How to make an author’s day

Received this review today and, yes, it made my day.  sun_eBOOK_NEW (1)

Reviewed by Sherri Fulmer Moorer for Readers’ Favorite

Brittany Wright’s life isn’t going as she hoped. She can’t afford to go to college, despite graduating as valedictorian of her class, and is stuck in a small town, working as a cleaner at Happy Hearts Nursing Home. The job goes wrong from day one when she stumbles upon Flo, the home’s most eccentric patient who terrifies Brittany, but also holds a strange allure. An unlikely friendship develops between Brittany and Flo, despite the shadow of Alzheimer’s – a friendship that is discouraged by the home’s head nurse, who forbids Brittany from seeing Flo and forces her to sneak into the home after hours. The nurse’s reaction strikes Brittany as curious, until she sneaks in one day to find that Flo is being treated unethically. Soon, Brittany finds herself and two of her remaining high school friends embroiled in a mystery surrounding Happy Hearts that’s putting Flo and the other patients in grave danger from the very people who are supposed to protect them. When the Sun Was Mine by Darlene Jones is an intriguing mystery with twists, turns, and revelations that will keep readers guessing.

I truly enjoyed this story, and think it could appeal to both young adult and adult audiences. When the Sun Was Mine is more than a mystery; it captures the essence of multi-generational friendship. This book reminded me of the senior citizens that I became friends with when I volunteered in a nursing home right out of college. It also touches on the issues that affect both the young and old, from the expense of a college education and life planning to elder care and end of life issues. The mystery bridges the gap between two divergent generations to show us that friendships can truly transcend anything. Darlene Jones does a wonderful job of not only weaving a compelling mystery, but showing readers the beauty of friendship as well.

 

 

Humor in writing

 

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Humor can be anything from a belly laugh and the giggles to a chuckle or a smile. As long as it makes us happy to some degree, humor is doing its job. Here’s an excerpt from Book 2,of the Em and Yves series, EMPOWERED—an example of humor in a book that is not meant to be a comedy.

Victor grabbed Jasmine’s arm and dragged her to his office. “Don’t you guys all have something to do?” he said over his shoulder, but none of the men moved. He saw Jasmine look back at them and wink.

“You tell her, Vic,” one of the guys hollered just as he slammed the door.

“Woman, what were you thinking when you came here? It’s not safe and you stand out like a sore thumb.” Victor glared at her. “Please, tell me you’re not that dumb.”

“Belize, I think.”

“What?”

“Belize for our honeymoon.”

“Honeymoon!” He heard the guys hooting on the other side of the door and imagined a whole lot of high-fives taking place out there.

“Yes, good snorkeling. We’ll have to have a society wedding of course. But we can keep it small and limit the photographers.”

“You’re totally nuts.” Victor shook his head in disbelief.

“We’ll make beautiful babies,” she cooed smiling up at him.

“Babies?  Babies!” Victor screeched. “Get this straight. We. Are. Not. Getting. Married. We. Are. Not. Making. Babies.” What did it take to make her understand?

“We are,” she said in a matter of fact way that enraged him even more. “We have to.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“Victor, I love you. I can feel you in every atom of my body. My bones feel like jelly when I’m with you. Can’t you—?”

“You don’t even know me,” he yelled as he yanked the door open. The guys scrambled out of the way. With one hand on Jasmine’s arm and the other on the small of her back, he propelled her out the door to the waiting men. Jasmine stopped abruptly and Victor’s forward momentum caused him to press against her. He jerked back as if scalded. Jasmine turned to the audience in the doorway and mouthed, “I’ll be back.” Five thumbs turned up.

“No, you won’t!” Vic deposited her with her bodyguards and stomped back to his office. “Jesus H. Christ! Miss Jasmine Wade Berdin you are one hundred percent certifiably insane,” he said to no one in particular as he sagged heavily into his chair. His bones felt like jelly.

 

When the Sun was Mine

NEW RELEASE – http://ow.ly/Ohut1  limited time introductory offer 0.99

When the Sun Was Mine

Review comments

“Expertly written, suspenseful, the mystery grips you from the first page.”

“… a surprising, entirely satisfying beginning.”

“… moments of true poetic beauty as a delicate, unusual friendship develops between a young girl (Brit) and an old lady(Flo).”

“I couldn’t put it down and towards the end I was sobbing.  Good thing I wasn’t wearing any make-up.”

“Alzheimer’s is such a fearsome disease, but Jones’ story doesn’t live there.”

“… makes its mark in terms of social commentary on this disease.”

“…when you have people willing to care, even those newly in your life, the most dreadful of situations can still touch your heart and leave you as the reader with possibility rather than loss.”

EXCERPT

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Poor little Miss Wright. Second time she comes into my room and once again she gets the shock of her life. Appreciated her concern for me, but really what could she do? I gave her a little wave as she eyed the two nurses bearing down on me and then slipped out the door behind Matthews.

All I wanted now was a long hot shower and something to eat. I’d missed breakfast of course and there likely wasn’t much left from lunch, but maybe I could scrounge something. I ignored the two nurses who had come in. One took my arm to help me to the bathroom. I shook her off and slammed the door in her face. Not fair to take my anger out on them. They hadn’t strapped me down, but then they hadn’t come to check on me all morning either.

By the time I finished my shower and put on my jeans, M*A*S*H* T-shirt, and thongs, oops, I mean flip-flops, Curly and Mo had remade my bed. The room still stank. I opened the window to let in some air. The incinerator wasn’t spewing forth at the moment so maybe my room would smell decent when I got back. I squirted some Chanel #5 on my neck and wrists and then a couple of sprays around the room. Terrible waste really, but I thought it might help.

I stepped out into the hallway and took a deep breath. Big mistake. The air didn’t smell a hell of a lot better than in my room. The omnipresent hospital odor mixed with the unique scent of old people. Not fair that everything went to pot as we aged. Wrinkles, creaky bones, flaccid muscles, droopy skin, and the sour fragrance of decay.

Just the other day, some little kid was in the visitor lounge with Esther. “Grandma, you smell funny,” he said, when his mother urged him to hug the old lady. Kid refused and kicked up a fuss. Couldn’t really blame him. At least his mother had the smarts to back off.

Yes, we were allowed out of our rooms during the day, the idea being that we could entertain each other and not burden the staff. Heaven forbid they should have to exert themselves for us. I went to the dining room and found a couple of slices of bread to pop in the toaster, and a hard-boiled egg. I poured a glass of watery orange drink made from powder like that horrible Tang stuff they sent us when we were overseas years ago, and smeared my toast with something that was supposed be butter. It tasted okay if you held your nose. Lord knows, I’d eaten a lot worse in my lifetime. Millet laced with grains of sand. I laughed when I remembered seeing the goats foraging in the mortar and pestle that held our food. I brushed toast crumbs off my hands and had to admit I felt better after eating.

I wandered over to the rec room and a sorry excuse it was. A few rickety tables and battered folding metal chairs, which made me think of France with all those sidewalk cafes, the parks, the little wrought iron tables, Michel. Now there was a lover extraordinaire, lived up to the romantic Frenchman reputation; kind and thoughtful and gentle, but a lion in bed. I closed my eyes and lived it again. Ah, those were the days.

Then I made the mistake of opening my eyes. Worn linoleum floors. One tiny window. I didn’t bother looking out. I already knew it was the same dismal view as from my room. Decrepit war-time houses across the street, scrubby grass that passed for lawns, the odd scrawny tree, no flowers to speak of, although one house had a couple of hanging pots that looked pretty, the riot of color a sight for sore eyes. Battered bikes lay scattered in the yards, abandoned haphazardly when the kids got home from school. Wrecks of cars parked in front of some of the houses. Was a wonder any of them still worked, but they did. I’d watched the people from my window when I couldn’t sleep: kids, parents, going about their business, work, school, with a few drug deals thrown in for good measure. Dreary little houses, dreary little lives. Bet all they did was watch the boob tube, guzzle beer, and smoke pot. Bah. Humbug.

We never got to go outside. Never. I’m sure prisoners were better treated. Didn’t they always have an exercise yard or was that just the movie image? A trip to a park or the mall would be nice, or the movies. Not that Hollywood was producing much good stuff these days, but still … just to get out.

Everything about Happy Hearts so conducive to enjoying oneself. I counted five people in the rec room sitting, staring at the floor. A sixth was watching television on mute alternately nodding and shaking her head at the screen.

Old Artie, and I mean old, ninety-nine and still toddling along, spent most of each day sitting at the chessboard. Never had any visitors or anyone to play with. I took pity on him, sat down, and offered to play a match. He proved to be a more challenging opponent than I expected, but I won. Took my mind off the Internet dilemma for a bit. I’d have to lie low for a couple of days, but then what?

I roamed the halls looking for Brittany and found her with a large screwdriver in her hand.

“What are you going to do with that?”

“I couldn’t open your window this morning. It’s stuck.”

Stuck? I burst out laughing. This younger generation never ceased to amaze with their ignorance. The chit had obviously never seen wooden windows before and didn’t know she had to turn the lock thingy at the top of the frame before she could slide the window up.

The girl bristled. “What’s so damn funny?”

“Whoa, did you just use a bad word?”

She blushed. Must have grown up in a staid household, I thought. Much like mine. The words in my head stopped me cold. I squeezed my eyes tight and fought to remember, but nothing came to me. I felt tears forming at the corners of my eyes. To have a glimpse, just one little glimpse of my mother. That’s all I asked. Did I have pictures of her? If so, where were they? Would I recognize her or would someone have to point her out to me? And my dad? What was he like?

That’s the worst thing about this Alzheimer’s business. Thoughts pop in and out of your head until you don’t know what’s real and what isn’t. They taunt you with snippets of your life before, but there’s never enough to grasp a whole memory or maybe there is on some days and you just don’t remember.

“Is your window always locked?” Brittany asked.

Her voice jolted me back to the present. “No, why?”

“Not even at night?”

“I like to leave it open all the time for fresh air, if the incinerator’s not rumbling that is.”

“Okay then.”

I watched her amble down the hallway toward the caretaker’s office swinging the screwdriver and humming, “a merry tune to toot, he knows a song will move the job along.” Hated that movie. Maudlin nonsense.

 

 

EMPOWERED – book 2 – free when you sign up

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Double your reading pleasure with books 1 and 2 of the Em and Yves series.   

EMBATTLED FREE emandyves.com 

BLURB My face is on every television, in every newspaper. They say I’m saving the world. I know better. I’m a school principal not a superhero.

Of course that doesn’t explain the blood on my hands. Or the strange languages coming out of my mouth. Or the feel of swinging a machete. Or the sensation of lifting off the ground before I lose all memory.

Someone or something has hijacked my life. How do I get it back?

Alien contact leads to adventure and love as the characters involve themselves in world affairs in this science fiction novel series. But are humans given second chances after our superhero fights war or will the gods decide our fate?

Subscribe and get book 2 EMPOWERED FREE   emandyves.com

BLURB I do what I do to make the world a better place because of these visions I had when I was a kid. I’m sort of invincible too. Crazy, huh? And I’ve found my promised soulmate. Victor doesn’t believe he’s the one. Not yet, anyway.

Damn, damn, damn. I’ve been kidnapped. Victor will find me. He has to. Doesn’t he? The visions can’t be wrong.

With her bodyguards in the hospital it’s up to her watcher, the ex-cons, her dad, and friends to save her. Will they and her soulmate come to the rescue in time or will her delusions be her ruin?

EMPOWERED EXCERPT

“Okay, Unc, I’m dying of curiosity. What do you need?”

“Anything and everything you can find on Brian Berdin.” Maria’s eyebrows rose.

The Mr. Berdin!”

“Yes.”

“Jeez, what’d he do? Rob a bank or something?”

“Nothing like that.” Nick grinned. “If I tell you why, can you keep it a secret?”

“From Mom and Grandma too?” Nick nodded. He could see the wheels turning. Maria loved subterfuge and wanted to be a police detective like him. He was confident she would keep his secret when many adults wouldn’t.

“He offered me a job.”

“What?” she squealed and then clapped a hand over her mouth. “Sorry Unc. I better be quiet or the boys will be in here and you know how they blab everything.”

“The chief recommended me for the job and I met with Mr. Berdin yesterday morning.”

“Were you nervous?” Maria asked. “I mean it being Mr. Berdin and all.”

“Yeah,” Nick admitted. “Who the hell wouldn’t be, Kiddo?”

“So when do you start?”

“I’m going to say no.”

“But, a chance to work for Berdin? Are you sure you want to give that up? I know you love being a cop but jeez, couldn’t you take a leave from work or something and try it anyway?”

“It’s tempting but, no.”

“But …” Maria stopped when Nick frowned at her. “Okay, okay, but if you’re not going to take the job, why do you want the info?”

“He made me an offer and I feel that I have to at least do the research to be fair before I give him my answer.” Maria nodded agreement. Nick knew that would make sense to her moral code too. What he didn’t tell her was just how tempting the offer was. He could buy a place for his mother, send her on a holiday to visit family in Italy, and ease the financial strain for Angie, Maria, and the boys. God, to do all that; to have real cash flow, no money worries. Much to his chagrin, he hadn’t been able to put the financial side of it out of his mind. “Also, see what, if anything, you can find on Jasmine Wade.”

“His sleepover?”

“Maria!”

“Give it up Unc. I know all about that stuff.”

“You kids grow up too fast,” he muttered as he studied the little girl become woman. How had that happened? Just yesterday she was a miniature of her mother.

Maria groaned. “I’m almost fifteen for heaven’s sake, not a baby. You sound just like Mom.”

“Okay, okay.” Nick held his hands up in surrender.

“Did you see Miss Wade? What’s she like? What was she wearing? Are her eyes really that green? I mean, in pictures they look brilliant. Is she as beautiful in real life as in her pictures?”

 

Are there benefits to moving?

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We’re moving. As I contemplate the demands and logistics of organizing, packing, and notifying friends, family, agencies of our new address, I wonder if there is an up-side to moving. The answer is, yes.

I haven’t moved often as an adult, but throughout my teaching career, I did change schools and that isn’t a lot different than a house move. Packing up the classroom – files, books, teaching materials necessitates much the same organizing and sorting.

Classroom contents such as textbooks belong to the school, but every teacher has a truck load of their own materials. My own books, posters, manipulatives, pictures, etc. go into boxes. Then, with each move, I face the filing cabinet, go through each file carefully—something I often haven’t had the time to do in years. Many things can be discarded as obsolete. Files I’ve used often and know I’ll use again get packed along with the rest. And often I stumble across gems that elicit an “Oh my, goodness, I’d forgotten all about this.” Ideas for teaching that I’d used with success in the past and somehow let fall by the wayside. They’ll be put to good use again in the new school.

Our last move was from a house to a condo and the process not much different from that described above. Decisions were made regarding which pieces of furniture to take and which to sell. The accumulation of “stuff” in the basement sorted, some of the items to be sold, others to be donated or junked. Cupboards and closets opened and emptied.

“I didn’t know we had this,” I said (more than once) as I sifted through boxes from the bottom of the closet.

“If we didn’t know we had it, do you think we can live without it?” my husband asked.

Settled in our new home, everything unpacked, pictures hung, I’m determined to keep our belongings minimal, to avoid the “acquiring” mode of my younger self.

Now as I prepare for this move, I see that I’ve partially succeeded. We still have too much stuff and much of it will have to go as we sort and pack. Some of the decisions will be harder than others. Do we really need those glass plates that were wedding presents, but never used? Do we really need two sets of dinnerware? We haven’t used the fancy ones more than once a year. What to do with those afghans Nana knit for us? Ah, we’ll give them to the grandchildren.

Where, in all this work, is the up-side of moving? Is it in the flood of memories that come with the finding and handling of items we’ve had for so many years? Is it in the freedom of parting with items we’ve had for so many years?

For me, the process of moving has invariably been positive—a cleansing of sorts. It’s rejuvenating to leave the old behind and move to the new. It’s liberating to divest oneself of material acquisitions. Of course I’ll keep the things I hold dear—family antiques, books, special souvenirs of Mali—but the rest will be downsized once again and I won’t miss any of the things I leave behind. Perhaps this is a piece of the freedom we all aspire to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture taking – virtue or vice

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Writers create worlds with their words.  And if the writer is a master at his or her craft, the words allow the reader to “see” a vivid picture of the scene, understand the characters, and thrill with the action. For many readers, creating their own images and impressions from word pictures is what makes reading superior to visual media.

Yet, as I type this, the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” reverberates in my head.

How do I feel about picture taking?

Very guilty:

Many years ago, I sat on the upper deck of the General Soumare plying its way up the Niger River to Tombouctou. We docked at Goundam and watched, fascinated by the desert life on shore. Without moving from my chair, I reached down into my purse for my little camera. I had it partially out of my purse when someone in the circle of Touraug women spotted it. They began to rise and depart. I dropped my camera back into my purse and they settled into their circle again.

Guilty and angry:

I time travelled to the Dogon area of Mali. I use the words “time travel” deliberately as we were amongst people surviving in Stone Age conditions. What they lived on was hard to fathom. Of course I wanted pictures. I raised my camera to capture a mother and her child. The moment she saw my camera, she picked up her child and posed, then held her hand out for money. I put my camera away. It wasn’t surprising that she would want money—any little bit would help the villagers to survive, but I was angry too, furious that careless camera toting tourists had created this situation. There are many better ways to support the poor.

Angry and insulted:

At one time we lived in a unique river-side community in our city. Cyclists on the trails careened to a stop to talk about our houses. Cars drove by slowly, passengers gawking out their windows. Invariably, cameras appeared—the tourists ready to take pictures of the quaint locals infuriated me. Is that how others felt when I wielded my camera?

Guilty again:

I take pictures for my blog—many of them in Mexico. They’re not very good photos, because I feel that I’m intrusive of people’s lives and homes so I snap quickly and hide the camera. I don’t believe I have a right to invade their lives in this way.

Regretful:

Of course I come home with regrets for the photos not taken.  I would dearly love that picture of the man on the horse waiting at the red light alongside my car or the man walking his cow across the main street of town.

Pictures are important, providing glimpses into the past, evidence of crimes, sights to marvel at, an opportunity to travel from your armchair, but at what cost to the subjects of those pictures?

 

EMBRACED – on sale now.

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00038]

EMBRACED

CHARACTER: “God, I’m stupid. Whatever made me think Rice Krispies would lead me to an answer?” She sighed. Yet another failed attempt to identify the sounds. She dumped out the cereal, rinsed the bowl, and left it on the counter for morning.

SETTING: The play of clouds and moonlight over the water and mountains beyond calmed her. She licked her lips and tasted salt. From the heavily laden sea air or from tears? A few notes of music echoing across the water caught her attention. A bagpipe of all things.

SCENE ENDING SENTENCE: I don’t know why I think they’re messages from outer space.

EXCERPT 

“More drawings?” Curtis gestured at the papers she held.

Abby looked down at the pages and willed her hand to stop trembling. The three pages of code drawings seemed to shimmer and shiver with a life of their own. “Yes. Three pages. From Friday, Saturday, and last night. They’re pretty … they’re … pretty well done, I’d say.”

But Curtis was no longer listening.  He waved the papers she’d just handed him and almost shouted with excitement. “These are amazing. Way better than the first drawing you brought us.”

Abby stifled a small grin, but she had to agree. The drawings outclassed her scratches a million times over. “My friend developed instant artistic talent.”

“I’ll say.” Curtis shuffled the pages back and forth. He shook his head slowly and muttered “wow” over and over. Finally he looked up at her. “Miss D, thanks for getting so many. Now we have four to compare. We’ll see if there are any repeated patterns or sequences of symbols. Your friend is great to share these with us.”

“No problem.” Oh God, I’m such a liar. Of course there was a problem, and not just because she was lying to Curtis. My friend. How lame was that? The mere existence of the pages was the real problem. Some nights the clickings chattered incessantly in her fillings, almost driving her crazy. Those were the nights of very little sleep. The weekend had been eerily silent. That was a new phenomenon since Friday, no clickings, instead Coder Guy had begun leaving the pages filled with drawings. Either way—no escaping the code.

A while back, she’d grown tired of sharpening the pencil she used each night and replaced it with a pen, which was now almost out of ink. She’d have to remember to get out a new one tonight. Or maybe not? What would happen if there was no writing utensil?

“What’s so funny?” Curtis asked. Abby hadn’t realized she’d laughed out loud. The lack of pen wouldn’t stop her night visitor. She stifled another burst of laughter she knew bordered on hysteria. Truth was, much as the pages of code scared her, she’d be devastated if no more came. The person—being, alien, Coder Guy—was an integral part of her life now; his existence had established a rhythm that kept her balanced. Or so she thought. Maybe she was completely off her rocker.

Whatever the case, she didn’t want to lose that contact. Coder Guy’s presence warmed her, kept her from feeling alone and lonely.

 

An Informal Blog Tour

J.E. Fishman, fellow Venture Galleries author has invited me to participate in an informal blog tour. Check out his mysteries about that most unusual accidental detective Phuoc Goldberg here. http://jefishman.com/

The “rules” of the blog tour are that I answer the following questions, so here goes.

What am I working on?

I’m clipping along on a new novel that’s completely different from anything else I’ve written so far – no aliens, no super powers. I don’t like trying to fit any story into a genre as in my opinion that is limiting and unfair for the author and reader alike. That said, I’m undecided as to genre as I know from experience that the finished product will be much different from this first sketchy draft. This new book has elements of adventure, and mystery with literary overtones. I think ultimately if I have to squeeze it into a genre it will fit in “boomer lit” and YA.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My Em and Yves series is billed as Sci-fi, but I think of it as “soft sci-fi” as it does not encompass futuristic technology. Adventure, romance, current events, and “supreme beings” play their parts in the unfolding events and magic of the series.

Why do I write what I write?

My series was inspired by my experiences living in Mali. When I was there, it was ranked the 5th poorest country in the world. Try to imagine if you can, going from the luxurious life of the Canadian west to the edges of the Sahara. Anything I did to try to help wasn’t even a drop in the bucket as the saying goes, so I created a magic wand and waved it in my books.

How does my writing process work?

My writing process is evolutionary. I started with bits and pieces of ideas written in short scenes that grew to chapters and then played musical chairs with those chapters. In the beginning I worked without an outline. I progressed to a rough outline that was never static for the second, third, and fourth books of the series which certainly made the story easier to write

This new novel, I started with one sentence that popped into my head one day. I wrote it down on my “novel idea” list and forgot about it for several weeks. Then one day, searching for an idea for a new novel, I read my list, and seeing that sentence the light bulb flashed on—very brightly, I might add. I started writing without an outline and within a few days I had written 21 chapters. I can’t believe how fast this book is flowing.

Whichever style of writing I’ve used, I‘ve always been surprised—pleasantly—by the way the characters and plot take over and I end up writing bits I hadn’t thought of originally. The ending to my first book, EMBATTLED, came as a complete surprise. I love that aspect of writing.

 

Old books can charm or revolt

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If stranded on a desert island and only allowed one book, I’d take Mixed Marriage written by Elizabeth Cadell and published in 1963. Written in diary format, it’s the story of a young English girl about to marry a young man from Portugal. Doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, does it? So why is it so special to me? The writing style is superb, the characters lovable, the story line intriguing, and, most importantly, the portrayal of family spot on and timeless. Uncle George huffing about as patriarch of the family could be your uncle. And, it’s funny, often laugh out loud funny. Here’s a snippet of the bride meeting the groom’s family.

After lunch, entire disappearance of everybody; all reappeared for dinner, with addition of Ana, Valeria and black-clad companion known as Senhora Dona Beatriz; in all fourteen at table; Mama said with obvious sincerity that so nice to have little family party.

Another charmer is The Blue Castle, written by Lucy Maude Montgomery and published in 1926. While depicting an era foreign to us, it too has a timeless quality that sucks us into the story of Valancy’s love and adventures. Colleen McCullough was accused of plagiarizing The Blue Castle when she wrote The Ladies of Missalonghi, and indeed, there are passages that seem to have been lifted almost word for word.

I liked another oldie, Jim the Conqueror, written in 1929, so much that I searched for other books written by the author, Peter B. Kyne. I found one called The Pride of Palomar which turned out to be an unbridled racist rant.

I’ve tried other authors like Wilkie Collins and found those books to be unbearable reading now even though I liked some of them when I was younger.

Scrolling through the thousands and thousands of books available today, I wonder what people fifty to eighty years from now will think of our efforts. Will our novels still be available to readers then? And, if so, will our stories charm or revolt?

Some books are more special than others

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I love the ebook revolution. I love my ereader. I love that my books are available in ereader formats as well as print. I love being able to carry a library with me.

So many pluses for the book lover. See a book that sounds interesting. Download a sample. Enjoy the sample. Check out a few reviews. Reviews are encouraging. Buy with one click.

Do all of this from anywhere in the world.

Unlike other readers, I’m not tied to print books. I don’t think there is any loss of enjoyment in the story if I read an electronic version.

But … and it’s a big but, I do bemoan the following:

Nothing matches the joy of an uncle handing you a book from his laden shelves, one you undertake to read with some trepidation, for what can the aging old fellow possibly know about your young heart? You read it anyway, when you haven’t had a chance to get to the library and nothing else is available. It’s old and battered with a dark green cover. You don’t like green. Inside you find a signature you can’t make out as the ink is smudged, but you can read the name of the town and it’s the one where you were born. You flip a couple of pages and see that it was printed in 1929. Lord, it is old. You begin to read and discover it’s a charming adventure/love story. One that you know already you will reread. Bless the old uncle. He’s not so daft after all.

Then there’s the thrill of finding a copy of The Unexpected Mrs. Polifax on the shelf of a book exchange in a coffee shop in small town Mexico. You’ve read every one of the series and here’s a first edition of the first book published in 1966. The dust cover is scruffy, the inside pages stained and musty, but who cares. It’s now your book!

And that book from the library that you read way back in high school and never forgot and still pine for, if only to read one more time. Why oh why didn’t you buy a copy back then? Maybe you could find it on Abebooks. By golly, there it is. One and only copy somewhere in the US and for a few dollars, it too, is yours. You place it reverently beside Mrs. Polifax and gloat.

Don’t forget the pride of ownership of an autographed book.

From Camilla Gibb (Sweetness in the Belly) “To Darlene, with very best wishes and fond shared memories of Muslim Africa.”

From Robert J. Sawyer (Rollback) “To Darlene in friendship!”

From Susan Ketchen (Born That Way series) To Darlene because you know how difficult this is.”

From Glen Husar (Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen) “For Darlene, Love and best wishes.”

And best of all:

From Anneli Purchase (Julia’s Violinist) “This book would only be a forgotten manuscript if not for your encouragement and support. Thank you.”

Yes, books are special, some a little more so than others.