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.


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.


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.


$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.

Review: American Anarchist

A week ago, Darling Hubby and I watched American Anarchist on Netflix. (You can also find it on Amazon.)

I think just about everyone has heard of this infamous book, but you may not know the author.

William Powell was nineteen years old and obviously rebelling against parental authority--all authority in fact, as many young people did in the 1960's.

American Anarchist is about Powell, the author of The Anarchist's Cookbook which has been used by those who have committed horrendous acts of terrorism.

Compelling Documentary

The documentary is compelling as Charlie Siskel, the writer and director (and the nephew of the late film critic Gene Siskel), unfolds the narrative with photos from the counterculture period of the late 60's and early 70's and interviews with Powell and his wife of many years.

First Thing That Struck Me

Two things struck me about this film. The first was Mr. Powell's insistence that he was ignorant of all that had been done, using his  infamous book, which he had compiled mostly from free booklets obtained from the Government Printing Office.

Ironically, Mr. Powell had become a teacher, serving in third world countries where he and his wife tried to make a difference. They were both well-respected as educators and as people. Until a fateful day when the officials who ran the school where he was currently employed were notified of his connection to a book that had figured prominently in terrorist bombings.

In all the years since The Anarchist Cookbook was published in 1971, the Powells claim they knew nothing about its connection to the bombing atrocities. I suppose that could be true since they lived abroad for decades and didn't own a television, they said.

I believe they wanted to be like an ostrich with its head stuck in the sand--oblivious and ignorant--because the alternative was soul-crushing to a man and woman who had devoted their lives to teaching young people.

Second Thing That Struck Me

When I watch a documentary, I'm expecting an insightful story, presented fairly, about a particular subject. I'm not expecting an example of hard-nosed investigative reporting, but that's what this film seemed to be.

Charlie Siskel, the writer and director, seemed determined to make William Powell admit his sins. He kept throwing statistics about various atrocities at Powell. In today's world of video journalism where interview subjects are slapped in the face with "how does that make you feel," Siskel seemed intent on making Powell take responsibility for each and every single maiming and killing.

Would it have been better if that book had never been published? Maybe. Who is to say? The information was already out there. Anyone could have ordered the pamphlet from the Government Printing Office. My goodness, the blueprints for the atomic bomb were once available for free to the public also. (I don't know if that's still true--probably is.)

Takeaway Truth

 I found the documentary interesting and...sad. I felt sorry for Powell who did a stupid, rash thing when he was an unhappy, rebellious kid.

He grew up to be a good person, but everything good that he did in life will always be overshadowed by that horrible book.

Is it any wonder he died suddenly, a year after the documentary was completed?

Get Ready for Amazon Prime Day

I hope you have your Amazon Wish List populated because Amazon Prime Day starts tonight at 9pm Eastern.

I like to take advantage of Prime Day to buy some Christmas and birthday gifts. When I've added the items I want to my Wish List, I can go to my Wish List as soon as Prime Day starts, add to cart, and checkout fast. That way I don't end up with things already sold out.

If you're not familiar with Amazon Prime Day, here's an Insider's Guide to help you out.

If you go to the Insider's Guide link, you can click to start a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime so you too can take advantage of the great deals. There's even a link to get a 6-month free trial. You can also find out ways to get notified of the best deals.

There's a wealth of information in the Insider's Guide so you can even have a portion of your purchases go to the charity of your choice.

Now, I've got to go and update my Prime Day Wish List that I set up just for the event.

Takeaway Truth

Seriously, I've found some amazing deals on Amazon Prime Day in the past, and I think you will too.

Change: The Only Constant

I'm trying to be the warrior, not the worrier.
There are some unsettling changes going on in my life. Like most humans on this planet, I don't like change. I've decided that's because too many of the changes I've experienced aren't for the better.

I looked up some online articles about how to survive change--as if I'm a novice in the change department. Most of them basically say to re-frame the way one looks at change or to celebrate what's new and good in the change.

Yeah, well, I'm working on it. (If this were a line of dialogue, I'd be forced to write it this way. "Yeah, well, I'm working on it," she grumbled.)

So I looked at some inspiring quotes. I made a list. I think I'll read and then write a quotation about 10 times every day until it soaks into my subconscious. Then when I'm upset, I can't repeat it like a little parrot to myself.

Let me share some of them with you.

I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. ~ Jimmy Dean

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. ~ Maya Angelou

Change your thoughts and you change your world. ~ Norman Vincent Peale

Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays. ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. ~ Stephen Hawking

We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the game. ~ Randy Pausch

Takeaway Truth

Change comes whether we want it or not so we might as well learn how to deal with it. I'm working on it. I truly am.

3 Pages Your Website Must Have

A website doesn't have to be huge and complex. It can be small and simple.

However, every website, no matter how small or large, must have these 3 pages.

If you start your website with these 3 pages, you can add more later.

If you fail to have these 3 pages, it's going to put a serious crimp in your ability to build an audience for your blog or website--as well as for your product whether that's a book or another kind of physical product. 

Here are the "must have" 3 pages.

About You Page

Always include a page that tells about you, the website owner. Give a short bio. Give credentials that establish your expertise as an author, a plumber, or whatever you may be. Include a photograph. Readers like to know what you look like.

Contact the Author Page
Get your duckies in a row.

Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to contact a blog or website owner and not finding a way to do so.

I've literally spent dozens of minutes searching a blog for an email address or a Contact Form. Always have a way for a reader to contact you other than by public comment on a post. That's just professional etiquette.

List of What You Offer Page

If you're an author, you should have a picture of each of your book covers, a short blurb, and all buy links for that book.

If you don't, you're losing a valuable marketing tool that could be working for you.

That's it! The above along with a short Introduction to the website gives you a simple, DIY site. You'll have a static website that works for you.

Takeaway Truth

When you want to have a more elaborate site, add anything your fan base would like to know about you and a page or two of entertaining content that readers, not writers, will find intriguing.

Or, just save that stuff for a blog you post to frequently.

On the Rebound: June Posts

Back up! Read posts missed in June.
I can hardly believe the first half of the year is over. I've heard that protest from many people this past week.

I've said it far too many times. I'm sure Darling Hubby is sick of hearing me bemoan all the things I didn't get done.

In June, there were a lot of good posts--on SlingWords and other blogs I read.

June was crazy busy. I Just didn't have an opportunity to read much nor did I have the chance to pass along links through social media of the posts I'd bookmarked.

So let's back up and take advantage of the great information offered by blogs. Here are links to some really good posts you should read. Warning: there are quite a few links here.

On The Rebound

Don't Advertise With Amazon Until You've Read This by Nicholas Rossi.

Review: Kindlepreneur's Free AMS Tutorial and KDP Rocket

A Book Takes As Long As It Takes

7 Ways to Build an Email List for a New Ebook

If Only I’d Known: Be Passionate by Anna Lores

Writers Reading Vs. Readers Reading

How to Customize Banner Image on Blogger

If Only I’d Known: Change is the Only Constant by Loretta Wheeler

If Only I’d Known: Write What You DON'T Know by Elaine Raco Chase

If Only I’d Known: The Value of Networking by Caroline Clemmons

Goal: Be Sticky - Make Your Website Attract Readers

Creating Romantic Conflict by Patricia Rosemoor

3 Simple Rules About Contracts

Handbags Through History by Carra Copelin

How Many Words Make You Salable

TechTalk: Alphie

Why Book Trends Come and Go

Amazon Has a Fake Book Problem by David Gaughran

Indispensable Tool: Character and Space Counter

Takeaway Truth

There's a lot of knowledge available on the Internet. It's easy to miss a great post. Check these out. You will be glad you did.

New Release: Blame It On Chocolate

Back in February, I wrote a funny short story romance called Blame It On Chocolate.

The ending just didn't come together the way I wanted it so I set it aside. Every now and then I'd think about it, but I just let the story rest. I figured the right ending would eventually rise to the surface.

Finally, it did. Sometimes you jjust have to be patient with a piece of writing. So I finished the story--again--and published it over the weekend.

Blame It On Chocolate

A Moment in Time is all it takes for Love to be revealed.

Chloe Elliot was the good girl. She’d never been a hell-raiser. Never gotten drunk, used drugs, smoked pot, or slept around. She didn’t even curse! Since her dad was the son of a minister and the oft-elected mayor, and her mom was the elementary school principal, she'd had no choice but to live a life above reproach. Truthfully, it really hadn’t been that difficult.

Until Hunter Cole returned to his home town.

That was the beginning of Chloe's fall from good girl status. There was just something about the man that addled her brain and created havoc in her body.

Hunter Cole reckoned he had the best of all possible worlds. He'd played for the NFL, and even thought two back surgeries had ended that career, he was lucky enough to follow in his dad's footsteps and work the family ranch and also follow his granddad's path and be the sheriff in his west Texas town. Life was perfect.

Until he dropped by the library to say hello to his best friend's little sister.

Chloe wasn't so little any more. In fact, just looking at her made his common sense evaporate. She affected him like no other woman--and he'd had women throwing themselves at him since he was a high school quarterback!

If he made a move on her, her brother would nail his hide to the wall. There was only one thing he could do, but did he really want to do that? The thought of it made his bachelor heart shudder with alarm.

Get Blame It On Chocolate for only 99cents, and enjoy!

Takeaway Truth

Do me a favor. If you like Blame It On Chocolate, please leave a short review on its Amazon.

A Writer's Goal

We're half way through this new year so it's a good time to ask: "Do you set goals?"

If the answer is yes, then do an assessment to see if you're well on the way to achieving those goals.

If the answer is no, then it's a good time to see if setting goals will help you during the last half of 2017.

Even those who don't set goals actually have some goal in mind. They just don't have it written down. So let's make a road map made on how to get there.

Writers and Goal Setting

For writers, the goal is usually get the damn book written. Okay, you get it from your brain to paper. Now what? If you start with traditional publishing, you try to place it with an agent, sometimes directly with a publisher.

For indie authors, you publish it and hope it sells.

Next goal? Write another book. Full speed ahead. Next goal? Write another. And so on and so on.

Writing another book should always be your number 1 goal. Not marketing, social media, and all the other hoops we jump through.

Authors lose sight of this important fact. To sell more books, write more books.

Takeaway Truth

Always remember your number 1 goal is to write the book--then repeat the process.

Happy Independence Day

Celebrate and give thanks!

Takeaway Truth

"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave." ~ Elmer Davis