There’s a great editor in Cybertown, and you found her!

•July 27, 2016 • 24 Comments
Uh. What? Is something important happening here? Do I need to pay attention?

Uh. What? Is something important happening here? Do I need to pay attention?

How many times in the past hours days weeks months have you wondered why your favorite dizzy blonde wonkerific blogger hasn’t been posting as frequently as she used to?

Really? You haven’t noticed what I may or may not have or haven’t been doing or not doing? Shizzlesticks in a mudpie!

Well, wake up and smell your smoking motherboard.

It's good to have options.

It’s good to have options.

I’m here to tell you that Lorna is back in Cybertown and she’s been busy being a darned tootin’ fine editor. (By the way, I’m Lorna.)

These are my Professional Editor glasses. I will put them on for the remainder of this post. You WILL notice a difference.

These are my Professional Editor Glasses. I will put them on for the remainder of this post. You WILL notice a difference.

Don’t concern yourself that prior sentences in this post may or may not have been technically grammatically correct or that there were words the Oxford Dictionary hasn’t discovered yet.

I know the difference between how to write a silly blog post and editing a manuscript that will have all the components of a compelling, publish-ready story, complete with:

  • A coherently woven theme.
  • Plot lines that push the reader ever onward and that make sense given the theme and setting.
  • Fully-developed, interesting characters who talk and behave consistently (not necessarily predictably) throughout the book.
  • Characters who change as the story progresses.
  • Prose that is free of distracting errors of any kind, because any mistake (factual or technical) that takes the reader out of the story is never minor.

I also know how to work with authors as they face having to revise, rethink, or (good grief!) delete pieces of their soul’s work because an objective third party (me) suggests that doing so will improve their story.

How do I know?

Yes, do tell. Tell us what you know.

Yes, do tell. How do you know?

I’ve been on the receiving end of the editor’s pen (or cursor). I’ve also critiqued and edited numerous manuscripts. No one has ever told me that I was “heavy-handed” or “over-stepped.” Quite the opposite. To a person, my suggestions were welcomed and received with gratitude.

While I truly enjoy writing, I find editing an equally creative and rewarding process.

  • I get to read interesting stories.
  • I meet and befriend imaginative, wonderful people who share my love of writing, words, and all things literary.
  • Using my creative literary talents, I help others achieve their goals.
  • When a client’s book is successful, I feel a collaborative sense of accomplishment.

When I was searching this humonsterous world-wide-spider-cyberweb for my first editor, I did a seat-of-my-dumb-dumb-pants search. (Can you tell I took my Professional Editing Glasses off? My eye itched.) I could have done worse, but I could have done better. I would love for fewer authors to feel the way I did.

My way of helping to take the mystery out of what you’re getting into when you get into editing bed with me is to show you my work for FREE. Yes, that’s right. Send me the first ten (10) pages of your manuscript and I’ll edit them for FREE. I said it again! If you like my work and my style, let’s work together! If not, well, you got something for nothing–no harm, no foul.

This free offer is looking mighty good right about now!

This free offer is looking mighty good right about now!

If you are an author with a manuscript in need of editing, I’m here to help you.

The badge on my sidebar takes you to my Editorial Services Page. Or you can just click here!  My special thanks to Peter O’Connor, book cover designer extraordinaire, and super-entrepreneur who runs Bespoke Book Covers. He designed the badge for me and gave me tons of help with the contents and design of the editor services page. He also designed my Never Turn Back book cover.

If you know of an author who is looking for an editor, please consider directing them my way. Please reblog this, Tweet this, post this on Facebook, Linkedin, and all those other social media sites (well, maybe not Tinder).

Thanks to everyone who has supported me here on WordPress over the past 5+ years!
You Peeps are the BEST!

Supportive AND adorable!

Supportive AND adorable!

 

 

 

America’s THC Epidemic

•July 18, 2016 • 28 Comments
Let's make America great again!

Let’s make America great again!

You didn’t think I was talking about anything weedy, did you? No, no, no, no, well, nah.

Stay with me, Peeps. I’m talking about the Tiny House Craze sweeping the country.

Is she smiling because: a. she is outside of her wood-sided sarcophagus? b. she is the realtor who sold this rolling closet to a family of five. c. she is a tourist who wondered into the Tiny House District? d. she just finished 12 weeks on Slim-fast and feels as tiny as the house.

Is she smiling because:
a. she is outside of her wood-sided sarcophagus?
b. she is the realtor who sold this rolling closet to a family of five.
c. she is a tourist who wandered into the curious Tiny House District?
d. she just finished 12 weeks on Slim-fast and feels as tiny as the house.

Let me end the suspense (because I know you’ve been on the edge of your computers) and tell you what happened to Farmer Skinny and Mrs. Plump.

They toured (using the term “toured” very loosely) three tiny homes.

The first was the smallest (about 300 square feet) with a loft on both ends serving as 2 separate but open sleeping spaces. They needed ladders to get up there–imagine the toddlers. The toilet was in the shower, which, I suppose was both a convenience and total pain depending on the situation brewing. The kitchen/dining/living/play/office/storage space was hard to see since three adults were packed in there.

The second one resembled a camper. I was in too much shock after seeing the first place to remember much about the 2nd one except that it had a separate bedroom for the adults if they extended the “push” or “pop” outs. Same with the living area. Push a button and they got 10 feet more living space. WOW! The wife wasn’t happy with the hallway. She felt it was too segmented and she would have a hard time keeping track of the kids in all that space. I began wondering about her maternal attention span.

I remember the third home quite well. The exterior was all fancified to seem like a log cabin…well, maybe a luxury log dog house. It was also the largest at 600-650 square feet. By this time in the program, 650 square feet seemed rather spacious. Mrs. Plump liked many things about this monstrosity but complained that there were too many windows to wash. Really? My sister had an Easy-Bake Oven with more windows than that house.

Yup. This is the model Tina had. Just like Tiny House #3, it took some work to keep it sparkly.

Yup. This is the model Tina had. Just like Tiny House #3, it took some work to keep it sparkly.

In the end, I was stunned to find that, after careful consideration and weighing all the pros and cons of each option, these two people:

  • Did not decide to stay living in the 1,200-foot basement of Farmer’s Skinny’s parent’s farmhouse even though I didn’t get the sense that they were being evicted.
  • Did not opt to rent a real apartment or house or join the circus.
  • Did not even go for the (achem) largest of the tiny houses (yeah, right, all those windows).
  • They picked the smallest (the first) tiny house. Go small or try to go home (if you can all fit).

I don’t remember their reasons. I tend to block discombobulating stimuli. I don’t need more loopy poop messing with my already dizzified brain.

Yeah, that's how I imagine these fugitives are now that the Adirondack bugs have had their way them.

Or maybe I just really had to pee and didn’t stick around to hear why they chose the tiniest house of all.

Okay. I’m being a terrible Buddhist by judging tiny houses and the people who opt to squeeze their lives into them. Tiny houses are perfect for some people, but this particular family didn’t seem like the ideal candidate for warrior downsizing. Heck, the adults had to sleep in separate lofts so their kids wouldn’t fall 6 feet to the floor and hit the dog. I can’t imagine Thanksgiving dinner. Or any dinner.

Yes, houses are expensive, but is the THC the solution to their economic woes or is it just another example of exploiting desperate people in desperate situations? HGTV is good at that. Stations that show crap houses/gardens/rooms becoming magically perfect in half an hour are guilty of creating unrealistic expectations and setting you up for failure. I know. I’ve stopped trying because I know that nothing is as easy as they make it look.

Don't ask. Don't tell. Don't flush.

Don’t ask. Don’t tell. Don’t flush.

But don’t think I’m just picking on THC and HGTV.

Here are just a few other items being marketed over the airwaves. They, too, promise good/great/miraculous outcomes to the lucky buyer.

If you got an A+ at coloring inside the lines, then this product might work out for you.

I have never confused spray paint with healthy hair, have you? 

Because we don't have enough in the world to scare the bejeebers out of us.

Because we don’t have enough scary shizzle in the world.

No one should rush "their business," so this seems like the perfect distraction for that hole in one.

No one should rush “their business,” so this seems like the perfect distraction when striving for that hole in one.

What's worse than having to pee when at the tee? I'll tell you, watching your pal take a tinkle into his Uroclub while trying to look like a sport. Come on, Doug, we all know what you're doing. We can hear the tinkle. And your club sloshes every time you swing it.

What’s worse than having to pee when at the tee? I’ll tell you, watching your pal take a tinkle into his Uroclub while trying to look like a pro. Come on, Doug, we all know what you’re doing. Your club sloshes every time you swing it.

Because who doesn't want a hot, moist crotchy essence when there's a choice?

Because who doesn’t want a hot, moist crotchy essence when there’s a choice in personal hygiene?

Every car, camper, tiny house, and office should have one of theses kits. You just never know...

Every car, camper, tiny house, and office should have one of these kits. You just never know when you’ll need an emergency Stache.

For the food (but not the fashion) conscious. You won't miss a morsel but you may miss several dating opportunities. Everything is a trad-off, People.

For the food (but not the fashion) conscious. You won’t miss a morsel but you may miss several dating opportunities. Everything is a trade-off, People.

Never be caught sleeping on the job, at class, at the wheel, during court, or while in solitary confinement again. Just apply these eyeball patches over your eyelids and no-one will know that you are checked out. Warning: these stickers don't blink, so very observant authority figures may catch on.

Never be caught sleeping on the job, at class, while driving, during court, or while in solitary confinement again. Just apply these eyeball patches over your closed eyelids and no-one will know that you have checked out. Warning: these stickers don’t blink, so very observant authority figures may catch on.

The lesson here, People? I should never, ever watch cable TV. Reality is scary enough. Whatever passes for programming and advertising just kicks my fear factor up too high.

Ah, don't worry about me. That's Kombucha in the bottle.

Ah, don’t worry about me. That’s just Kombucha in the bottle. But TV makes me edgy. That’s why I cut my cable. 

How has TV influenced you (good, bad, or otherwise)? Where are you on the cable-cutting spectrum?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiny Houses Make My Head Hurt

•July 12, 2016 • 48 Comments
Brexit, domestic terrorism, regular terrorism, the brouhaha at Starbucks over secret formulas for colorful coffee drinks, and now this? Tiny houses? I'm glad i'll be dead soon. I will be dead too, right?

Brexit, domestic terrorism, regular terrorism, the brouhaha at Starbucks over secret formulas for colorful coffee drinks, and now this? Tiny houses? I’m glad I’ll be dead soon. I will be dead soon, right? Will my casket be at least as big as one of those tiny houses?

I’ve been thinking too much again.

This time, it’s about tiny houses.

They used to be called huts, shacks, cabins, campers, refrigerator boxes, or forts. But for marketing purposes and to get people to watch reality TV shows about people making critical life choices, these diminutive digs are now called tiny houses.

How many MPGs does your house get?

How many MPGs does your house get?

Like miniature booze bottles or ponies, these wee residences sound cute, right?

Downsizing in today’s unstable economy seems wise. Being able to hook up your home to your truck or Smart Car and haul it to a less hostile climate (political, geographical, or social) would be advantageous. And leaving a smaller footprint (or cinderblock print) on Mother Earth is always a good thing, right?

Sure, yeah, right…if we were living anywhere other than in America–land of the free and home of the bigger-is-better credo.

Need I say more?

Need I say more?

And this is why tiny houses make my head hurt. My counterintuition intuition is all kinds of confused. Plus, I bet more than a few tiny homeowners (that is to say the homes are tiny, not necessarily the owners) hit their heads while navigating in and out of their tiny homes.

So heads are hurting, People. Good thing I’m here to end the suffering.

And you thought this was the neighborhood children's playhouse.

And you thought this was the neighborhood children’s playhouse.

I first became aware of the Tiny Houses Craze (THC)–not to be confused with the inebriating substance in marijuana about which I swear I know nothing–while trapped in a hotel room with cable TV. I saw an episode of Tiny House Hunters (again, the houses were tiny; the hunters were medium-to-large sized). Like a sexy blonde sloppy drunk slurring her heart out into the Karaoke mic to Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” (any similarities to myself during a particularly difficult period in my youth is purely coincidental), I had to keep watching the show.

Hey, it could happen to anyone.

Hey, it could happen to anyone.

A very thin man (a farmer), his plump wife (stay-at-home mother and entrepreneur who needed a home office), their 3 children (all under the age of 5) and a 60-pound dog who looked like he shed a lot were looking for a place to live other than the basement of the husband’s parent’s house.

Are you getting the picture? Good.

At the beginning of the show, the realtor (who may also have had a self-storage business on the side), asked the couple about their “wish list” and goals. I’m working from my fallible memory here, but here’s what I think they said they needed in their new home:

  • independence from parents/in-laws
  • a separate bedroom for them (because 3 children might not be enough of a family for a farmer and part-time party-planner to support)
  • an open-concept floor plan (yes, they wanted that wide open, spacious feel for entertaining guests and keeping an eye on the kids because there are so many places to hide in these embryonic structures.
  • nothing bigger than 600 square feet because his truck couldn’t haul anything bigger and they wanted to take their home on vacations when they went on the mythical vacations they imagined as a happy family of 5+ living in 600 square feet that followed them on their vacation.
  • space for a home office
Is the person and dog in this picture: a. jumping for tiny house joy b. stretching after tiny house confinement c. attempting tiny house escape. d. experiencing brief psychotic episode.

Is the person and dog in this picture:
a. jumping for tiny house joy?
b. stretching after tiny house confinement?
c. attempting tiny house escape?
d. experiencing a brief, tiny psychotic episode?

At the first commercial break, I wondered if this was a comedy spoof of House Hunters. When the show resumed and the couple began “touring” 3 tiny houses of varying sizes and styles, I knew someone wasn’t kidding.

Stay tuned for my next installment when I answer the questions:

  • Will Farmer Skinny and Mrs. Plump find a tiny bit of happiness or a decent marriage counselor for their tiny domestic issues?
  • Is it possible for a tiny house to be too big?
  • What is behind these all these tiny houses (besides very large, insulated, tricked-out, multi-room garages)?
  • Where the heck have I been all summer?
Just spent some time at the Oregon coast with my guys (Phil and Fozzie).

Hint: I just spent some time at the Oregon coast with my guys (Phil and Fozzie). 

And, hey, People, it’s kind of nice to be back! I hope you still remember me.

Who? What? Lorna's resurfaced? Well, I suppose otter things have happened in recent memory. What's the otterest thing that's happened to you lately?

Who? What? Lorna’s resurfaced? Well, I suppose otter things have happened in recent memory. What’s the otterest thing in your world these days?

 

 

Summertime, and the living is…kooky.

•June 7, 2016 • 44 Comments
This might be my next campaign, but, for now, I need one these posters for sunshine.

This might be my next campaign, but, for now, I need one these posters for sunshine.

If you live in a part of the world where summer has arrived, this post is for you. Consider it a Dizzy Blonde Public Service Announcement.

You’re totally welcome.

If you don’t live in a part of the world where it’s summertime, just wait. And by “just wait,” I mean:

  • wait for the weather to turn hot and sticky (which is just “icky” with a “st” stuck on the front of it because everything sticks to things during summer)
  • wait for bugs to start bugging you because that’s what they do
  • wait for SPF 100 sunscreen to stain your clothes putrid yellow while letting your skin burn AND feel as if it will never be clean again
  • wait for fans, air conditioners and capri pants in your size to be sold out

But don’t in any way, shape, or form, wait to read this post because it still has handyful infodatascoopage if you ever go outside.

Okay?

Good.

For some reason, when summer arrives, people want to wear skimpy duds and spend time exposed outside (of their houses, which are air conditioned and, you know, safe from things that are, you know, outside).

Hey, I'm all for fun puns, but not like this. Excuse me while I change my sheets.

Hey, I’m all for fun puns, but not like this. Excuse me while I change my sheets. Or hide under them.

Don’t ask me to explain these facts. I’m just reporting it.

Anyway, if you adventure outside going or seeing something that you couldn’t experience perfectly safely and second-handly in the comfort of your favorite chair/bed/whatever on cable TV, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, the Interwebz, etcetera, … um, where was I going with this?

Oh yeah. If you’re foolish enough to expose yourself to the grueling outdoors, at least take some uncommon sense precautions. I offer uncommon sense, because that’s all I have.

You’re probably going to have to drive to get to wherever you think the fun is happening. For cupcake’s sake, do not drive while distracted. Do you how many people never come back home alive because they drove without driving? Or they got hit by someone who was only pretending to drive? Oh, don’t look so confused. You know who you are! You’re probably reading this post on your phone or desktop while you’re driving!

And it’s not just phones that distract drivers.

Look closely. The passenger in this Subaru is a goat. That's baaaaad enough, but the kid is not buckled in. Took this picture while driving through Longview, WA.

Look closely. The passenger in this Subaru is a goat. That’s baaaaad enough, but the kid is not buckled in. Took this picture while driving through Longview, WA.

Once you get to wherever you decided to expose yourself to alpha, beta, gamma, bippity, boppity, and boop rays, you have to know that wild critters are also going to be out there. They have a playbook. In the “Summertime” chapter, the instructions are quite clear. “Go to picnic areas. Preferably near water. Wait. Humans will come. They will bring food. They are food. They are neither fast nor clever. They wear flip-flops. Do not be ashamed of the easy pickings. Remember that winter is not far away.”

How many "Do not feed the bears" warnings do we need, People? Took this photo right in my own neighborhood. Good thing this guy was both full and distracted...

How many “Do not feed the bears” warnings do we need, People? Took this photo right in my own neighborhood. Good thing this guy was both full and distracted…

Critters do not have to be wild to behave in ways that could startle, create havoc, or ruin a perfectly yucky day in the sweltering heat.

Cats dart out and scare you all the time. Do they really need help? I saw this feller while walking Fozzie. Good thing Foz was on a leash. Setting the video to music was his idea. Fozzie is a very artsy guy.

If you really must go camping, People, make sure your equipment is in good condition.

I know it's nice to have A/C in your camper, but, really? This little gem was parked in my neighborhood. Nice, huh?

I know it’s nice to have A/C in your camper, but, really? This little gem was parked in my neighborhood. Nice, huh?

You may, after reading this, deduce that I have something against summer.

Au contraire! (That’s “you silly, silly, goose!” in French.) I’m an invisible card-carrying Buddhist (the card is invisible, not me–just thought that might need explaining). I make no judgments. I understand that all things simply are…until they aren’t. My only intention was to warn you of the possible challenges you might encounter as you go out into the glaring sun looking for fun.

I sense my work here is done.

I'm cool with your karma. Now let my sleeping dogma lie, K?

I’m cool with your karma. Now let my sleeping dogma lie, K?

 

So, how’s the weather in your corner of the world?

 

She’s done it again!

•May 27, 2016 • 12 Comments
She's done it again! And she's styling' while she's doin' it!

She’s done it again! And she’s styling’ while she’s doin’ it!

No, not me…although I can understand why you might think I was up to some chichi, froufrou shenaniganery.

I have a reputation to revivify (hey, it’s a real word–look it up)!

But this post is not about me (for once).

It’s about my friend and yours, Paulette Mahurin. You know, the author extraordinaire who:

  1. writes awesome, gripping, award-winning books.
  2. donates ALL profits from her book sales to rescue shelter dogs.
  3. is one of the angels who walks among us.

She has just released her 4th book, The Seven Year Dress.

Aren't you intrigued?

Aren’t you intrigued?

Here is my 5-star review of it.

Never one to shy away from difficult and important topics, Mahurin has bestowed upon the reading public yet another compelling novel that will appeal to a wide range of audiences: history buffs, humanitarians, anyone who enjoys reading a story with complex characters and a gripping plot.

When I read The Seven Year Dress, I was reminded of the slogan, “The personal is the political.” This novel is based on the true story of a Holocaust survivor, Helen. Through her story, from living a simple life of contentment with her family in Berlin to her horrifying internment in Auschwitz, I came to understand how seemingly distant political machinations can rain down on a person’s life, altering it in inconceivable ways. Conversely, moment-by-moment decisions of individuals (Helen, Ben, Max, Ester, to name but a few) impact the trajectory of their lives and the lives of countless others. The novel is both a tribute to Helen’s perseverance (the personal) and a reminder about what can happen to societies when hatred runs amok (the political).

The Seven Year Dress does something that, in my opinion, other novels, and treatises on the Holocaust do not. Mahurin invites us into the most intimate thoughts, emotions, and desires of her protagonist and other characters with whom Helen shared her journey. The topic of intimacy is raised in a number of ways throughout the book. In this way, Mahurin imbues her characters and her novel with an authenticity I have rarely seen in these types of novels. She handles this area of human experience with delicacy, respect, and veracity. For example, Helen is a young woman who yearns for the comfort of a lover’s attention; instead, she must find private ways to handle her needs because she is in hiding from the Nazis. Or her best friend who remains loyal to her, Max (a member of the Hitler Youth, then a full-fledged Nazi), is gay but only shares his secret with Helen. Before reading this novel, I never thought about any of the prisoners having (or wanting) a sex life or any of the Nazis having sexual secrets they needed to keep.

Did Mahurin set out to write a book simply to tell Helen’s story and write a book reminding us of the consequences of hatred combined with absolute power? Or did Mahurin set out to write a book about man’s inhumanity to man using Helen’s story as a vehicle and write a compassionate portrait of a cadre of commendable, unforgettable characters who taught me about living, hope, and love because of their suffering? Does it really matter? I’m just glad she wrote The Seven Year Dress and can’t wait for the next book!

The book is almost as long as this review.

Nuff said!

Do yourself and some sweet pups a favor: buy this book. And be sure to leave a review in all the usual places! Reviews help independent authors in so many ways.

You can buy her book on Amazon in either paperback or as an e-book.

Okay, Mom! You read the book to me and I'll pup-talk you through posting another review for this 5-bark book. Deal?

Okay, Mom! You read the book to me and I’ll pup-talk you through posting another review for this 5-bark book. Deal?

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,293 other followers

%d bloggers like this: