Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Twelve Years a Slave (the book)

Twelve Years a SlaveTwelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You know the story. Solomon Northup, a free black man living in New York is kidnapped and sold into slavery, where he struggles to regain his freedom after twelve years. I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie. So many of my friends have said the movie was difficult to watch.

Of course there is violence and torture in the narrative of Solomon who has to take on the name of Platt to avoid further floggings. But beyond the descriptions of the vilest nature of slavery in these United States, we hear the voice of Solomon who sees his life as evidence against the myth that slaves are better off on the plantation.

As a side note, I remember the history books of my elementary school days during the years of Jim Crow, saying slaves were happy and sang a lot.

What is most fascinating for me about this book is its being published and achieving best seller status before it went into obscurity, only to be rediscovered in the 1960's. What a treasure this book is.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Men We Reaped

Men We Reaped: A MemoirMen We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The title comes from a quote by Harriet Tubman, "We heard the rain falling and that was the blood falling; and when we came to get in the crops, it was dead men that we reaped."

Jesmyn Ward is becoming one of my favorite authors. This memoir was painful to read, but held together by her beautiful prose.

She tells the story of lost young men, her cousins and brother, growing up poor, black and male in Mississippi. Mississippi of Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit," Mississippi of Nina Simone's "Mississippi Goddam."

She survived as the oldest girl of her parents, on the determination of her mother to get her out of the cycle of poverty, especially after her father left. A single mother can teach her daughter how to hold the family together, but she can't teach a son how to be a man. So many of the young men growing up in DeLisle, MS were lost, school drop-outs, caught up in a drug culture, or merely in the wrong place at the wrong time at two o'clock in the morning.

It's a mournful story, and the author still mourns the loss over thirteen years after those deaths.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Good Lord Bird

The Good Lord BirdThe Good Lord Bird by James McBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I read the dedication for this book, "For Ma and Jade who loved a good whopper," I knew I was in for a wild ride.

I first read about John Brown in high school history, where he was barely mentioned as a fanatic abolitionist who waged a war to free the slaves. Since that time many books have been written about John Brown by African Americans who have made him more of a cult figure and reject the notion that a white man would have to be crazy to wage a war to free the slaves.

This book is historical fiction based on fictitious notes by Henry Shackleford who claimed to have been the only Negro to survive John Brown's raid on the Harper's Ferry arsenal in 1859. He claimed to have been able to do this by being dressed as a girl for over four years while he accompanied John Brown and his "army" through Kansas, Missouri, and with him to meet Frederick Douglass in Boston.

It's a wild shoot 'em up story, hilarious and unbelievable. A real whopper.

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Friday, July 26, 2013


AmericanahAmericanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really did like this book, and would have given it five stars if not for the rampant tongue-in-cheek by the author. There are so many themes in this book and so many characters with four-syllable Nigerian names, it made me wonder if the author just did a memory dump of all her experiences going back and forth between Nigeria and the US.

It's a story about first love and reclaiming one that was lost. And it's about hair, and race, and immigration, and war in Nigeria, and literature, and pop culture in the US and Nigeria, and Barack Obama...enough topics to make one's head spin. And there is the tongue-in-cheek that pops up throughout making me wonder if it's a put-down of African American culture or just a zinger to get our attention, so as to see ourselves from a new perspective.

In interviews, Adichie does say she understands where black Americans come from given our long history of slavery and Jim Crow laws, and she has come to appreciate what a black American means when he calls her "sister."

This was my first time reading one of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's novels, and I will be reading more of her work.

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Monday, June 3, 2013


GuestlistGuestlist by Jay Fingers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I learned about this book through a review by Naomi (Sisterhood of the Traveling Book). I was really impressed at how much a white girl loved this book. The Kindle edition was 99 cents at the time, so I jumped right on it. It finally worked it's way up to the top of my pile.

Guestlist is a smart hip tale of the life behind the velvet rope of the New York City club scene. It's urban and edgy without being raunchy. It is two parallel stories of Juliet who moved from Florida seeking a better life, and Swann who moved from Detroit with a similar dream. They each get tangled up in romances with the "pretty people," the promoters who include them on the guest list for ulterior reasons.

The story is fast-paced, full of tabloid characters you can recognize by any name, and whose lives revolve around the perks and exposure of being in the latest new club. Even as smart and current as author Jay Fingers can be, he did have to stoop to a round of "the dozens." Some of the characters are just too funny. It was an enjoyable read, and I'll be looking for more from Jay Fingers. But I gotta ask. With all the poshness of Ava's Upper East Side apartment, why does she have ice trays?

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Red Velvet Cupcake Murder

Red Velvet Cupcake Murder (Hannah Swensen #16)Red Velvet Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I admit it. Most of my impulsive behavior involves food. So I just happened to be scanning through the list of Goodreads giveaways about to come due, and I saw this book and signed up for the giveaway, never expecting I would win.

This is the nineteenth in a series of a genre I never knew existed, cookbook cozy mysteries. But after I read the first few pages, I was hooked. This book is one-fourth mystery, one-fourth soap opera romance-drama, one-fourth with characters talking about food and exchanging recipes, and one fourth is the actual recipes. OK, I'm a sucker for red velvet cake.

There were times when I thought the mysterious near-death and deaths were taking a backseat to the food planning and recipe swapping, but it was a fun read. I give it four stars and I'm not even a cat person.

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mother's Day Special

As I have done in past years, I am offering my memoir, Motherless Child - stories from a life for 99 cents from May 1 through May 14, 2013 Kindle version only Click here.  

And my latest book, Tell Them I Died will also be available for 99 cents during that same period, May 1 through May 14, 2013 Kindle version only. Click here.

About Motherless Child -  stories from a life:
Imagine you gave a baby up for adoption forty years ago, and after years of trying to find her, she finds you. Now come the hard questions. She's healthy, beautiful, and successful, but she wants to know why you gave her away and why you didn't marry her father. And there is also the unspoken question of "What kind of black woman gives her baby away?" How do you explain to her that giving her away was the best gift you could offer? This is Sarah Weathersby's first published work, a coming-of-age-in-the-sixties-single-black-pregnant and on the way to Germany, memoir.

Click here.

About Tell Them I Died
TELL THEM I DIED  is a romance, but it is different from the standard romance novel in that the protagonists are all over fifty years of age, retired, and with discretionary time and funds to do whatever they want, and online friends to share every minute.  And unlike other romances, much of the action takes place on the internet on social networking sites. We baby-boomers sometimes have the idea that we're grown, we know it all, and the rules that may apply to teenagers don't apply to us anymore.  WRONG!  The world of dating has changed a lot since we were teenagers, and even grown-a$$ adults can be surprised by STDs and domestic violence.

When it comes to long-distance internet romances, Sixty is the new seventeen.
Click here.

Friday, April 26, 2013

For Those Who Remember "That Woman"

Welcome to the Friday BoomerLit Blog Hop. 

Check out this week's snippet.  For those of you who remember "that woman" in Las Vegas, she's back, as Jackson is about to check out of a rehab facility.

At mid-morning, the sun was shining in Jackson’s room. Bonita walked in, ready to take him to her house.
“I know you’re ready to get out of here and get back to Memphis. They told me you would be ready this morning,” she said.

Jackson looked at her with a scowl. “I appreciate all your help, but I called Carlton. He said he would come this afternoon to get me. It took me days before I could talk. I don’t think I’ll look at a bowl of gumbo ever again.”

“I told you I misunderstood. I thought you were asking about shells. I took all the shells out.”

“Yeah, anyway. I’m glad you got me to the ER, came to visit me and all, but Carlton said he would help me get my strength back so I can go home. Besides I need to talk with him about things.”

“If you’re sure you don’t need anything from me, you have your wallet and suitcase,” Bonita said. “The hotel was kind enough to take a day off your bill and check you out since you were in the hospital. The car rental wasn’t as nice...I’ll be going then. You have my number if you need anything. I hope we can stay in touch.” She kissed Jackson on the cheek, turned on her heel and left.

TELL THEM I DIED is available as an ebook or in print from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and others. You can find direct links on my website:


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Ghana Must Go

Ghana Must GoGhana Must Go by Taiye Selasi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Kweku dies barefoot on a Sunday before sunrise, his slippers by the doorway to the bedroom like dogs." The first line of the novel. Kweku Sai, a Ghanaian physician educated in the US, father of four children born in the US, dies of a heart attack in Ghana, leaving his slippers so as not to disturb his second wife.

And so it begins with the ending, a circuitous tale telling of the medical career of Kweku, the growing of his family with his beautiful wife, Fola, and the raising of their children in Boston. Until it all falls apart. Kweku leaves his family. Fola does what she can to provide the best education for her children, all brilliant young minds. But somehow the parenting gets lost in the fracture of the family.

When they learn of Kweku's death(after puzzling how a surgeon could not have saved himself before the final beat of his heart, and how could he leave his slippers behind, in an intentionally long parenthetical expression) the family comes back together revealing years of secrets in attempt to heal their relationships.

I puzzled over the title until "Ghana Must Go" was explained on page 237 as the expulsion of two million Ghanaians from Nigeria in 1983. Click here

I loved this book. It took me a few pages to get into the rhythm of the stream of consciousness, and then it all clicked. I was reading into the night, worrying about those beautiful "shiny" twins, Kehinde and Taiwo, the brilliant surgeon Olu, and baby Sadie who does not know her beauty.

I hate having to take it back to the library. I may even have to buy the book for myself.

View all my reviews

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sao Paolo to Raleigh by way of Dallas

Welcome to the Friday BoomerLit Blog Hop. 

Check out this week's snippet.  Angela and Bodine are on their way home with a stopover in the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport.

Angela turned on her phone with the intention of checking voicemail at home. Before she could make a call, her cell phone beeped with two messages. One from Jackson asking her to call him, and another from QTEE saying she would call again later. Angela was too tired to think about talking to anybody, and instead checked her messages on their home answering machine.

There were a few calls from friends and family who said in their message they didn’t know if Angela was on another cruise. In addition, there was a call from Rev. Carolyn saying Isaiah, her “Little Man” had passed away. The funeral would be on Monday. Angela would have a day to unwind from the trip and still be able to go to the funeral. She reflected for a few minutes on Isaiah. He was such a gentle man. She never knew how he contracted AIDS, and didn’t much care. 

TELL THEM I DIED is available as an ebook or in print from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and others. You can find direct links on my website:


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cruising During Spring Break - Good New and Bad News

Hubby LUUURVES to cruise.  When he isn't cruising, he's trolling the cruise websites looking for a good deal.  He can usually find a bargain around the holidays, and he doesn't always associate a date with the corresponding holiday.  Especially Spring Break.

Our last cruise was on the Independence of the Seas, the western Caribbean, March 31 - April 7.  We don't pay much attention to the port stops unless there is one we haven't visited before.  This time the new port was St. Kitts.  Different island, same...umm..shirt.

The big plus for the cruise was that we got a free upgrade for the first time in all our years of cruising. We could hang out in the cabin, and not be bothered by all the school kids on board.  Royal Caribbean has a program called Adventure Ocean, designed to keep the kids busy, especially on those days at sea.  The group for babies includes the parents, and there is a Kids Club for 3 - 11 year olds.  The trouble comes with the teens, because they are old enough to check themselves out of the club when they get bored.  And they do love hanging out together...especially in the elevators...pushing all the buttons...sitting on the floor.  They weren't really being bad, but there were a lot of them, everywhere.  And some parents gave their kids a lot of latitude with a separate cabin for the kids.  And even with the ship's curfew for people under 18, the kids may have been out of sight, but not necessarily under parental supervision late at night.

Hence the 2 AM announcement from the bridge (broadcast in all staterooms), "Will Shelby (last-name) please dial guest services by pressing zero from any phone."  Then repeated at 3 AM.

And, alas, it was not just the kids.  The woman in the cabin next door came in at 2 AM another night and "discovered" that her cellphone worked at sea, and talked loudly until 5 AM.  She will get her due when she sees her bill, $4.95 per minute for international roaming using the ship's satellite.

But we had fun.  We met a lot of nice people, and had a tour of the bridge and the galley.

We'll do it again next month on another ship.

Friday, April 12, 2013

We're Still in Rio

Welcome to the Friday BoomerLit Blog Hop. 

I'm running out of snippets, and I don't want to spoil the whole book. The scene this week is the American Consulate in Rio.

“Ms. Murchison, my name is Henry Ogleby, what can we do for you?”
“I need help getting home,” Laura said. “My purse was stolen with all my identification and credit cards. Before I left the States, I made a copy of my travel documents and the contents of my wallet, and it’s on this memory card.”

“Did you report it to the police?”
“No, I came here first.”
“Where are you staying?” Mr. Ogleby asked.
“That’s another problem. I just got here from Sao Paulo and I don’t have a hotel.”
“Where is your luggage?”

By this time, Laura started to cry. She dabbed at her eyes under her sunglasses. She knew she couldn’t keep up the lie. “It’s complicated.”

TELL THEM I DIED is available as an ebook or in print from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and others. You can find direct links on my website:


Friday, April 5, 2013

We're Still Doing the Boomer Blog Hop

Welcome to the Friday BoomerLit Blog Hop. 

Check out this week's snippet.  Angela and Bodine are still in Rio.

Lucky for Angela, a cable car was ready to leave for the trip down the mountain or she might have missed the bus. Bodine and the tour guide were standing outside when Angela arrived. She was fifteen minutes late. If Bodine had not been holding the bus, the group might have left her. Bodine frowned, but he knew it had to be something about QTEE.  
“Well, did she show up?”

Angela apologized to the guide and to the people on the bus as she got in. It was all she could do to keep from breaking out into a big smile. When she and Bodine arrived at the last seats on the back of the bus, Angela pulled the photo out from the manila envelope. It was QTEE standing in front of the Christ the Redeemer, with a man.

Bodine had to laugh, “So you talked to her.”
“No, she wasn’t there, but she left the photo for me. Like she said, I would see her.”
“Who is the guy with her?”

TELL THEM I DIED is available as an ebook or in print from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and others. You can find direct links on my website:


Friday, March 29, 2013

Let's have a change of scenery for my fourth week of blog hopping

Welcome to the Friday BoomerLit Blog Hop. 


 I'll be traveling next week and may not have easy access to the internet, but don't count me out for next week just yet. In today's snippet, we'll leave poor Jackson in Las Vegas while his internet friends are on a cruise around South America.  Angela and Bodine have a port stop in Rio where they will have a bus excursion to see the city.  Angela's friend Laura, who happens to be in Rio as well, has finally answered Angela's phone call.

“What time do you think you’ll be at the statue...you know, Christ the Redeemer?” Laura was still being abrupt.

“I don’t know, and I don’t think the guide can tell us," Angela said. "There are twenty-some buses leaving the port in a minute...I need to get on bus number eight. They’re doing variations of the same tour, and the guides change the order of their stops to avoid having traffic jams with too many buses arriving at the same place at the same time.”

Then Laura said, “I tell you what. Look for me near the statue. You’ll see me.”

“It’s a good thing I got a recent picture of you, or I would never be able to recognize you. I’m wearing a red baseball cap from Finland. How will I find you?”

“Cap from Finland?”
“Don’t ask...but how...?”
“Don’t worry...you’ll see me,” Laura insisted.

Bodine was getting antsy. He liked to be one of the first ones on the bus so they could get a seat near the back door. Angela had to run to catch up.

TELL THEM I DIED is available as an ebook or in print from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and others. You can find direct links on my website:


Monday, March 25, 2013

Women's Empowerment - 2013

Women's Empowerment has been a major event in Raleigh for the last 18 years.  Sponsored by Radio One, the leading African-American Radio Company including R&B, Hip-Hop, and Gospel radio stations.  The target audience for the annual event is black women, and depending on who the keynote speaker is, the age range can be young or old.  Past keynoters have been Patti LaBelle, Mary J. Blige, Tyra Banks, and Steve Harvey.

When girlfriends asked me to join them for the event in the past I always declined.  I had as much power as I could stand.  Last year my neighbor and fellow author asked me to join her with two other authors in a booth to sell our books. At the time I had one book published and was close to finishing a second one.  I decided to wait until my new book was published. So this year I decided I was in.  And Saturday I went and sold books.

The keynote speaker this year was Bishop T.D. Jakes.  His message, as I understand it, is directed to women who have self-esteem issues, at work, relationships, marriage.  His message is always uplifting and inspiring.  The conference at the PNC Arena was a sellout.  Women of all ages came, young, old, black, white, red, and yellow, ambulatory and infirm. 

The day was filled with gospel music by top recording artists, other speakers (Wendy Williams), a panel of male celebrities from radio and televsion who talked about relationships.

The evening was filled out with recording stars, Fantasia, Eryka Badu, and saving the best for last, Charlie Wilson.

In between sessions, the women shopped.  They bought our books, but we had to fight off the crowd from the adjoining booth where they brought a whole store from Durham.  They sold jewelry, handbags, t-shirts, and SHOES.

At the end of the day, I almost broke even. But I did make a lot of contacts.  My first book Motherless Child - stories from a life sold better than my boomer romance, Tell Them I Died.  More people are moved by the adoption story than by the internet romance.

The subtitle of this blog is "...never in my lifetime becomes reality." So this was one for the bucket list, and I don't have to do it again.  Twelve solid hours of hawking books is a bit much for an old broad.

Charlie Wilson closed out the show.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I'm Glad You're Still Here for my Third Week

 I hope you're still following the Friday Blog-hop. My novel TELL THEM I DIED is a romantic adventure that centers around Angela and "Bodine" Beaudoin and their online friends.  Like many baby-boomers they have discretionary time and funds to travel, and enough online friends to share the experience with. Check out the list of other authors participating this week, here:


Read a snippet from  TELL THEM I DIED, below.  This week, Angela's friend Jackson is still in the hospital all because of THAT woman.

A woman came into the room and introduced herself as the hospital social worker, Karen Stewart. She gave her prepared speech about being an advocate for all their Medicare patients. Jackson’s mind started to wander as he wondered how the hospital had gotten his Medicare information.

“Mr. Gooding, we want to make sure you are satisfied with your treatment and you aren’t sent home before you can take care of yourself.”

Jackson had his note pad with him and wrote, “I live in Memphis and I need help to get home.”

Ms. Stewart didn’t have a script prepared for Jackson’s circumstance, and while she stumbled with an answer, Jackson shoved another note at her. “I have to check out of a hotel and return a rental car. I don’t know where my wallet is.”

“Mr. Gooding, if you can’t talk, you need someone to help you with those things.”

Jackson wanted to write, “DUH.” But he wrote, “That’s what I’m trying to tell you.”

“Don’t you have some family here in Las Vegas?”

Jackson started fumbling with his cell phone, and found Bonita’s phone number. He motioned to Ms. Stewart to call the number.

TELL THEM I DIED is available as an ebook or in print from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and others. You can find direct links on my website:


Friday, March 15, 2013

My Second week of Boomer Fridays and the saga continues

Welcome to the Friday BoomerLit Blog Hop.  I'm sharing with other authors who have written novels about people born during the Post War Baby Boom, now experiencing the next chapter in their lives.  Check out the list of other authors participating this week, here:


Read a snippet from my novel TELL THEM I DIED, below.  The story continues with Jackson waking up in the hospital in Las Vegas, far from his home in Memphis.

Jackson barely peeped through his eyelids when he tried to respond, “Mmmp nnn.” 

Oh no, my tongue is so swollen I can’t talk.

He looked around the room and then to his body, taking in the IV dripping into his right arm, the blood pressure cuff on his left, wires stuck to his chest and legs for an EKG monitor, and a damn catheter.

How did I get here?

He tried talking again, sounding like a cartoon dog. “Rmph rrlll.”

“Don’t try to talk Mr. Gooding. You had an allergic reaction." the nurse said.

I asked that woman if the gumbo had shellfish in it. She lied! I never had a reaction this bad before.

“It’s a good thing your lady took good care of you. When you collapsed, she called 9-1-1 right away. She thought you had stopped breathing. And the medics had difficulty giving you CPR. A gentleman your age, you have to be cautious. We had to put your medication in the IV. After the doctor sees you, he may remove the IV.”

My lady, my ass. That Bonita.

Jackson pretended to write on his hand, and let out a loud doggy sound.

TELL THEM I DIED is available as an ebook or in print from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and others. You can find direct links on my website:


Friday, March 8, 2013

Boomer Lit Friday

Welcome to the Friday BoomerLit Blog Hop.  We are a group of authors sharing excerpts from our work every Friday on our blogs.  Check out the list of other authors participating this week, here:

Read a snippet from my novel TELL THEM I DIED, below.

Jackson settled into his car again. This time he allowed himself to nap until about nine. He thought by then Carlton would be up and getting dressed. When he rang the doorbell, he listened for movement inside the bungalow. He could hear a television and someone approaching the door. Jackson stepped back, expecting the door to open. He knew Carlton had to be on the other side of the door watching him through the peephole. When the door didn’t open, Jackson knocked, and said, “Carlton, it’s me. I know you’re in there.”

Carlton opened the door, looking down at his feet.

Jackson extended his hand to shake it. “Hey, man. I’m so sorry about your mom. When Angela told me, I took the first flight I could get.”

Carlton still stood in the doorway, not motioning for Jackson to come in.

“Can I come in? I know you have to go to work, so I won’t take too much of your time.” Carlton let him in, and led him into the kitchen, where Carlton had been eating a bowl of cereal.

“Tell me what happened. How did she die?” Jackson asked.

TELL THEM I DIED is available as an ebook or in print from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and others. You can find direct links on my website:

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Goodbye Emily

Goodbye EmilyGoodbye Emily by Michael  Murphy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Technically I was born a year too soon to be called a Baby Boomer.  I was not part of the Woodstock generation; I grew up on Motown. I'll trade Purple Haze for Purple Rain, my children's generation.  Because I appreciate whatever music defines a generation, I loved this book.

As a BoomerLit novel it delves into the struggles of Professor Walter ("Sparky") Ellington, after the death of his wife, Emily, and the subsequent loss of his job.  He suffers from depression, alcoholism and his doctor fears he will die from a broken heart if he doesn't address the major stressors in his life.  He has lost touch with his best friends, thinking Buck has let him down, and is unable to deal with Josh's decent into Alzheimer's.

Music is important for the ties that connect us through family, friends, sickness, death, and all of life's changes.  I enjoyed the adventures of Sparky, Buck, and Josh as told through Sparky's dreams, and the roadtrip they promised each other back to Woodstock, even though it took until they were senior citizens to get there, reuniting their "Buck Naked Band," from high school.  "We might be old, but we could still rock."

I give it four stars.

View all my reviews

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Another one for the Bucket List, and a movie review too

As I have said before, I don't know what's on my Bucket List until it happens.  As a retired geek, I don't shy away from techie stuff, but it's been a long time since I had a paid job doing techie stuff.  In today's information age, there is so much to keep up with.  I have to depend on my kids to tell me about the latest technology.

My latest new thing is Red Box.  Yeah, I know they've been around for over ten years, but I don't usually have a reason to rent movies.  With my Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, I find it much easier to focus on a movie in a dark theater.  If I watch a movie at home, I'm multi-tasking all over the place.

It took Quvenzhan√© Wallis to make me think I should rent a movie.  The Beasts of the Southern Wild didn't make it to any theaters in Raleigh, or Durham where #1 son lives, until after the Oscar nominations for movie, director, and bast actress were announced.  Now it's appearing at a theater in Morrisville near the RDU airport.  My son had some time to hang out at my house on a recent Sunday afternoon, and used my PC to find the movie for himself on Red Box.  "It's cheap, and it's easy," he said.  (A dollar, twenty-eight with tax)  I really wanted to see the youngest Oscar Nominee in action, so the next weekend, I signed up with Red Box, and drove three miles to the Hess station pick up my movie. I tried not to look like a newbie when I swiped my credit card on the machine and waited until the big red box spat out my video.  Then I looked around to see who was watching....nobody.  I felt so proud of myself.

The movie...hmm.  It has won awards at the Cannes Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, the Deauville American Film Festival, and a bunch of others.  What seems to have impressed the judges was a cast of total unknowns, filmed on 16mm film.  Five-year-old Quvenzhan√© Wallis, is an obvious standout.

But what the movie was about, leave it to your own imagination.  It's a fantasy set on the Louisiana gulf, on a fictitious island set apart from the mainland by levees.  There's a storm coming, and there are huge wild boars, and melting icecaps, and a little girl trying to survive with her sick Daddy, in a place they called The Bathtub where every day is a holiday.

The little girl gets five stars.  The movie gets a foot in the door for its young producer Benh Zeitlin.

Friday, February 1, 2013

And the winner is...

I want to thank everybody who came to my blog tour. Special thanks to my blogger friends who opened up their blogs for one day to promote TELL THEM I DIED.


Stop by and visit them, if you missed the tour.

My email report from Goodreads says 591 people entered the giveaway for four (4) autographed copies of TELL THEM I DIED.  Goodreads selected the winners through some unknown algorithm.  The giveaway was open to US and Canadian members of Goodreads.  All the winners are from the USA, none from the North East.

And the winners are:
Kathleen from Virginia
Jeremy from Hawaii
Marque from Colorado
Tonya from Oklahoma

I put your books in the mail this morning using the cheapest method, Media Mail.  Our friend in Hawaii should expect delivery by February 16, 2013.  Happy reading!


Sunday, January 13, 2013


I gave myself a new mobile phone for Christmas.  My first Smartphone is a Samsung Galaxy S III.  See how big it is compared to my old phone!

So I have spent the last month discovering new ways to do the things I used to do with my old texting phone, and finding apps to do things I could never do on my old phone.

I can scan QR codes!  I don't know why I want to, but I'm scanning crazy.  And my phone can tell me the name of the song playing on the radio, when I can't.

My latest discovery was to replace the simple "Notes" I had on my old phone.  I thought there ought to be a simple function already on the Galaxy.  When I couldn't find it, I went searching for an app.  Yes, there's an app for that.  Probably a few dozen apps for that.  But I chose Evernote, since it's free and has a lot of five star reviews.

I powered it up and at first it seemed like overkill, then I found I could synch my notes from my phone with my desktop.  Had to install Evernote there too. What's really annoying is the little pop-up from the system tray telling me it's synching...every ten minutes.  I don't have that much stuff in notes!!  But I could if I wanted to...add photos, videos, docs, pdfs. And if there is stuff I want to keep track of on my desktop, but don't need on my phone, I can tell it not to synch that stuff.

I bet there are hundreds of you out there saying, "I knew that!"  OK, tell me how you use your Evernote.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Boomer Lit - and a New Years Giveaway

When I wrote my latest novel, TELL THEM I DIED, I didn't realize I had fallen into a new genre, Boomer Lit, sometimes called Gran Lit.  I was only writing what I know, and I do know what it means to be "of a certain age."  The good news is that we Boomers are the biggest generation the world has seen, and we are more active and vocal than previous generations who lived to see their 60's.

When I spent the last week "discovering" my new Samsung Galaxy III phone, my son told me, "Ma, you are so Baby Boomer!"  Whatever that means.

Anyhoo, you don't need to be a Boomer to enjoy Boomer Lit.  One of my favorite books in recent years was "The Hunger Games," a book for Young Adults.

TELL THEM I DIED is a romantic adventure that doesn't conform to the usual romance novel genre in that the protagonists are all over fifty years of age, retired, and with discretionary time and funds to enjoy life, and online friends to share every minute.  And unlike other romances, much of the action takes place on the internet on social networking sites. The story was inspired by the many people I came to know and love over many years on social networking sites.  People who are not online a lot don't realize how real those long-distance relationships can be.  Over all those years, my online friends have married,  had children, divorced, and some have died.  And then there is the travel element.  My husband and I travel a lot, and we share our travel photos with our friends online.  Several friends have suggested that I write a book about my travels.  I think travelogs can be rather boring, but I decided to waeve some of our adventures into the story.

The main characters of TELL THEM I DIED are Laura (Screen name: A1QTEE), owner/operator of Blaq-Kawfee.com, and the men in her life who come in an out of the social networking scene.  There is Laura's number one confidante and forum moderator, Angela (Screen name: Angelplaits), and her husband "Bodine." The men in Laura's life, ex-fiance', Jackson (JackDaniels), Lester (TheGuy), Laura's son, Carlton, and her some-time boyfriend Harman all present challenges for Angela as she tries to find out what happened to her dear friend when she gets the news that Laura has died.

And I'm celebrating the New Year with a giveaway:


I am giving away four (4) autographed copies of TELL THEM I DIED through a giveaway administered by Goodreads.com.  If you're not already a member of Goodreads, it's easy to join. Go here for the giveaway: