Facebook Sharing Connundrum

Have you read the new policies on Facebook?

If you're like me and have a profile page and a "readers fan" page or other special interest page, you're probably scratching your head in confusion.

On one hand, Facebook is telling you to post to your network about yourself, your life, etc. For writers, that means, we'd be posting about our daily lives.

But that apparently  is forbidden because we'd be talking about writing our books, reading, publishing, and the pain of promotion, etc. because our lives revolve around all that.

Facebook considers all of that commercialism. That means if we put that on our timeline, our posts might not reach anyone but a fraction of our followers. FB seems to be saying they will censor what goes out from us.

Same thing with our fan pages I guess because it's hard to separate our writing and our personal lives. They always overlap. Yet, I get emails from Facebook every day telling me my followers haven't heard from me in a while or asking me to boost my posts on my fan page.

So what are we supposed to say when books are our worlds and overlap into our personal lives? I'm pretty sure no one wants to know how many cups of coffee I had this morning (2 and I'm going to make some more in a minute) or what I'm wearing (still in my pajamas since Darling Hubby left early to go to the country.)

Facebook is trying to get people to network more, like they did back in the day before they started selling our private information so they could rake in even more money. *LOL*

I still think Facebook is a good place to pass along information about good books you've read, blogposts you love, information you've found, music that speaks to you, and videos that are fun. So go ahead and do that.
Just ignore the hoopla & focus on writing.

What you share may be exactly what someone needs to give their day a lift or make them smile or tell them about a book they'll want to read.

If your followers LIKE, COMMENT, and then SHARE your post, FB will expose your post to a wider audience according to what I read.

Of course, if you do all that, on every post you read, you'll spend a lot of time, and time is a scarce commodity for writers—for just about everyone in fact.

Takeaway Truth

There's a fine line between judicious social media use and a giant time suck. See if you can find the balance you need.

Cruise America's Rivers

I want a relaxing vacation where I don't have to lift a finger and can sleep all day if I wish. I was thinking of another cruise.

Maybe a river cruise, but I didn't want the long flight and expense to get to the European port not to mention the rather pricey river cruises there.

I heard about American riverboat cruises and looked them up. Wow. I was surprised.

If you like to cruise and you've been on all of ships plying the Caribbean, Mexican coast, and the glaciers, maybe you're looking for something a little different too.

American Riverboat Cruises

I've never thought about cruising America's rivers and bays nor have I spoken to anyone who has. American Cruise Lines cruise all of America's well-known waterways from east to west. You can do the glacier thing too if you like that.

With 12 ships and a wide selection of dates and destinations, chances are you can get a great river cruise vacation for a good price and without the higher airfare expense of traveling to Europe.
Yes! They're paddlewheelers! Amazing.

Their ships are the newest and most environmentally friendly small cruise ships and riverboats in America.

They say that "attentive and personalized service is the hallmark" of their cruise line, and they offer "exquisite cuisine from highly trained chefs" with locally sourced ingredients.

From what I read online, they offer complimentary experiences like evening cocktail hours, pre-cruise hotel stays, and exciting shore excursions on select cruises.

Private balconies have sliding glass doors to spacious private balconies with panoramic river views from every angle, daily entertainment, a large selection of staterooms, and their ships are American built, flagged, and crewed.

With 35 cruise itineraries, they visit 28 states in America. The final deciding factor? They have free WiFi.

Have you taken one of these American Cruise Lines vacations? Leave a comment if you have or you'd like to.

Takeaway Truth

By the way, this is not a paid endorsement, but something I checked into and am adding to our vacation wish list. However, I wouldn't be opposed to getting a free trip to try out a riverboat cruise! *LOL*

Give Me One Reason: 3 Ways to Hook Readers

Remember the song by Tracy Chapman, Give Me One Reason To Stay Here?

I think of that song when I'm writing book promotion copy.

In the song, Chapman sings that she'll turn right back around if she just has 1 reason to stay.

Now, think about your Product Description on your Amazon book page. Is that first sentence a reason for the visitor to stay there?

In the song, Chapman wants one reason. On your book webpage, you better have more than one reason, or the book browser will exit and move on to the next book.

Always make sure everything on your book's webpage is a reason to stay there, reading it all, checking out the reviews, checking the price, and finally clicking BUY.

What makes a reader stay on the page?

3 Ways to Hook the Reader

1. Create excitement about your book.

Does the first sentence make you read the second? Does the second make you read the third, and so on? If it's boring, poorly written, grammatically incorrect, contains misspelled words, or its confusing and muddled, you'll lose the potential buyer.

2. Tell the reader what kind of book it is.

Don't be wishy washy and try to make the book sound as if it appeals to every reader or to romance and women's fiction readers or mystery and romance readers, or any combination thereof. That won't work.

You'll lose romance readers because they'll think the book is too much women's fiction. You'll lose women's fiction readers because they don't want that romance stuff. There's a reason traditional publishers always labeled every book specifically.

That's so readers could find the book in stores. Romance readers knew to go to the romance section. Mystery readers went straight to the mystery section. The only authors who successfully wrote mixed genre books were talents like Dean Koontz.

Remember, Amazon is just a giant bookstore. Romance readers want to find a romance easily. They don't want to guess whether it's a real romance or not.

3. Use a marketing hook, like a trope, when writing the book.

A trope is a common literary device or motif that is universally popular with readers.

Start thinking about what kind of marketing hook, or trope, you can use before you write the book.

When using a trope, be sure to emphasize the trope in the product description and use it as a keyword especially in your marketing copy.

Here's a short list of the most popular romance tropes. There are many others.

* runaway bride
* secret baby
* ugly duckling
* amnesia
* debt of honor
* Cinderella
* evil twin
* love at first sight
* bad cop
* ripped from the headlines
* woman in jeopardy
* marriage of convenience.

Other than the 3 marketing hooks above, the rest is more or less a guessing game because there's no consistent evidence about ROI.

Authors roll the dice and try these marketing protocols with varying success.

* Give away copies in the hope of getting good reviews. Unfortunately, readers hardly ever leave reviews for various reasons. Also unfortunately, good reviews don't translate into good sales.

* Buy ads on websites and newsletters with lots of dedicated genre readers. The ads that work are usually very expensive. You can easily drop almost a grand on BookBub.

* Blog about a book. If you write an entertaining post that hits the reader's imagination, this actually can pay off by gaining you a reader for your posts.

Chances are if your posts are found interesting, readers will keep reading you. Soon they'll experience the "I know that author" feeling and are more apt to give one of your books a chance.

Takeaway Truth

Consistently use the 3 Marketing Hooks listed. Using a trope wisely and well is a good way to gain readers for your brand.

Best Advice for Fathers: If by Kipling

Happy Father's Day.

If you're looking for advice on how to be a man of integrity, look no further than today's "guest" post.

Actually, my guest author died many years ago. His works are now in public domain.

I'm quoting one of my favorite poems, If by Rudyard Kipling.

This inspirational poem was first published in 1909 in his collection, Rewards and Fairies.

The poem has been quoted often, and some of the lines are inscribed on buildings, like over the players' entrance at Wimbledon.

Lines from it often appear in pop culture today, like a password used in the 2015 movie, Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation, a song performed by Joni Mitchell on her 2007 album Shine, a video tribute to Boston Red Sox retiring player David Ortiz, and so many more.

If is inspirational—one might say it's rules for being a grown-up or a blueprint for integrity.

If by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master,
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Takeaway Truth

If and other works by Kipling are in public domain and can be found in Public Domain Poetry.

Little Known Achievements By Women

I had to take a calming breath before writing this!
Over lunch, my husband told me he heard a man on TV commenting about the recent women's soccer team victory.

Darling Hubby shook his head in disgust and told me what the [profane noun deleted] man said.

It went something like this, "Face it. An average 15-year-old boys' soccer team could beat them."

Misogyny Is Alive & Well

Do you know the precise definition of misogyny? It's the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against women or girls.

Misogyny manifests in many ways: social exclusion, sex discrimination, hostility, male privilege, belittling of women, disenfranchisement of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification.

The male talking head mentioned above certainly fits that definition. I won't go into the emotional and psychological reasons some men are misogynists. I'm not a shrink. I'm just a woman who recognizes a misogynist when one rears his arrogant, entitled head.

Women shouldn't have their achievements denigrated any more than men should have theirs belittled. Yet, women have often seen their triumphs ignored.

Little Known Achievements By Women

These are just a few of the many achievements by women that may surprise you.

A team of six women programmed the first digital computer. The female mathematicians participated in a World War II program coding instructions into what was then a revolutionary machine: the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer better known as ENIAC.

Mary Anderson invented the windshield wiper for automobiles in 1903. By 1916, windshield wipers were standard equipment on all cars.

The two highest IQ scores ever recorded were from women. Standardized testing changed the commonly-held belief that women were intellectually inferior to men.

The top score came from Marilyn vos Savant, an author and columnist. To this day, she is the Guinness World Record holder for highest IQ.

Margaret Heafield was the director of software engineering for NASA’s Apollo space program.
She wrote the mathematical sequence that enabled the Apollo mission to be successful. She was so good at what she did, NASA had her double check equations done by computers.

Eliza Zamfirescu was the world’s first female engineer. After being rejected in her home country of Romania due to prevailing misogyny at the time, she attended and graduated from the Royal Academy of Technology Berlin in 1912.

American chemist Stephanie Kwolek invented Kevlar, the material used in most bulletproof vests and body armor. In 1995, she became the fourth woman to be inducted into the National Inventors Hall Of Fame. Only 4 women out of so many female inventors!

Katharine Blodgett, the first female engineer at General Electric's research laboratory, invented the process of making non-glare glass in the 1930's by discovering how to transfer mono-molecular coatings onto glass. Her discovery was used to improve cameras, cinematography lenses, eyeglasses, and military periscopes.

Takeaway Truth

The story of women's achievements is often the story of fighting for the right to participate and overcoming the barriers placed in front of women.

Summer Playlist: Happy Songs

Summer is here, and that means road trips if you live in Texas—or you just like taking summer vacations by car.

We've been waltzing across Texas since last week. We've listened to audiobooks and lots of music from singers entertaining at the wineries and restaurants to the playlists I put together for drive time.

Everything is grist for my writer's imagination. I'll probably listen to this playlist as I'm writing my next book.

Summer Music

Here are 18 songs that are perfect for summer road trips. They're songs the entire family can sing along and seat dance.

This playlist is heavy on the 80's hits because Darling Hubby and I watching Stranger Things 1 and 2 again before we left.

We're prepped for Stranger Things 3 which hits Netflix on July 4. We can hardly wait!!

(If you don't subscribe to Netflix, Stranger Things is a very good reason to start!)

Back to Summer Music

Anyway, back to music. These tunes will make you whistle, sing along, snap your fingers, and generally feel good all over.

I'm giving the Amazon link to each song so you can easily click to listen to each one.

Many of these are in albums, but you can usually buy just the individual song on Amazon or from iTunes. (I think Kokomo is the exception. It only comes on an album on Amazon.)

Many of these are on Amazon Prime music so they're free to listen to if you're a Prime member so make a playlist.

If you're car is equipped with the latest tech, you can play any Amazon Prime playlist you create merely by having the Prime Music app on your phone.

Just connect your phone via Bluetooth. (Data charges may apply depending on your plan.)

1. In the Summertime by Mungo Jerry, 1970. I've loved this song since I was a kid. It just makes you want to dance and move with the beat.

2. California Girls by The Beach Boys, 1965. Still a cute, fun song.

3. Summer Breeze by Seals and Crofts, 1972. Smooth and laid back like you feel after a frozen margarita.

4. Summertime Blues by Eddie Cochran, 1958. A real oldie but it's a goodie if you ever had to work in the summer.

5. All Summer Long by Kid Rock, 2007. Country rock with music that's very reminiscent of Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon.

6. Soak Up the Sun by Sheryl Crow, 2002. Hope you get to soak up some sun too.

7. Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini by Brian Hyland,1960. I like the French version, Itsy Bitsy Petit Bikini sung by Richard Anthony on the original soundtrack for the movie A Good Year.

8. Endless Summer Nights by Richard Marx, 1987. Solid beat for a good "singing" song from the 80's.

9. Shout by Tears For Fears, 1985. Another solid beat "singing" song.

10. Hot Stuff and Bad Girls by Donna Summers, 1979. If you look up sultry disco in the dictionary, you should see a picture of Donna Summers. Both songs just a guilty kareoke pleasure

11. I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eye Peas, 2009. Everybody sing!

12. Macarena by Los Del Rio, Bayside Boys Remix, 1996. I don't think I've ever been to a wedding reception in Texas where we didn't dance to Macarena.

13. One of These Nights by The Eagles, 1975. I have every song The Eagles ever recorded—in vinyl and digital. Best band of all time.

14. I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston, 1987. Great chorus that's an anthem! Great "singing" song.

15. Honky Tonk Women by The Rolling Stones, 1969. Got to have some Jagger in the playlist.

16. Bye Bye Bye by Nsync, 2000. Aw, come on. Who doesn't love this song?

17. I Love Rock N Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, 1982. You hear this and you have to move your feet, hips, or another part of your anatomy.

18. Kokomo by The Beach Boys, 1988. Makes me want to jump on a cruise ship and go to Kokomo.

Takeaway Truth

I love summer music!

Wending Our Way Home

Does anyone ever say "wending" in today's world?

It's a perfectly good word with a specific meaning.

Here's how the dictionary defines wending: "Go in a specified direction, typically slowly or by an indirect route."

Meander is a good synonym for wending, but it doesn't have the panache of wending.

We're heading home—meandering all over the place to see whatever strikes our fancy. Thus, I choose to say we're wending our way home.

Takeaway Truth

Adopt the word wending. Use it in a sentence or in your writing.

West Texas Dust

Image by amazingsdj from Pixabay
We've had an interesting trip so far—interesting in that it hasn't turned out as we expected.

However, it's been greatly beneficial for writing. I made notes along the way that will help with story settings. 

Fredericksburg and the Wine Trail were a delight. I'll blog about that another day.

The unexpected began with the dust storm we drove into as we approached Midland.

We'd noticed how the wind grew stronger with every hour that passed.

We drove on, passing prickly pear cactus and billboards advertising "fresh water" and crushed caliche (that's kuh-lee-chee), used on many county roads in Texas instead of gravel.

Up ahead on the horizon, the sky began to turn a pinkish beige. The beige color gradually overtook the blue until blue bracketed the extreme right and left sides of the sky. Wind began blowing sand and dirt from one side of the road to the other.
Sunny day in West Texas. Image: Laura Upshaw, Pixabay

Since we'd lived in the oil patch years ago, we knew what was happening. A dust storm.

Dreaded Dust Storm

I tried my best to capture the sky full of dust in a picture, but I couldn't do justice to it. I found the one above on Pixabay. It depicts a dust storm fairly well.

We arrived in Midland and fought the blowing dust as we carted our bags into the hotel. We met Darling Hubby's cousin who drove over from the New Mexico side and spent most of the afternoon outdoors, ignoring the blowing dust just as the locals do.

When I jumped into the shower later, the water hit the dust in my hair and made it look as if I were standing in muddy rain.

Scenic? Not Really

I'd forgotten how awful the wind and dust can be in West Texas. I'd also forgotten how, well, unattractive oil patch towns can be. Even Midland with its downtown business center and attractive subdivisions is basically an oil patch town.

Image by Laura Upshaw from Pixabay
Pump jacks, workover rigs, oilfield equipment, and oil companies of various kinds line the road into town.

What's missing are the trees, shrubbery, and flowers that adorns the rest of Texas.

Landscaping is xeriscape for the most part which can be very attractive, but the landscape around Midland is devoid of trees for the most part.

If you're a fan of sand, caliche, and gravel, you'll like that part of Texas.

The wind was still blowing when we awoke the next day, but the dust wasn't nearly as bad. The sky was gray, and the temperature was 62 degrees. I'd packed mostly clothes for a hot Texas summer. I was freezing.

Takeaway Truth

We abandoned our plans to visit a couple of the museums including the George Bush home and began our journey home. Next stop, Big Spring, Texas.

Thursday3Some: Dearly Beloved by Peggy Jaeger

Hey, Readers! Today I'm shining the spotlight on a delightful Contemporary Romance by Peggy Jaeger.

Her novel, Dearly Beloved, is normally $4.61, but you can get it today through June 21 for the incredibly low price of 99 cents.

Get Acquainted With Peggy

Peggy Jaeger writes contemporary romances about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten.

Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all aspects of life
into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness, and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after.

Growing up as the only child of divorced parents, she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way.

Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

Follow Peggy online. She hangs with friends here: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | BookBub Author Page.

Now, let's find out more about Peggy's book.

Dearly Beloved by Peggy Jaeger

Colleen O'Dowd manages a thriving bridal business with her sisters in Heaven, New Hampshire.

After fleeing Manhattan and her cheating ex-fiancé, Colleen still believes in happily ever afters, but she's worried she'll never find Mr. Right.

Playboy Slade Harrington doesn't believe in marriage. His father's six weddings have taught him life is better as an unencumbered single guy.

He doesn't plan on losing his heart to a smart-mouthed, gorgeous wedding planner, though.

When her ex-fiancé comes back into the picture, Colleen must choose between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now.

Thursday's 3 Questions

(1) What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

Three years ago my daughter was in a bridal party of one of her sorority sisters. Since both families were at opposite ends of the country, the bride and groom chose a wedding destination that was halfway between both, a venue where the ceremony, reception, and the hotel were all in one place.

My daughter called it a "one-stop wedding," and the idea to write a book about a family involved in a bridal business started to grow. I invented 3 sisters. One is a wedding planner, one is an Officient/Justice of the Peace, and one owns the inn where the ceremonies take place and where everyone stays.

(2) If a movie was made of your book, what actors would be cast as the leading lady and leaving man?

Ann-Margret (the younger version!) as Colleen O'Dowd, and Channing Tatum as Slade Harrington. You can view my Pinterest boards connected with Dearly Beloved here:
  • https://www.pinterest.com/peggyjaeger/odowd/
  • https://www.pinterest.com/peggyjaeger/izzys-shower/
  • https://www.pinterest.com/peggyjaeger/nanny-fee/
(3) Why do readers buy Dearly Beloved?

To answer that, I'll show 2 of my favorite Amazon Reader Reviews because they simply touched my heart and exemplify what and who I am in my writing.

"What makes this a must read? Peggy Jaeger’s immense talent for dialogue and emotional depth. I found myself reading Colleen’s inner dialogue, laughing hysterically and thinking to myself how Colleen sounds like me" ~Amazon Reviewer

Seize the Book
"The dialogue is fast and fresh, the situational humor keeps the pages turning, and the characters are endearing. Family and forgiveness are huge themes here, and the author draws in the reader with humor and heart. A great read from one of my favorite authors. 5 sparkling stars and totally recommend for a fun, fast totally enjoyable read." ~Amazon reviewer

Takeaway Truth

If you haven't read Peggy Jaeger before, this is your chance to do so for only 99 cents. Get Dearly Beloved today and have a delightful weekend of reading fun.

Short & Sweet: Shopping

I'm getting ready for summer vacation. Of course that means I need to go shopping.

I'm shopping today for shoes, a great necessity for all the walking I plan to do. I don't actually want a new pair of walking shoes. I want some really cute sandals made on a walking shoe platform.

This quotation perfectly describes my favorite kind of vacation.

"I'm the type of person who far prefers a vacation filled with trips to museums and art galleries, shopping and exploring vintage flea markets, people-watching at cafes, and discovering delicious restaurants as opposed to lounging on a beach for days on end." ~Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman

Takeaway Truth

If I find sandals like I described, I'll take a picture and post it on my FB page later. Have a great day!

Short & Sweet Post: Creativity

I'm crazy busy as the saying goes. So my post today is food for thought.

"Creativity itself doesn't care at all about results—the only thing it craves is the process. Learn to love the process and let whatever happens next happen, without fussing too much about it. Work like a monk, or a mule, or some other representative metaphor for diligence. Love the work. Destiny will do what it wants with you, regardless. ~Elizabeth Gilbert

Takeaway Truth

Another take on "enjoy the journey" because there's always more journey than destination in life.

Have Chronic Pain? Listen to New Podcast

Today, Chronic Warrior Women, a website/podcast, premiered.

The brain child of 2 chronic pain patients, Adina Mayo and Rebekah Spensen.

Listen to Episode 1 which introduces these 2 remarkable women.

Subscribe so you'll get information that might help you in your quest to live with chronic pain. Along with you, many other are traveling that path.

Find out what they've tried and maybe learn some alternative possibilities that might help you too.

If you've suffered and can't find anyone who understands, listen to these women. They understand.

Your friends don't understand?
As the website says, "Buckle up, because living life above the condition involves real talk, awkward stories, and lots of personal nonsense." That's what it takes to survive.

When you think no one understands your pain and your problems, you'll find there really are people who understand.

In full disclosure, Adina is my daughter, and I'm immensely proud of her.

She's worked hard for more than 2 years to find a way to live a normal life. I hope you'll listen to her podcasts and subscribe.

Takeaway Truth

Subscribe to Chronic Warrior Women Podcast.

9 Movies Ripe For Remake

Some movies I love—like Last of the Mohicans and It's a Wonderful Life—were not named because one shouldn't mess with perfection.

Hollywood keeps cranking out superhero stories. They're fun.

But wouldn't something with stories revolving around people who were heroic without wearing capes and possessing super powers be refreshing?

So, Movie Makers, I challenge you.

Look at my list and think about remaking these movies that were remarkable and still thrilling in today's world. Why not get the rights to some of these stories?

1. LadyHawke

OMG! Someone please, please, please remake this 1985 fantasy movie. You'll see it's number 1 on my list. Or at least re-score it and do away with the awful 80's soundtrack.

The original starred a very young Matthew Broderick, the gorgeous Rutger Hauer in his prime, and Michelle Pfeiffer in a story of jealous rage and an evil curse.

2. 3 Days of the Condor

This 1975 political thriller starred Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway. Amazon Prime recently added it to their Prime Movies list. I watched it and was surprised what a good action thriller it was with a story completely believable in light of all the political machinations in the last several decades.

Had to call "Ew" on the sex scene with Dunaway's character so complacent. If they'd placed the scene after their attempted murder, it would have been believable. Update the tech in it and the "Ew" scene, find a charismatic leading man, and you'd have a winner.

3. Close Encounters of the Third Kind

A 1977 Spielberg science fiction movie starring Richard Dreyfuss that everyone on the planet knows. I always love a good science fiction movie. I happened to love the 2016 flick Arrival starring Amy Adams. I didn't think it was difficult to understand at all. Remake Close Encounters with the kind of special effects that can be done now but keep the optimistic air it had.

4. The Conversation

From 1974 comes this slow burn thriller written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring the remarkable Gene Hackman. This was the beginning of the slippery slope of privacy rights and surveillance. The moral issue of privacy versus government spying was revisited in the 1998 film Enemy of the State, directed by Tony Scott, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and written by David Marconi. The film also starred Gene Hackman along with Will Smith and Jon Voight. I could see that moral issue being revisited.

5. Used Cars

Directed by Robert Zemeckis years before Back to the Future, this satirical black comedy, a cult favorite from 1980, starred Kurt Russell, one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood.

Russell has political aspirations but for now, he sells used cars. Everyone who ever bought a used car identifies with this movie.

This film has Jack Warden, Frank McRae, Gerrit Graham, and Michael McKean.  Sometimes it's shown on TV, but the funniest scenes are always deleted because they're not PG! A remake would find an audience.

6. Marathon Man

"Is it safe?" This is the movie that caused patients all over America to cancel their dental appointments when it premiered. Starring Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Roy Scheider, William Devane, and Marthe Keller, it was released in 1974.

Actually, I guess I should pull it from my list because it's about infamous evil Nazis and well-known atrocities. I guess it would have to be a "historical" film. It's a gripping story—no surprise there because it was written by William Goldman (The Princess Bride and other remarkable stories).

7. Sneakers

Amazon Prime added this 1992 film which introduced the subject of hackers and how they can screw up someone's life to their list a few months ago.

Starring Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd, Ben Kingsley, Mary McDonnell, River Phoenix, Sidney Poitier and David Strathairn, it's ripe for remaking. The subject of covert spy groups and the race to be the first with technology is even more viable now. Update the tech, get a great cast, and you'd have a hit.

8. The Parallax View

This 1974 political/corporate greed film starring Warren Beatty had some flaws, but its conspiracy theory premise is ever present. Definitely ripe for remake.

9. Highlander

The cult favorite from 1986 needs to be remade. Keep the Queen music, find another brooding, sexy actor like Christopher Lambert to play Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod, an eternally sexy Scotsman like Sean Connery (maybe Pierce Brosnan?), and a big guy like Clancy Brown to be the evil nemesis who wants to be the only one. Go for it! I—and probably every woman alive—would buy a ticket.

Takeaway Truth

What the movies above have in common is great story.

Take the story, add great acting and directing, and update the tech and pop culture as needed.

You'd end up with intelligent movies for today's world.

To Scum of the Earth Man Who Knifed My Daughter's Tire

Image by WikimediaImages from Pixabay
I want to tell you about a man in Houston who shops at a grocery store near Lake Houston Parkway and Beltway 8.

I'd like to see him wearing those handcuffs on his way to jail.

Last week my daughter parked in a handicap slot at the grocery store. She has a handicap license plate because she needs it. She has Adhesive Arachnoiditis, that's a spinal cord injury.

She never knows when the pain may be triggered. She can be perfectly normal one minute, and in the next be gasping in pain and hardly able to walk.

In the parking lot near her vehicle, she noticed a man giving her a dirty look. It made her uncomfortable, but she shrugged it off and went into the grocery store for a few items. When she came out of the store, she saw her rear tire was going flat.

Even though she wanted only to go home and rest, she went to the nearest tire store instead. That tire had been knifed several times in the sidewall!

She ended up spending 3 hours in an uncomfortable chair while they checked all the other tires and replaced the one that was knifed.

You scum of the earth owe her for a tire and for the next 3 days of pain she endured from the experience.

If you ever see someone doing something like that, immediately call 911 and report it. If it ever happens to you, report it. My daughter didn't because she felt intimidated since she shops at that store regularly.

Takeaway Truth





Favorite Dog Quotes

My Last Dog
I'm working on a Christmas book that has a dog as a character.

Actually, this is the third book in the Small Town Texas Romance series, and the other two books—Last Christmas and Brianna's Season for Miracles—had dogs also.

I want a dog, but we're often at our house in the country. There are too many coyotes around that threaten dogs.

Unless you get a really big dog!

So I write about dogs to satisfy my longing for one. As a dog lover—no offense to cats—I want to share some of...

My Favorite Dog Quotes

If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went. ~ Will Rogers

I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts. ~ John Steinbeck
Dog from Last Christmas

Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog. ~ Franklin P. Jones

The average dog is a nicer person than the average person. ~ Andy Rooney

If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons. ~ James Thurber

You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, "Wow, you're right! I never would've thought of that!' ~ Dave Barry

If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two of them. ~ Phil Pastoret

Takeaway Truth

Politicians would be wise to heed what President Harry Truman said, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."

Thursday3Some: 3 Effective Blog Tips

Want to know 3 ways to quickly improve your viewer stats? These 3 ways are easy and can be implemented immediately.

I see a lot of elements on other blogs that could be improved. Most are simple changes that can quickly increase readership.

3 Effective Blog Tips To Do Now

1. Update your content regularly.

In blogging, more is more. The more new content you have, the better because internet blog readers always want something new. If you're fresh out of ideas, go back to posts written years ago and refresh them by adding more information or restating your points in a more effective way.

2. Use headlines that hook readers.

Headlines are like book titles. You want something that evokes something in the reader, i.e., curiosity, emotion, excitement, etc. A good headline should be short yet long enough to make the reader curious, give a hint of what the post is about, and make them have to read the first sentence.

3. Write in short paragraphs.

Internet readers read "vertically" with their eyes scanning down the text looking for the salient points. Today, many read blogs on mobile devices.

Long blocks of text overwhelms the eye. In fact, it's hard for readers to keep going when faced with that. So make your paragraphs short.

Takeaway Truth

Reading on electronic devices is nothing like reading print on paper. Adapt or be left behind.

Review: American Renegades

Darling Hubby and I usually watch a military movie on Memorial Day when we're finished with the usual cookout and guests.

This year, we found American Renegades on Amazon Prime Viewing. You'll notice on the movie poster at left that it's billed as Renegades, and that's one of the reasons this movie didn't succeed as a theatrical release or a DVD rental release.

Confused Marketing

The movie production company and/or their marketing department didn't have a firm grasp on how to market the film that opens with heroics by a Navy S.E.A.L. team.

The one-liner blurb is, "A team of Navy SEALs discover an underwater treasure in a Bosnian lake."

I guess they couldn't decide if it was a movie about the exploits of a SEAL team or a caper flick or whatever combination of all of that might be.

I think if it had been promoted as a "caper" flick, it may have succeeded. Marketing is everything when it comes to entertainment.

The First-Billed Cast

Produced by Luc Besson and Raphaël Benolieland, the film was directed by Steven Quale. Seeing the name Luc Besson, you know it will be an action flick. When I saw the names of the cast members, I knew I wanted to watch this film simply because J.K. Simmons was in it.

He always delivers the kind of performance where you believe he really is that character. In this movie, Simmons stars as Levin, the commanding officer. Even though he's not on screen a lot, his performance is memorable.

The rest of the first-billed cast are:
  • Sullivan Stapleton of Strike Back fame as Matt Barnes
  • Charlie Bewley as Stanton Baker (Twilight: New Moon)
  • Sylvia Hoeks as Lara Simic (Blade Runner 2043)
  • Joshua Henry as Ben Moran (Army Wives)
  • Diarmaid Murtagh as Kurt Duffy (Sons of Liberty, The Monuments Men)
  • Dimitri Leonidas as Jack Porter (The Monuments Men)
  • Clemens Schick as Petrovic (Point Break remake, Overdrive)
  • Ewen Bremner as Jim Rainey (T2: Trainspotting, Wonder Woman)
  • Peter Davor as General Milic (Fast Forward)
  • Mahamadou Coulibaly as Detroit Turner (Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets)
  • Alain Blazevic as Boris (Spides in post-production)
  • Karim Cherif as Milenko (mostly European films)
  • Denis Brizic as Kurjak (mostly European films)
  • Marko Cindric as Peter the Bartender (Game of Thrones).
Now dubbed American Renegades, this film is a caper flick with intelligence, heart, emotion, some Nazi history thrown in, heroic action, and selfless generosity.

Takeaway Truth

Give this film a look. I think you might like it.

7 Apps Writers Should Explore

I was killing time slowly starting this morning—still tired from the long holiday weekend.

So I was cruising the internet, much as I used to cruise the loop from Jeannette's Diner (best curly fries ever) at the north end of my small  town to Loop Road at the south end.

Ah the life of a teenager—driving around just to see what was going on and who else was driving the strip through town. That old movie American Graffiti was way before my time, but the small town world it showed was still my small town world.

But I digress. I want to ask about the writing apps I found and explored. Voilà! Inspiration for today's post.

I downloaded the ones that worked for me. I'm sharing the ones I explored because you might like some of them too. For your consideration...

7 Apps Every Writer Needs

Needs? Well, if only for the fun factor, but some are very useful.

1. The Hemingway App
Ernest Hemingway’s writing style was simple and direct. He could have been the inspiration for the "less is more" design ethic.

This app grades your writing by its readability. The higher the grade level, the harder your writing is to read. It checks adverb usage, word and phrase simplicity, and passive voice usage.

2. Evernote
The basic version of this which is the note taking is free. The next plan up is $7.99 per month. Evernote helps you capture and prioritize ideas, projects, and to-do lists, so nothing falls through the cracks.

Evernote helps you manage everything from big projects to personal moments, capture ideas and inspiration in notes, voice, and pictures, and helps you keep us with deadlines.

3. Simplenote
Is available on Apple devices, Android, and Windows. You can use it everywhere. and your notes stay updated across all your devices. No buttons to press. It just does it.

You can stay organized, find notes quickly with instant search and simple tags, work with a team, sharing lists, posting instructions, or publishing your notes online. Notes are backed up when you change them. There's much more, and it's all completely free.

4. Day One
If you've tried keeping a journal and couldn't, this app is for you. It's always available for you to make notes about what you're doing. You can look back and see what you were doing a year from now.

The Basic is free forever. The paid Premium is $2.92 per month and allows you to sync over all your devices and has many more options.

5. TextExpander
Do you write contracts or have to insert your biography into marketing forms? This app will help you do that. TextExpander lets you instantly insert snippets of text from a saved text files or boilerplate contracts, etc.

6. FocusWriter
If you have a hard time staying focused on your work in progress, then try FocusWriter, a simple, distraction-free writing environment.

The app uses a hide-away interface that enables your monitor to be a "blank page." Available for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X, it's also been translated into different languages. The app is free, but there's a button to tip the creator $5.00.

7.Cold Turkey Writer
This app has free and a paid versions. It turns your computer into a typewriter by blocking out everything on your computer until you reach your writing goal.

Set your options like blocking everything out, disabling backspace or copy paste, and several more options.

Then set a goal, either a time length or word count, click start, and begin typing. If you set the option, you're blocked from accessing anything else on your computer.

When you reach your goal, the block goes away. This seems to be the perfect app for getting a draft written fast.

Takeaway Truth

I love finding apps that actually help with productivity. Whether you're a professional writer or someone who must write for your day job, you'll find these apps useful. Let me know if you use any of them.