Sunday, May 7, 2017

How 'Bout Some More Ad Nauseum?

Yup. I found some more annoying commercials. Ready? Let's see how many of these annoy you.

1. Flonase. "...six is greater than one." No kidding?! Is this how stupid we've become? We need someone to tell us six is more than one?

2. All Laundry Detergent. You know the ad. The one with the sanctimonious soccer mom who points her kid out as "the one in white" when all the kids are in white blouses, but her kid's blouse is the whitest because she uses All. I really want to punch her in the throat.

3. Movantik. Anyone else creeped out by "Frank's" laugh when he talks about his doctor asking him how long he'd been holding in his opioid-induced constipation? No? Just me, huh.

4. Locally, my back goes up every time one of our voiceovers says, "joolery" for "jewelry." There are several.

5. I'm also sick of local business owners putting their adorable kids or grandkids in their commercials. Trust me, they're not as cute to the consumer as they are to you.

6. JetBlue's "Fly Faster Than You Think" ads. Is there a time limit on when you can use the miles? Is that why that poor woman has to go on a honeymoon even though she's not married? Or that guy winds up pitching a business he hasn't planned beyond the name to a room full of potential investors? This doesn't seem like a great message. Maybe I'm wrong.

7. Maya Rudolph's "vajingle" for Seventh Generation's feminine hygiene products. If you haven't seen it, count your lucky stars. Do *not* Google it.

What about you? Got a commercial that drives you nuts?

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

It's Tax Day - Go Get Some Free Stuff

Yup. Today is the last day to file those income taxes here in the US. But fear not, my friends. The news isn't all bad. Lots of companies are participating in freebies to help ease the burden. Here are a few you can partake in today:

Spent your time hunched over faded receipts? Reward your back with a free hydromassage from Planet Fitness. Coupon available on their website.

How about a cookie from Great American Cookie (if you're lucky enough to have one near you)?

Office Depot is offering free shredding (up to 5 pounds) with their coupon available on their website to keep you secure. Staples will provide up to 2 pounds of bulk paper shredding with their coupon.

Need the hard stuff? World of Beer is offering a free draught or $5 off your total check.

So reward yourself for all your hard work. You've earned it.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"And then the murders began."

According to The Hook (visit this site), adding "And then the murders began" as the second sentence in any book makes it instantly better.

Challenge accepted--with my own books. Let's have some fun, shall we? And I won't cheat by making it the second or third sentence if it doesn't make sense in its placement or comes in the middle of dialogue. Second sentence only. Ready? Let's do this:

THE BONDS OF MATRI-MONEY: "Of course we'll appeal the decision." And then the murders began.

A LITTLE SLICE OF HEAVEN: Kyle Hayden huddled near the rancid dumpster, shielding a fistful of yellow mums from the wicked October wind. And then the murders began.

A RUN FOR THE MONEYWhen Nicole Fleming squirmed, the sound of sweaty thighs unsticking from her leather chair resonated like a blaring trumpet. And then the murders began.

NOBODY'S DARLING“Everyone is looking for a mother to care for them.” And then the murders began.

NOBODY'S BUSINESS: "I bet, in your wildest dreams, you never thought you'd be living with your mother at your age." And then the murders began.

NOBODY'S PERFECTStuck in morning rush hour traffic with her mother and her younger sister, Summer Raine Jackson understood the true meaning of torture. And then the murders began.

CHASING ADONIS: Persephone, goddess of the Underworld, fought to stifle her delight at this luscious turn of events. And then the murders began.

ETERNALLY YOURS: Jodie Devlin sucked at life. And then the murders began.

IN YOUR DREAMS: Sean Martino stared over the stark world of the Chasm and steeled against another round of shivers. And then the murders began.

WAITING IN THE WINGS: Death was no place for pussies. And then the murders began.

DUPING CUPID: "I need a man." And then the murders began.

CHARMING FOR MOTHER'S DAY: O.C.I.F.: Oh, crap, it's Friday. And then the murders began.

DUET IN SEPTEMBER: "It's one lousy month, Nia." And then the murders began.

REUNION IN OCTOBER: No one should have to face a morning with decaf. And then the murders began.

HOMECOMING IN NOVEMBER: I looked up at the new sign over the storefront and stifled a shudder that had nothing to do with the first day of November's chilly wind. And then the murders began.

So...what do you think? Which one's your favorite? Share yours, if you've got one. Or choose your favorite book.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

It's Pajama Day! Yay!

Winter Storm Stella is bearing down on the east coast today, and the universe has declared this a Pajama Day. Zoe the Wonder Pup and I love Pajama Day. For those who don't experience winter nor'easter storms, you can't possibly understand the thrill of being advised to stay in your home to avoid getting stuck on snowy roads. For writers with day jobs (like me), this is a golden opportunity to refuse to get dressed, and instead, to drink lots of coffee, snuggle up with a roaring fire, and get writing done. There is no guilt since you can't go to work, can't go to the gym, can't even get to Starbucks. What's a girl to do? 

Write! In your pajamas! All day! What decadence.

Of course, reality will eventually creep in and we'll have to shovel all that snow off the driveway so we can get to the day job and the gym and Starbucks tomorrow. 

But for right now, Pajama Day is a glorious feeling. Enjoy, my fellow northeasterners, and stay safe!

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Saturday, March 4, 2017

Ad Nauseum - Part Deux

If you know me, you know I usually have the TV or music on in any house or hotel room I'm currently in. I can't think in a vacuum and total silence creeps me out. Since I listen to music most of the day at Le Day Job, at night, the television's on--mainly for background noise. I rarely pay much attention to what's on unless Hubster and I are binge-watching a new favorite show. 

This means it's time for my review of the latest round of commercials that make me nuts.


Let's do it.

First off, whoever is in charge of marketing for the animated movie, "Sing," needs to switch to decaf. Look, I get it. You wanted to promote the movie. But when I'm watching adult-oriented programs, and okay, maybe a few parents are watching, too, but most of us don't need to see the same ad three times in a row during every commercial break! (No lie.) Slow down, Skippy. Give someone else a turn.

Next, Volvo. In particular, the poet who writes "Afoot and lighthearted, I take to the open road..." while driving his Volvo. The editor in me cringes at the repetitive words and the meandering pattern. If the message is supposed to be driving a Volvo inspires your creative side, maybe hire a real poet to write something meaningful, instead of tapping Bill in the corner cubicle.

Huntington Learning Center. The teenager shouting at her mother in the supermarket that she's not getting into college. Really? If your teenage daughter has a tantrum in the produce aisle, you've got bigger problems than whether she'll get to college.

Toilet paper commercials. First of all, do we really need commercials for toilet paper? Is there competition from some alternative that threatens the market? Yes, I know, it's all about the brand, but quite frankly, the ad execs are going a little overboard. Bears tell us to "enjoy the go," while I'm also led to believe bathroom decor is watching me in there. Ick.

It's not all bad, though. I love Subaru's driving dogs and break out in giggles whenever I see them. The new Mr. Clean commercial that debuted during the Super Bowl gets a thumbs-up from me.

What about you? Got a favorite, or one that makes you crazy? Tell me!

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Happy Groundhog Day!

I know I'm not alone when I say this day of the year always reminds me of the movie classic starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell.

And I also know I'm about to get pelted with cyber rotten tomatoes when I say, while I do like the movie, the writer in me hates the major flaw that ruins it for me every single time.

That flaw? The lack of growth in Andie's character, Rita.

Before you hurl that piece of fruit, take a sec to think about it. People have spent years figuring out how long that one day actually was for Bill's character, Phil Connors. Creator Harold Ramis intended it to last about ten years, but the current consensus is thirty-four years.

But for Rita, it's just one day. She starts out at the beginning of the movie, barely able to tolerate him, convinced he's an egotistical jerk because...well, let's face it...he is! One day later (in her world), he's bought her coffee, she sees him at a town dance where he quotes a bit of French poetry (remember, she's not with him when he saves the homeless man or stops the mayor from choking, or helps the ladies with their flat tire--though those ladies do regale her about what a great man he is), he plays the piano, gives a newlywed couple tickets to Wrestlemania, and all of a sudden she's paying all the money in her checkbook for a date with him (where he creates a nice ice sculpture of her). Fast forward, they've spent the night together, and she's madly in love. Huh? What happened?

What's worse is that many of his changes in regards to her are about manipulation. He doesn't always say a prayer and drink to world peace; he says that because it will get her to stick around. There's no evidence he suddenly loves French poetry; he uses it to seduce her. 

Yes, the movie's a fantasy and yes, I know I have to suspend some credibility to make it work, but dang! That's a whole lotta character credibility to suspend. So, in this age of remakes, if anyone ever decides to redo Groundhog Day, could we include some kind of growth arc for Rita?

What are your thoughts? Or tell me what movie most people love you don't get and why?

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Happy Ten Years Published Anniversary to Me!

Well, lookie there! It's February 2017, and ten years ago this month, my very first published manuscript, THE BONDS OF MATRI-MONEY, was released by Avalon Books.

So much has changed in the book world since those long-ago days.

The e-reader burst on the scene, and readers around the world could carry hundreds of books on a device that fit in a purse.

The internet exploded, allowing us to do much of our research online through articles, photographs, and videos.

The owner of Avalon Books retired and sold our backlist to Amazon. Our hardcover books were converted to paperback and digital formats, opening up a whole new audience for most of us.

Many publishers merged or folded, leaving fewer houses for all the authors.

Many bookstores went out of business, leaving a lot less shelf space.

Self-publishing, long scorned and belittled, became a viable option, allowing great stories (and some not-so great stories) to find an audience without a gatekeeper.

Social media transformed the way readers and writers interacted.

For the next month, to celebrate my "tin" anniversary, I'll be giving away free books, gift cards, and little surprises. So post comments here on my blog over the next 28 days to be in the running.

Today, tell me what other changes occurred in the last ten years in publishing, or which one you believe has had the greatest impact on the industry.

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