Two bookworms getting down and dirty

•November 21, 2016 • 12 Comments
You need to focus, People. This is not something you want to miss. Silence the voices in your head and enjoy the ride!

You need to focus, People. This is not something you want to miss. Silence the voices in your head and enjoy the ride!

 

Writers write. Readers read. Writers read. Readers write. And it’s about darned time this dizzy blonde blogger writes about something you’re going to love to read. Not this blog, but the book being featured. Well, the blog, too. Oh, heck fire, this is harder than it looks.

Give me another try. I can fake the relaxed, comfortable, and naturally alluring look. It can't be that hard.

Give me another try. I can fake the relaxed, comfortable, and naturally alluring look. It can’t be that hard.

So strap yourself in for another zany author interview.

This time, Lori Virelli from the blog Lori’s Lane, has agreed to drop in to talk about her collection of short stories in a memoir entitled Home Avenue. For the week of Thanksgiving, she’s giving it away for FREE! Thanks, Lori!

This is Lori. See what a happy writer she is?

This is Lori. See what a happy writer she is?

 

This is her memoir available on Amazon.

This is her memoir available on Amazon.

 

I read Lori’s book and here’s what I had to say after giving it 5-star review: Grab a cup of coffee or tea and curl up with this charming little book. Each of the stories are written straight from Virelli’s heart and surely will touch yours. From the smallest, quirkiest details of what makes families so, shall I say, interesting, to touching on broad themes about life, love, connections, and what it means to be human, this author adeptly taps into everyone’s life by sharing her own memories in such a poignant way.

I haven't done one of these interviews in a long time, so I'm going to have reinvent my wheel. I've already warned Lori that I'll be changing personas during the interview, just to see what works best. So just bear with me me.

Don’t tell Lori, but I haven’t done one of these interviews in a long time. She thinks I’m really good at this. But I’m going to have to reinvent my wheel. I’ll be changing personas during the interview, just to see what works best. So just bear with me.

 

Lorna, thanks so much for showcasing my book, Home Avenue. And you're idea of us both taking on the personas of bookworms sounds quite fun! I can't wait to get started.

Lorna, thanks so much for showcasing my book, Home Avenue. And your idea of us both taking on the personas of bookworms sounds quite fun! I can’t wait to get started. You’re so clever!

 

Did I say that we would BOTH be book worms? Silly me!

Did I say that we would BOTH be book worms? Silly me! Well, you’ve been busy with your 2nd book and you probably got confused. Let’s get down to business because I’m a working girl and time is money, Honey. Tell me the story behind the title of your memoir.

 

Wow. You look great. Any chance I can change my bookworm costume? No, huh? That's okay. I understand.

Wow. You look great. Any chance I can change my bookworm costume? No, huh? That’s okay. I understand. Home Avenue, is the title of one of the short stories in my memoir and also the name of the street where I grew up.

 

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Fascinating. I grew up, well, never mind. This is about you, not me. So, has writing a book always been a dream of yours, or is this a more recent goal?

 

Writing a book(s) has always been my dream, although what my books looked like morphed into different ideas over the years.

Writing a book(s) has always been my dream, although what my books looked like morphed into different ideas over the years. Um, Lorna? Why do you keep changing your look?

 

I’m asking the questions, here, Lori. Trust me. I’m a pro at this. I’m a real pro at many, many things. Whew! Is it warm in here? Back to the interview…Every book has a story. What’s the story behind this book?

 

Sorry, Lorna. I'll stick to script. I'm just having s dickens of a time trying to follow you. Anyway. The story behind the book. This anthology’s story takes a look at my dysfunctional family in a light-hearted fashion and with a sense of humor. Sometimes we just have to laugh at ourselves to get through life. Each tale ends on either a humorous or inspirational note.

Sorry, Lorna. I’ll stick to script. I’m just having a dickens of a time trying to follow you. Anyway. The story behind the book. This anthology’s story takes a look at my dysfunctional family in a light-hearted fashion and with a sense of humor. Sometimes we just have to laugh at ourselves to get through life. Each tale ends on either a humorous or inspirational note.

 

Hey, Lori, when you roll with me, you never know what's going to happen. I never do! So, What's something unexpected you learned from writing this book?

Hey, Lori, when you roll with me, you never know what’s going to happen. I never do! And I appreciated the humor in your book. People take themselves way too seriously. Not me, but you probably guessed that. So, speaking of unexpected (we were, right?), what’s something unexpected you learned from writing this book?

 

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Well, nothing as surprising as  this interview! Okay. Let’s see. I let my family read it first. I was worried they might be offended. I was surprised to learn that no one had an issue with any part of the stories, and in fact, they loved them.

 

It's so uplifting to find that your family doesn't hate your work, isn't it?

It’s always a plus when your family doesn’t hate your work, isn’t it? Last question, Lori. What inspires you or lifts you up?

 

This may sound like a joke-cliché from a comedy, but pardon the pun, I’m an open book. Each morning I read and repeat affirmations for inspiration and then meditate on them. Having been raised in a pessimistic home, as you’ll read in the anthology, it’s always a challenge for me to keep a positive focus.

This may sound like a cliché from a comedy, but I’m an open book. Each morning I read and repeat affirmations for inspiration and then meditate on them. Having been raised in a pessimistic home, as you’ll read in the anthology, it’s always a challenge for me to keep a positive focus.

 

Open book! Great pun, Lori! I devour good books from great authors like you. That keeps me happy as a worm (forget clams—they can't be all that chipper).

Open book! Great pun, Lori! I devour good books from great authors like you. That keeps me happy as a worm (forget clams—they can’t be all that chipper crawling around in the muck).

 

Thank you Lorna, for inviting me for this interview to discuss my projects. I’m honored that you would host me.

Thank you Lorna, for inviting me for this interview to discuss my projects. I’m honored that you would host me.

 

II'm happy to help out a blogger buddy and author pal. Now I have to get back to this editing job I've been working on. Murdering someone else's darlings is more fun than I thought it would be.

I’m happy to help out a blogger buddy and author pal. Now, I have to get back to this editing job I’ve been working on. Murdering someone else’s darlings is more fun than I thought it would be.

 

And just so you know, Lori’s new novel is Whit’s End. It is hot off the presses (11/20/2016) and available in ebook form at Amazon for $0.99!

Two unhappily married women starving for affection from their husbands meet other men who can satisfy their hunger. Ava and Meg are married to the dysfunctional Whitaker brothers. Should they compromise their deep-rooted family values and moral integrity? One chooses to work harder on her marriage. The other opts to have an affair. Family bonds shatter. Friendships suffer. Forced to dig deep within to face ugly truths, Ava and Meg grow in ways they didn't know possible.

Two unhappily married women starving for affection from their husbands meet other men who can satisfy their hunger. Ava and Meg are married to the dysfunctional Whitaker brothers. Should they compromise their deep-rooted family values and moral integrity? One chooses to work harder on her marriage. The other opts to have an affair. Family bonds shatter. Friendships suffer. Forced to dig deep within to face ugly truths, Ava and Meg grow in ways they didn’t know possible.

 

New-Fangled Voting Machine Confuses Old-Fangled Voter

•November 7, 2016 • 14 Comments

Okay, Mom can’t find her aprons any more. She rarely cooks for herself anyway. But her phone is stuck to her wall and she has a cell phone but hates it.

My mom doesn’t like change. She’s spry for her age, which is on the “pushing it” side of “over the hill. According to her, she’s seen enough change in her life that she’s like things to stay the same from now on. I can’t fault her for that.

I love her. She’s the only parent I have. That means she’s my mom and my dad. That also means that I have to accept that she:

  • will never own a computer.
  • won’t read my books unless they’re in print because e-books aren’t real.
  • doesn’t trust dishwashers.
  • won’t throw anything away because she “might need that someday.”

You need to know these things because a few years ago her county in NYS went ahead and changed the voting  process from the old click-the-lever behemoth phone-booth-sized machines to scanned paper ballots. This threw Mom for a loop, and Mom doesn’t do loops very well. Thank goodness she got her first scare during a school budget vote.

Ah, the good old days with good old voting machines with good old levers and good old men inside them. No wonder Mom loved these machines.

When she walked in and didn’t see the bank of phone  voting booths, she almost turned around and went home. But Mom never misses a chance to vote. She’s a naturalized citizen and knows more about American history than most Americans do. She takes her role as an American Citizen and her right to vote very seriously. She understands that it’s both a right and and privilege every time she clicks that lever.

Only now she doesn’t have a lever to click.

Mom was serious enough about voting to give this new-fangled process a try. Hey, it was just a school board vote. She signed in and got her large-screen-TV-sized ballot. Then she sat down at one of the little sectioned-off areas of a table and picked up this thick pen. She saw that she had to mark the dot of the School Board Candidate she wanted and then mark “Yes” or “No” on the school budget and several other items.

She picked up the pen and dabbed the circle. Nothing. She dabbed harder. Nothing. She tried looking around, but thought that people would think she was cheating or something, so she raised her hand, hoping someone would come over and help. Luckily someone did.

It’s not may fault. I have been given faulty equipment. See this book? The pages are all floppy. I can’t work like this.

“Do you need some help?”

“Yes. I’m trying to mark my ballot and nothing is happening,” she replied. My mom blushes easily and she was blushing.

“Let’s see if we can get you another pen.” The person left and returned with another pen.

“Thank you.” Mom is very polite. The person walked away to give her privacy. Again she pushed the pen on the circle. Nothing. She tried both ends of this new pen. Nothing.

She raised her hand again. “Yes?” asked the same person.

“This still isn’t working.” My mom’s voice was getting a little pitchy now. Voting should not be this hard. It was never this hard before. She was thinking this but was too polite to say it.

“Well, let’s see what I can do.” The person took the pen from Mom’s hand, pulled off the cap and tested the pen on a scrap piece of paper. “Hmm. The pen seems to have plenty of ink.”

Mom’s mouth just dropped. She thought because this was a 21st century way of voting, that the pen must be “magic.” You know, invisible ink or press and Presto! Vote-o!

She voted, and with head hung low, she walked to the man operating the “shredder thing” (known to most of us as the vote scanner). Mom let him insert her ballot.

Introducing the 21st Century Democrogreater. It counts and shreds to insure your privacy. Or does it shred and count to insure your privacy? Either way, no one will be sure if you voted, including you!

Let’s hope she had better luck this year! Let’s hope you do, too! Make sure you vote, okay? Mom would expect nothing less of you!

That’s not my mom. She could never stand in front of a crowd and speak into a microphone like that to tell you stories or lecture to you. That’s my job.

Vote for Fozzie!

•November 3, 2016 • 38 Comments
Look for the Foz's official election portrait when you vote.

Look for the Foz’s official election portrait when you vote.

Do you need a candidate you can fully support (and by “fully support” I mean you can actually pick up and carry around)?

Are you looking to vote for a a face you can love and trust (and by “love and trust” I mean actually love and trust)?

Are you tired of candidates tied to smarmy campaign financing, someone who doesn’t run with any super packs?

Do you want to cast your vote for a guy who knows how ruff it is for the average Bellas, Baileys, Maxes, Lucys, Mollies, and Charlies of America?

Do you want the candidate you vote for to listen to you? (And by “listen to you” I mean perk up if you have a treat and/or are making wild gesticulations that could mean fun times are ahead)?

The treat is behind Door #1. Come and get it, Cupcake!

The treat is behind Door #1. Come and get it, Cupcake!

Well, then, Fozzie is the simple choice NOW!

Don’t wait another minute to cast your vote for Fozzie, the Cutest Canine in Clark County, Washington. Click on the link and find his photo.

ALERT: You’ll have to scroll through lots of wannabes (remember the Republican Primaries last year?) to find The Foz.

The Foz is way cuter than any of these selections. And he's portable.

The Foz is way cuter than any of these selections. And he’s portable.

DOUBLE ALERT: When you click on his photo to vote, you’re going to have to give up some information to prove that you aren’t a spambot or a Russian spy. It’s the price we pay for freedom, People.

TRIPPLE ALERT: You can only vote once and, like this election, you don’t have to vote at all (unless you’re dead, in which case, someone else will decide for you if your dead voice matters). The Foz would never allow any rigged Poochie Election. That’s Bullsticks.

This promotional material was paid for by the Committee to Confirm Fozzie the Cutest Canine in Clark County and was 100% supported by Fozzie who is sleeping right now.
Campaigning is exhausting. I don't know how humans do it.

Campaigning is exhausting. I don’t know how humans do it.

And remember to vote on November 8 (if you haven’t voted already).
Every voice matters—up and down the ballot—in this and every election!

Dancing the Walk

•October 10, 2016 • 22 Comments

I have chronic bad news fatigue. How about you?
Maybe this will help.

See you on the other side, hopefully with a bit more bounce in your step and a smile on your face!

 

Mark Zuckerberg, Keep Your Paws Off My Idea

•September 29, 2016 • 26 Comments

My human finally left her laptop alone. She’s doing something human-ish in her sewing room. It involves steam and some cussing.

She peeks out every once in a while to get fresh air. Heck if I know what she's making in there. I think she she's making herself a drippy blonde.

She peeks out every once in a while to get fresh air. Heck if I know what she’s making in there. I think she’s making herself a drippy dizzy blonde.

Anyway, if you other non-human family members are anything like me, you’re hungry lonely, right? We were meant to roam around, all wild-like, hunting, eating what we find, rolling in stinky stuff, and coming back home as disgusting as possible to sleep and eat some more. I know because sometimes I watch YouTube videos.

If that’s not wild, I don’t know what is.

Plus, we’re pack critters. Even you cats like to hang out with other cats…sometimes…when you’re in the mood. But most of us are just cooped up in our houses all day with our lame squeaky toys or valuable furniture to chew or scratch. Isolated. Waiting for something interesting to do.

The poodle part of me is smart and wants stimulation. The terrier part of me is curious and wants stimulation. This rug ain't doin' it for me, Mom.

The poodle part of me is smart and needs stimulation. The terrier part of me is curious and wants stimulation. This rug ain’t doin’ it for me, Mom.

Well, wait no more! I’ve been watching my human spend hours a day on her laptop. When she’s not walking me and telling me to deliver her a “nice poopie,” that woman is typing away. I bet sometimes she’s talking to real live virtual people.

We non-humans want some of that action. At least I do!

So I’m launching a new social network for non-humans (teenagers don’t count because they have more cyber connections than I have hairs on my chinny-chin-chin). I’m calling it “The Petting Zoo,” and it’s open to any non-human that:

  1. is lonely and wants to hook up with other non-humans on the Interwebs.
  2. has access to a computer.
  3. can set up a free account.
  4. can get their human away from the computer long enough to use the darned thing.

Birds have an advantage with their hunt-and-peck keyboarding skills.

That's not what I meant, but, okay.

That’s not what I meant, but, okay.

Any of us with paws will have a harder time setting up our accounts and sending messages. If I could just pee on the screen and broadcast “Fozzie is online,” I would be a virtual star in dog-seconds. But until humanoids develop scent technology and bark/meow/whatever-noise-you-make-recognition programs for computers, I’m going to have to figure out a way to get my paws to do my talking. You are, too.

What do you think these paws are saying?

What do you think these paws are saying?

I’m sure your human has many adorable pictures of you, so you can post one so we can all see who we’re connecting with. Make sure it’s a recent photo and a real one. I don’t want to be thinking I’m getting cozy with a smooth-talking snickerdoodle only to find out the hard way that I’ve been telling my tails to a cheating Chihuahua. Or worse. A certain Kamikaze Kat.

What do you think? Will your humans help you set up your account on “The Petting Zoo” social network page? Here’s some of the features I have planned:

Scratch ‘n SniffIntroduce yourself by sharing your identity and other sensitive information that could get you kidnapped. But that’s okay. You’re looking for some excitement in your life, and nothing spells excitement like your picture on posters all over the neighborhood with a nice reward.

Piddle-Rub-Roll—Invite others to become part of your petting zoo by leaving your irresistible “calling card.” Like “friending,” only stinkier.

Crotch Jab/Butt Rub—Remind your new online pals that you’re here and they need to get online and play. Like “poking,” only…no, it’s the same as poking.

Treats—Show your Petting Zoo mates that you like them (or what they sent) by sending them a cyber-treat. The more treats you collect, the more popular you are. Treats are good for your ego.

Change Your Collar/Litter/Cage/Water—Share updates in your life (got neutered/spayed, new pet in the house, things like that) that your Petting Zoo pals need to know.

Petty Zoo—Have a bug (figurate or literal)? Are you a peeved pet? Prance that rant in this section of your page.

Pooper Scoop—Newsie-mac-news-related items you’d tweet about if you were a bird, but can’t, so you wag your tongue about it here.

Boneyard—Post pictures of all the rotten dead things you’ve been playing with lately to impress your pals. You’ll probably need help from your human to let you keep the rotten dead thing and take a picture of it. Use your charm.

I may add other features as the platform develops. If it develops. I may be cute, but my techie skills are all bark, no byte.

Sorry. I'm the creative genius and the good looks of this operation. I need some technocat with brains to partner with me.

Sorry. I’m the creative genius and the good looks of this operation. I need some techno-cat with brains to partner with me.

Any suggestions? Just tweet, meow, bark, squeak, bubble, slime, or mind-meld your ideas to me. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a flipping miracle to build a social network site for critters.

If humanoids can do this to cheese, we must be able to figure out a way to hook up pets online. Wait. That sounds way more painful than I intended. You know what I mean. Plus I'm just a dog. Give me a break.

If humanoids can do this to cheese, we must be able to figure out a way to hook up pets online. Wait. That sounds way more painful than I intended. You know what I mean. Plus I’m just a dog. Give me a break.

So, all paws (claws, fins, and wings) on deck, Crits!
What do you think?

 

 

 
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