is laying on an antique plate on the dining room table.

The house is dead quiet except for faint outside sounds- a lawn mower down the street, some kids giggling on their way to Kelly's Ice Cream, the booming base of a hipster's truck. The television is on so I can read the headline crawl when I go through the kitchen but it is on mute. The speakers on the computer are turned off.

So, it's just me and my animals and my computer. It may seem as if there's not much going on but that's not true. There are people, places and things inside my own head. I have no outlines or character sketches or 3x5 cards to go by although I sometimes write down rudimentary timelines. I don't need any of those things. I know who these people are and they know what they are going to do next. I am as close to them as to the real humans in my life.

I am not an organized writer, rather I write quickly, by the seat of my pants, letting it all spill out onto the keyboard. This spontaneity is what makes writing fun for me. I think plotting and planning down to the last detail would ruin the joy of it.

I revel in the pleasure of words although I'm not one who uses a lot of high-brow words or phrases. My writing is like me...rather plain and blue collar. I do love words though. Today, I learned a thing on Facebook that thrilled me: a large group of sting rays is called a "fever of sting rays." Isn't that a marvelous and perfect phrase? Discovering it made my day.

I played a game of Scrabble with the computer this morning and reflected that my least favorite vowel is the letter "i". I simply have an instinctive dislike of it. When it appears in my Scrabble rack, I get rid of it first if I can, either by using it or swapping it for another.

I write books, blogs (three of them about: 1) politics, 2) NASCAR and 3) writing) as well as a weekly newspaper column. I appreciate the variety. Politics is nothing like writing and writing is nothing like NASCAR. My newspaper column is more proscribed by length and language and subject than the blogs. I have to please an editor with the newspaper column. I don't have to please anyone but myself with the books and blogs.

Most people don't think my writing matches my real persona. It is sharper and harsher than the plump gray-haired grandma I appear to be. I seem like the type who would write romance novels or cozy mysteries instead of novels about race car drivers and serial killers and graphic sex.

I don't follow the "write what you know" theory. I've never based a book in Indiana. I like doing the research that allows my characters to live in Romania and Ireland, New York City and New Mexico and New Orleans. You never know what you will find. I was completely charmed by Ireland but felt nothing but distaste for France. I had no idea this would be the case going in.

Writing is pure creativity - starting from scratch to build your own world with its own cast of unique characters and scenes and actions. There is nothing else quite so exhilarating.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Australia and Great Britain and Japan - Oh My!

I've really never had much interest in my books once they are published. I never re-read them myself because I'm on to the next one. I don't try very hard to market them because I don't enjoy that part of authorship. In fact, I rarely even visit my Amazon or Smashwords author page (I not sure what my passwords are). I don't try to track sales. And I've really never given too much thought to who reads least, I didn't until lately.

Amazon must have a new system for paying royalties. I don't know how they did it before, maybe just packaged everything together into one quarterly direct deposit. But now they notify me separately of payments that come from other countries and it was rather a shock, but a thrilling one, to suddenly be notified of my books being sold in Great Britain and Japan and France and Australia. It simply never occurred to me that people could be reading my books in foreign countries even though I know Amazon books are offered in those places.

There is a kind of a "wow" factor to it though I don't exactly understand why it should be any more exciting to know a book is being read in Australia than Indianapolis.

I've always felt a little guilty that I wasn't more committed to my poor books once they were complete instead of leaving them to languish and letting the chips fall where they may.

Maybe this new development with get me more interested in paying attention to the after-life of my novels. They deserve better than being ignored after their birth.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Purple Rain is Playing in my Head

                                              Image result for prince

I think Purple Rain will be playing in my head on a continuous loop for oh, about the next year! It is there right now, playing in the background - "Purple Rain, Purple Rain...."  It was there when I went to bed last night. I noticed myself stirring the gravy to its rhythm this morning, fat old hips swaying in tune.

There are artists of every stripe in our world - painters, musicians, writers, poets. They all deserve a little credit although they may have touched our lives only slightly and barely rate the title. (I consider myself in that light). Some are mediocre. Some are good. Some are great and some are sublime...and Prince was one of those.

In a time when poor black boys so frequently fell by the wayside of drugs and gangs, Prince didn't just crawl out of the ghetto, he blasted out with the force of a rocket, leaving a trail of stardust for others to follow.

In a time when poor black boys were so anxious for a way out, they were willing to sign their lives over to a publishing or recording company, Prince did that too....until he marshaled his forces and through sheer talent and courage and determination, forced Warner Brothers to back down and sign a contract written exactly the way he wanted it written, even if he had to change his name to a symbol to do it.

In a time when poor black boys were expected to be non-threatening, leaving the bawdy hip-shaking to "safer" white musicians like Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis, Prince oozed sensuality. He was sex personified in both his lyrics and his movements. He was in-your-face about it. "Fuck you if you don't like it." And we liked it even if Tipper Gore and the Parent's Resource Council didn't, putting him at the top of their list of unacceptable dirty boys.

He was so hot, he was cool, rocketing past all the conventional norms. He wore mascara and lace but none of us women were fooled. We knew a man when we saw one.

He forced us out of our musical comfort zones.

"Think you don't like rap? Think you don't like hip-hop? Think you don't like disco? Whatever it is you think you don't like, listen to this and I'll change your mind."

He was an outlaw but he didn't spray bullets just to make noise. He was so in control of his environment that every shot hit the bullseye whether that was in arrangement of his music or perfecting his brand or helping young musicians find their voice and their confidence in themselves.

He gave millions to charity but he didn't talk about it. He was never involved in any scandal that I ever heard about. He was a consummate showman but he kept his private life private. He never "went Hollywood" but stayed in Minneapolis and supported his own community. He'd told his family that when he died he wanted "no drama" and so it was.....just the family at a private ceremony and cremation.

His Super Bowl half-time show was indicative of who he was. When others would have canceled because of the pouring rain, he said, "can you make it rain harder?" And so he played in the drenching downpour and gave the best half-time show ever.

He was that rarest of humans - the Artist Sublime.

Rest in peace, Beautiful Man.