Book Nooks

Fragonard,_The_ReaderWhere is YOUR favorite place to read? Most of us have a preferred place—a comfy couch or chair—where we hunker down with a good book. How does your book nook compare to other readers’ favorite spots?

An informal and thoroughly unscientific survey conducted on twitter, Facebook, and while attending a big party netted interesting responses. Using sophisticated tabulation methods (cough-cough)…

the results are in!

Book Nooks

Bed: #1 place to read: The is the perfect read-until-your-eyes-are-blurry location, but do these readers only read at night? A few bookworms stated it was the one place to escape  the household hubbub.

Sofa: Great for getting comfy. A drink nearby (see Beverage & Book Pairings) and pillows are optional.

Comfy chair: Whether inside or outside, recliner or Adirondack, the reading chair is a temple to the written word. Almost a throne…which leads to the next location.

The Throne: Only a few brave souls admitted to this. Hey, some people like to take advantage of every moment of ‘down time’ possible.

Chaise lounge on the beach: Can we hear a resounding YEAH! The soothing sounds of the surf along with the inspiring sight of sea and horizon makes it an intoxicating place to read and ponder.

Hammock: Had the pleasure of reading my first Sookie Stackhouse novel while swaying in a hammock on an Ecuadorian beach. Heaven. If only I could convince my hubby to install one in the backyard.

Mile high reading club: If you’re a reader—and you must be if you’re reading this post—the invention of the e-reader was a godsend. No longer did you need to lug multiple paperbacks in your carry-on. Some SERIOUS reading gets done on an airplane. ( Unless, of course, you sit next to someone who loves to read the genre you write & then you can make a new friend and talk books & authors! Confession: Several seatmates have downloaded my novels.

Dining room/kitchen chair: Reading and eating is so much safer to do at the table. With the proper space between book and food, there is little chance of crumbs or spills soiling your book or e-reader. The downside: Do you remember what you ate?

Train/Bus/Car/ Vanpool: Reading for those immune from motion sickness. Reading while speeding down the freeway is do-able. Stop-n-go traffic, not so much. My son assures me that one day cars will be self-driving ( like in the movie i-Robot ) Imagine how much reading we might do!!!

Floating pool chaise: So decadent! The sun’s heat, the chlorinated cool splash, the soothing motion—great for the glam novel. Floating loungers with a handy-dandy beverage holder and/or retractable shade is reading BLISS. The ONE problem: If your e-reader decides to go for a swim. Hey Kindle or e-reader folks—make a waterproof version ( or case )! Observation: We sent a robot to Mars and yet our techno devices are not designed to be waterproof.

Treadmill/Exercise equipment: Several people swear by this location. It’s VERY multi-tasking fitness minded! Confession: My leg muscles and reading brain don’t sync. I forget to walk or pedal.

Floor: This might be fun for the young ‘uns. All I can say  is “ouch.”

Bathtub: This was surprising. My bath water gets cold in about 5 minutes. Maybe there’s a secret the bath-readers aren’t divulging.

Outside vs Inside: Many readers prefer reading outside! There’s nothin’ like reading a book on a nice day while surrounded by nature.

Plot + Nature + Comfy Chair = Readtopia.

Several respondents said they will read ANYWHERE.

Where is YOUR favorite book nook?

Many thanks to all those who put in their 2 reading cents.

Related links: Readin’ & Writin’


Super Heroes for Writers

superheroes for writersWriters are busy. In addition to brainstorming, outlining, plotting, and editing they must navigate and manage the Cyber world. This is no small feat and requires a few social media super heroes.

Here’s a few suggestions.

Acronymizer: Seeks out definitions for acronyms, protecting writer from cyber stupidity.

Blog Man: Delivers fresh blog material sure to captivate and entertain. Writes riveting error-free posts in a timely and visually appealing manner.

CrowdSorcerer: Harnesses readers, friends, friends of friends, followers, thinkers, and movers & shakers with skills to solve all the writer’s problems.

Like Monger: Likes and favorites comments and posts. Works closely with…

Comment Czar: Crafts savvy, witty, and pithy remarks that are NOT gender-political-race-religiously biased/ off-putting/ upsetting/ stupid.

Pinterest Girl: Assesses photos on Pinterest, repins, comments, and seeks out fresh crowd-appealing images.

Social Media Optimizer: (SMOer) Maximizes your content to target audience. Vets new platforms and investigates latest methods for making you a social media god. Jumps over slow Bandwagon and designs a rocket book-launcher.

The Podcastinator: Creates, manage, records, and films audio and video content. Knows best lighting to minimize your flaws and exploit your fabulosity.

Tag Boy: Blog Man’s sidekick. He includes the perfect keywords for your blog posts—catapulting your website into the glorious blogosphere where it will reap oodles of new reading stars.

Master Threader: Manages all the comments on your blog and responds to every comment made on multiple social media platforms.

Trolliac: Identifies trolls after their first comment and eradicates them from your feed. Does not engage.

Webinar: Leaps over tall social media platforms in a single URL. Faster than a speeding key word. Soars above the others with brilliant, relevant, innovative information sure to garner gazillions of new followers.

Note: A big thanks goes to author Avi Steinberg for the superhero idea!


What sort of super social media hero would you like having?

Related Posts: Readin’ & Writin’


Tunefully Yours

lyric 1st lineCatchy Song lyrics have a way of lodging in your brain. Dum-dum-dum- doo-dee-do….

Everyone knows the “Alphabet song” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” are the the same melody. And so is “Mary had a Little Lamb” and “London Bridge.”  So in the spirit of Weird Al Yankovic I’ve writer-ized opening lines to a few famous songs.

Note: Changes are bolded.


Well, it was just seventeen pages—if you know what I mean
  • The Beatles/ I Saw Her Standing There
I’m on the highway to editing  hell.
  • AC/DC / Highway to Hell
Why do adverbs suddenly appear every time an agent is near?
  • The Carpenters/ Close to You
Well, it’s one for the money, two for the read, three to get KDP, now go, Amazon, go!”
  • Carl Perkins / Blue Suede Shoes
There must be some kind of way out of here, said the writer to the plot problem.
  • Jimi Hendrix/ All Along the Watchtower
Hello, typos, my old friend
  • Simon and Garfunkel/ The Sound of Silence
You were working as a writer in a coffee shop, when I met you
  • Human League/ Don’t You Want Me
And you may find yourself living in a fictional world / And you may find yourself in another part of the world / And you may find yourself behind a laptop computer.
  • Talking Heads/ Once in a Lifetime
Guess what just got back today / Those wild-eyed queries I emailed away
  • Thin Lizzy / The Boys are back in Town
I get up, and social media management gets me down / You got it tough / I’ve seen the toughest tweeters around.
  • Van Halen/ Jump
Just a small town writer, livin’ in a lonely world / She took the FaceBook train goin’ anywhere.
  • Journey/ Don’t Stop Believin’
She’s a very kinky writer, the kind you don’t recommend  to mother.
  • Rick James/ Superfreak
Hello, is there any agent out there? Just email if you can hear me.
  • Pink Floyd/ Comfortably Numb
Ground Control to Major plot flaw
  • David Bowie/ Major Tom
The devil went down to a beta reader; he was lookin’ for a soul to steal.
  • Charlie Daniels Band/ The Devil Went Down to Georgia
A long, long time ago…
I can still remember
How that manuscript used to make me smile.
  • Don McLean/ American Pie
Welcome back, my friends
To the edits that never end
We’re so glad you could attend
Turn the page, turn the page
  • Emerson, Lake, & Palmer/ Karn Evil 9 – 1st Impression – Part 2
I like big sales and I cannot lie.
  • Sir Mix-A-Lot/ Baby Got Back
Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a character of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole the writer’s soul and faith
  • Rolling Stones/ Sympathy for the Devil

After writing this post, I know exactly what the next few blog topics will be. Stay tuned…

What opening-lines can you writer-ize?

Related links: Readin’ & Writin’


Biblical Allusions

biblical allusionjpgIn the western world, Christianity and the Bible are engrafted in our collective conscience. Most people—even non believers—know a bible story or two, which is why writers add depth and complexity with its timeless themes, stories, and iconic names.

The above photo is from the movie 300. At the end—warning: plot spoiler, King Leonidas dies and final scene shows his body position at his time of death, which really resembles that of a crucifixion. Was the screenwriter saying that Leonidas was Jesus? My guess is NO, but the position of his body does suggest that Leonidas sacrificed himself for his people. A second example is from Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea. The old man carries his boat over his shoulder ( like a cross) uphill ( Calvary) at the end of the novel. There are a thousands  and thousands of examples of biblical allusions from literature and film. The more you know your Bible the easier they will be to find.

What: The Bible’s timeless portrayals of betrayal, sin, falls from grace, loss of innocence, and redemption are brought to life within its pages.

Why:  Writers allude to the Bible for many reasons. It may be to:
1. explain a theme, problem,  experience, or event
2. reinforce a theme, problem, or experience, or event
3. add irony
4. satirize
5. condemn
6. foreshadow
7. characterize a person or place


How: Here’s just a tiny sampling of symbolic or metaphoric examples of common biblical allusions.
  • names of either places and/or people
  • garden ( Paradise )
  • 7 days
  • one brother killing another
  • tree of life/ tree of knowledge of good and evil
  • serpents
  • plagues
  • flood
  • parting of waters
  • loaves of water
  • no room at the inn
  • crucifixion
  • 40 days
  • escape from slavery
  • wandering in a dessert
  • milk and honey
  • being tempted by Satan
  • carpenter occupation
  • 12 friends
  • a cock crowing 3 times
  • flaming bushes
  • last suppers

Christianity doesn’t have an exclusive on religious allusion! Read novels and poems from other countries/cultures and expect allusions to Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, etc and their corresponding holy scriptures. Of course, if the reader is unfamiliar with the religion they won’t be able to identify the religious allusion.

So before dismissing a character’s name or circumstance as coincidental, ask yourself why the author may have alluded to the Bible ( or other religious text). For example:
  • a character named Eve ( or a variant of ) may tempt a man and get kicked out of a metaphoric paradise
  • a man with 12 friends may be betrayed by one of them

What biblical allusion have you used, read, and/or seen?

Related links: Rock Your Writing, Symbols & More Symbols


One-liners for Writers

one-linersIconic movie lines. Everybody knows them. We all quote them. And as writer’s we understand the value of a great one-liner. Famous movie lines also come in handy during  the course of a  writer’s day.

Here’s a few of my favorites, served with a side of snarky-sassy commentary.

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” ( Gone With The Wind )
  • All purpose response to anything that stops you from writing, be it a discouraging remark from a ‘friend’ to a disheartening blog post about the realities of publishing.
Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” ( Wizard of Oz )
  • A sentiment expressed by many wanna-be authors after listening to an agent panel discuss the publishing biz.
Go ahead, make my day.” ( Dirty Harry )
  • Feeling ( on the QT ) when you’ve discovered you have a troller blowing up your twitter feed.
May the Force be with you.” ( Star Wars )
  • My wish to newbies heading to their first pitch session.
“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” ( Network )
  • Shout directed to a paragraph or sentence that refuses to be written correctly.
“You can’t handle the truth!” ( A Few Good Men )
  • I might be wrong about this, but I think literary agents would like to say this to Does-My-Novel-Suck inquiring newbies.
“There’s no crying in baseball!” ( A League of Their Own )
  • Good to say to the mirror after receiving a rejection.
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” ( Jaws )
  • Response to folks who ask if their Once In A Blue Moon blog will build their writer platform.
Hasta la vista, baby.” ( Terminator )
  • Best spoken after hitting the SEND button on your unsolicited emailed query.
I’ll be back.” ( Terminator )
  • Directed at manuscript at the end of the day.
Badges?  We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinking badges.” ( The Treasure of the Sierra Madre )
  • Perfect reply when your writer’s conference name tag is left in the hotel room and you need to get into the auditorium to hear the keynote speaker.
“Houston, we have a problem.” ( Apollo 13 )
  • Good for anytime you’re trying to figure out a new writing program or new social media platform.
“I feel the need—the need for speed!” ( Top Gun )
  • Thoughts of many a writer trying to juggle all their social media accounts.
“Snap out of it!” ( Moonstruck )
  • Spoken by family or friends when a writer is in the zone.
“I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!” ( The Wizard of Oz )
  • Addressed to the adverbs still hiding in your manuscript.
“Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” ( Dirty Dancing )
  • Expressed after scheduling a free ebook giveaway.
“I’m the king of the world!” ( Titanic )
  • Spoken upon landing an agent and/or publishing deal.

What favorite movie line do YOU use?

Related Links: Readin’ & Writin’