Review: Season 2, Witnesses, Netflix Original from France

Witnesses (Les-Témoins) is a French television police procedural drama by Marc Herpoux and Hervé Hadmar. It's also a Netflix production.

Sub-Titles? Not a Problem

I've found when you watch a gripping film, you don't even realize you're reading sub-titles!

If you watch a lot of foreign television series and movies, as Darling Hubby and I do, you may be familiar with the term Scandi-noir or Nordic-noir.

This refers to the television and film from the Scandinavian countries, most of which are extremely imaginative and creepy. I call it film noir on steroids.

Witnesses, Season 2

Season 2 of Witnesses finally joined Season 1 as a Netflix offering. Darling Hubby and I had seen Season 1 and were hooked. The series opened with a gripping scene in a real estate for sale house. That's all I'll say in case you haven't seen it yet.

Season 2 opens with an equally compelling, creepy scene in a bus. Again, no spoilers. That begins a journey through the twisted mind of a serial killer, his willing accomplice, and a psychopath who inspired it all. Creepy doesn't begin to describe this story line.

Don't Star Watching Late At Night

We started watching late yesterday when we returned from a party. We ended up binge-watching the entire season 2. We didn't turn the TV off until the wee hours of the morning. We just had to see what would happen next.

Yes, we're idiots. I'm so tired as I write this that I could fall asleep in my chair.

I must tell you that I hated the ending. It made me angry--with the exception of someone who got saved which I had not expected. The ending just seemed to come out of left field even though, in all fairness, the viewer was led to it by a breadcrumb dropped here and there.

Will that ending keep me from watching Season 3 should they make it? No. Here's why.

Great Acting, Compelling Plots

The main character Detective Sandra Winckler is believable. The thing I truly like about European productions is that they don't glam up the actors. The cast look like real people who could be hardworking homicide cops like Sandra.

She's a single mother trying to balance parental duties with homicide investigations. She has 2 kids, one of whom is a mouthy tween, an ex who wants more time with the kids, and a libido that occasionally reminds her she's still a sexual being. Marie Dompnier portrays Sandra perfectly.

Her partner Justin is portrayed by Jan Hammenecker. He's irascible and always arguing with her about her theories, but when push comes to shove, he's a rock for her.

Catherine Mouchet is Maxine Dubreuil, the woman who runs their division and holds everything together. She takes all the heat from the higher-ups and tries her best to protect her detectives.

Prominently in Season 2 is Audrey Fleurot as Catherine Keemer in the "ripped from the headlines" story that propels this season. There were times when I shouted at the screen: "You're too stupid to live," when Catherine did something stupid that reminded me of the woman who goes into the basement where the sadistic killer is hiding. Then there were other times when she did something gutsy and totally believable in keeping with her character.

The same can be said of Detective Sandra Winckler. Sometimes I felt she fell into the TSTL category. Too Stupid To Live, but she always redeemed herself.

Takeaway Truth

If you're looking for a thriller that's different from American fare, definitely watch Witnesses.

Witticisms About Writing

I'm going to a birthday party today and plan to eat, drink, and be merry.

So I thought I'd share some merriment with you in the form of funny things authors say.

Enjoy!

I wrote a few children's books. Not on purpose. ~ Steven Wright

If Moses were alive today he’d come down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments and spend the next five years trying to get them published. ~ Anonymous

The road to hell is paved with adverbs. ~ Stephen King

Writing is so difficult that I often feel that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape all punishment thereafter. ~ Jessamyn West

Unless a reviewer has the courage to give you unqualified praise, I say ignore the bastard. ~ John Steinbeck

Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs. ~ Christopher Hampton

Writing is a socially acceptable form of getting naked in public. ~ Paulo Coelho

It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous. ~ Robert Benchley

Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the other one. ~ Baltasar Gracián

Takeaway Truth

What are your favorite funny quotes about writing?

Cast The Movie: JANE (I'm Still Single) JONES

Let's play one of my favorite games: Cast The Movie. Do you play this game when you're reading a book that's totally entrancing? I do.

I also like to play Cast The Movie when I'm writing a book so I'll play with JANE (I’m Still Single) JONES, the romantic comedy that just went into Kindle Unlimited.

Yes, you can now read this romantic comedy bestseller for free! Don't worry, if you're not a KU subscriber, you can still get the book for only $3.99.

JANE, as I fondly call this romance, is a WhisperSync title so that means you can get the Audio Edition for a very low price. The book is also available in print if you prefer paper.

One of my favorite reviews for this romantic comedy said: "If you like Sweet Home Alabama, you'll love JANE (I’m Still Single) JONES."

About JANE (I'm Still Single) JONES

A billionaire, a beauty queen, a movie star--just a high school reunion, not a Gilligan's Island rerun!

What could be worse for a former high school beauty queen, who never landed the only man she ever loved, than attending--alone--her 10-year high school reunion? Not much, thinks Jane Louise Jones, resigned to spending the weekend in her hometown, just south of nowhere in the rolling hills of Louisiana.

Assured by her BFF that Morgan Sherwood, former high school geek, now a wealthy computer magnate, won’t be at the reunion, Jane is horrified when Morgan, once her secret love who broke her heart before leaving town, shows up with his entourage. He's not a geeky kid any more. He's six feet of tanned, rippling muscles, and he plans to focus his high-powered brain and use every masculine charm he possesses to seduce the lovely Miss Jones.

With a former classmate who wants to claim him as husband number four, a Hollywood starlet who shows up to party with him, and an old boyfriend intent on stealing Jane's affection, Morgan has more obstacles than he'd expected. Throw in the blue-haired matchmaking Vernon Ladies Bridge Club, lots of southern charm, and a ten-year old betrayal, and you have all the ingredients for a sexy romantic comedy. Will Jane and Morgan get it right this time?

Casting the Characters

The heroine is textile designer JANE LOUISE JONES. I choose Kaley Cuoco for this role. Of course, she'd need red hair. Or not.

Characters' looks are often changed in a movie adapted from the book.

What do you think of this practice? Have you had a favorite book made into a movie where they totally changed the main character's appearance?

The hero is billionaire MORGAN SHERWOOD. I think Ian Somerhalder would be perfect in this role.

Jane's BFF is AMBER CHALMERS. I'd love to see Mahandra Dalfino in this role.

Morgan's best friend is former Secret Service agent SOCRATES BERKLEY who has retreated from life after the death of his fiance. I think Anthony Mackie would be good in this role or maybe Noel Clarke.

Other Cast Members

PENNY TRAN: Late 20s, Morgan’s executive assistant, Vietnamese-American, single, Harvard MBA, very urban attitude. I like Elly Tran for Penny.

CARLOS DOMINGUEZ: Mid 20s, Morgan’s latest Harvard protégé, single. Let's see Diego Boneta as Carlos.

WES JONES: Late 50s, Jane’s father, long-time town sheriff. Definitely Bruce Campbell!

BRENDA JONES: Late 50s, Jane’s mother, homemaker, former flower child who married the establishment in the form of her law enforcement husband. Annette O’Toole be perfect.

JASON LOMBARDO: Late 20s, Jane’s former high school boyfriend who is manipulative and deceitful. I like Stephen Amell for this role.

GRANNY J: Early 70s, Jane’s paternal grandmother, no-nonsense with a wicked sense of humor. Cybil Shepherd would be perfect.

MISS MAMIE: Mid to late 80s, drives an ancient tail-fin Cadillac even though her license was revoked. She's the town matriarch and leader of the Vernon Ladies Bridge Club—where no one plays bridge. I've always thought Betty White would be ideal.

OTHER ROLES to be Cast: Steve Chalmers, Amber’s husband; Felicia Banks, high school friend who is a multi-married and divorced fitness diva; Verna Wright, high school friend with a career as a backup singer; Serena Maria Estevez, Hollywood starlet.

Takeaway Truth

Many readers have told me that JANE (I’m Still Single) JONES should be a movie.

That would be amazing. You can find this book on audio. Leah Frederick, the narrator, does a great job of bringing it to life in all its southern charm.

Starfish Writers Conference: Registration Open

The 2017 Starfish Writers Conference, hosted by the Houston Bay Area Chapter of Romance Writers of America is now open for registration.

Conference Details

The conference runs from Friday, September 22 through Saturday, September 23, 2017. There will be Raffle Baskets and door prices.

Location: South Shore Harbour Resort, 2500 South Shore Blvd., League City, Texas 77573. This is just a short hop south of Houston.

Times: Friday, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Agenda

Friday evening is a poolside gathering featuring Melinda VanLone, owner of Book Cover Corner with a cash bar.

Saturday morning kicks off with a light breakfast, followed by workshops with Tracy Brogan, Amazon and Wall Street Journal bestseller.

A full lunch will be served at mid-day.

Cost

$50.00 for  Houston Bay Area RWA Members.

$75.00 for Non-members

No refunds will be given after September 7, 2017

To check out the workshops, click here.

To register online, click here.


Takeaway Truth

This writers conference is a good one. Plan on attending.

14 Agent Questions to Ask

For those authors seeking literary agents, here's a list of questions to ask prospective agents.

Things A Writer Must Always Remember

When shopping for representation, an author is actually screening applicants for a job.

The author is the Employer seeking to hire an Employee, a literary agent to work FOR HER/HIM.

This is a business. Never forget that. Be business-like. Ask the right questions.

At the very least, here are some basic questions a writer needs a prospective agent to answer when an offer of representation is on the table.

14 Important Questions

1. Does the agent maintain separate escrow or trust accounts for client funds?

2. Does the agent have a separate signatory for the client account in case of death or incapacitation?

3. How do you get your money if the agent is incapacitated or dies?

4. Does the agent have a surety bond?

5. Does the agent maintain some sort of error, omission or fidelity insurance?

6. Is the agent a member of RWA or other professional organizations? If so, check with that organization to see if there are any comments or complaints against the agent.

7. Does the agent offer a written contract?

8. Does the agent also package books?

9. Does the agent also write books? Is there anyway this could be a conflict of interest for you?

10. If you ever have to return an advance, does the agent forfeit the commission?

11. What fees are charged? Courier, copying, telephone, postage, flat "Office Expense" fee, etc.?

12. Are you sent an accounting? If so, how often?

13. Does the agent send a year-end statement of activity or some other kind of report?

14. How can the agent be terminated if he/she doesn't work out?

Takeaway Truth

Read these questions carefully. If you don't know what some of these things mean, look them up.

Educate yourself. This is a business, not just a creative pursuit.

Getting Rid of Weeds the Natural Way

This picture to the left isn't my house--thank God! I'm using it to show how weeds can get a toe-hold and take over your yard before you can say Roundup!

Actually, this post is a short lesson in controlling weeds without using the dangerous chemical Roundup, now implicated in autism and auto-immune diseases.

I'm talking weeds because it's Saturday, and I'm at my house in the country tackling this weedy issue.

Vinegar, Believe It!

The best time to kill weeds is when your lawn has grown dormant in winter. Otherwise, you have to be careful not to get this vinegar solution on your jewel-green grass or other plants.

Plain old vinegar is a natural herbicide that kills with exceptional speed. Here's what you do.

1. Add vinegar (white is probably cheapest) and a squirt of liquid dish soap to a spray bottle. The dish soap helps the mixture stick to plants.

2. Spray a few times over each weed or several times over weed patches.

3. Remember, like a chemical herbicide, this is a non-selective mixture. That means it will kill any green growing thing it gets on.

That's it. If it rains or the sprinklers wet the sprayed weeds, repeat the spraying.

Takeaway Truth

Natural ways often work as well as the chemical.

Must See YouTube Videos

I really do love my job--especially the sharing part. I get to read, write, watch videos, and so many other things.

Then I tell you all about what I've done. Love the sharing!

This week, I'm sharing some fascinating videos I think you'll find interesting.

The Rice Video: Carbon Dioxide by The Galileo Movement
(global warming myth or fact)

How to Draw Cartoon People by DrawStuffREalEasy

Quadriplegic Drives 2016 Z0 Camaro by Jay Leno's Garage

10 Most Unforgettable Singing Auditions

How to Use Gimp, Beginner's Guide

Top 10 Life Hacks with Vinegar

The REAL Reason Apple Cider Vinegar Works for Losing Weight

30 Movies That Are Going To Blow Everyone Away In 2017

Takeaway Truth

YouTube is one of my favorite sites for entertainment and education. You can find videos on everything from taking off a Cessna to making an apple pie.