I’m Baaaaaaaa-aaaack! Happy Holidays 2018!!

Hello and Happy Holidays to my dear Spectacular Subscribers and Ravishing Random readers!  Soooooo you may have noticed I took a WEE little tiny 4 year hiatus here!  Can I just say a HUGE thank you for you 29 subscribers who forgot you were subscribed to me and didn’t clean me out of your subscriptions!!  ❤  You are double the population of my twitter followers for the book I just published last month! (#sadirony). And yes!  I wrote a book!!!  I think it’s lovely but no one is buying it (see woeful 2nd half of today’s blog below).  If you would like a link to see my book on Amazon, please feel free to message me and I will supply it! It’s really quite an entertaining read (I say not humbly whatsoever)! 

So, for my blog reboot I am going to continue along the same themes of books, beauty, homelife, food, and of course writing. Some of you will notice from previous articles I am no longer married, but did in fact, after almost 4 years of being single, trade up for a far superior man I will henceforth call Captain Wentworth.  (You Austenites out there know what I’m talking about, right?)  {{Sly gangster style nods of appreciation happening towards phones and laptops by book nerds everywhere in cyberspace.}}  In fact! Captain Wentworth just gave me a beautiful 1869 first edition of Northanger Abbey/Persuasion for Christmas.  The awesomeness of the gift is only comparable to the even MORE lovely, “kindest and best of men” himself.  And with that, you can now wipe all the vomit off your phones and keyboards.  I will gush no more. I think.

Christmas 2018
DIY mani

Anyhoo! If anyone has any requests of things for me to discuss or review coming up, please feel free to comment down below, as I’m always looking for new items to discuss! I’m thinking the next post will be a holiday wrap up! And I really need to get back to documenting my diy manis.  I did a great one for Christmas and only one finger is still nice so here it is!  As always, I used Sally Hansen base + top coat, and in this mani I used a basic red OPI polish and the new “Resting Grinch Face” China Glaze glitter polish that just came out for the holidays! Also, very nice over black or a pewter shade if you wanted to work it into NYE!

Now see below for my new Author rant!

I bid you all adieu until the next installment!  I hope you all had the very Merriest of Christmases / a Happy Hanukkah, and that we are all looking forward to a most fabulous and prosperous New Year 2019 filled with love and fun!

And with that…

Time for a coffee!

–Mmmaddy

Confessions of a Nom de Plume

December 2018

I wrote a book! HUZZAH!!!

No one is buying my book! Boooooo. Hiss.

Aaaah the aching, empty, anticlimax of the (mostly) unread published author. For why do we write if not to be read? I suppose there is still the joy and catharsis in reading your own writing — in exercising your own demons and living your own fantasies spawned from the myriad facets of your subconscious self. But, damn it all to hell, I want the public to read my 20,000 words! My lovingly crafted, very much edited, painstakingly translated from my brain to the page over years and through much procrastination — 20,000 words. I don’t care if it’s just free at the library!  Someone read it!  I can’t even tell you right now the many reasons I want people to read it beyond the basic gratification of being read, because then I might expose myself, as I wrote the book under a (gasp) pen name. There goes the glory! You wrote a book, and NO ONE EVEN KNOWS YOU WROTE THE BOOK. You are published, but it pretty much feels like it didn’t happen.

Which begs the question — so why did I use a pen name? Why a pen name when the days of female authors being unread and discredited simply for a female name are long gone? Did I write some scandalous or salacious novel that would shock my friends and acquaintance? No.

Some embarrassing topic? Maybe? Sort of?  Not really.

Did I canvas a subject that may potentially get me sued for defamation of character and spawn entirely misguided Puritanical conclusions about my behavior? Yeah, it’s pretty much that last one there. Aaaand thus was born the pen name. So, what do I do about this? How can I market myself without exposing my identity? The answer is basically, I can’t really. Well, that’s not true. I tweet about my book using my pen name.  I even wrote a tweet that had over 5,000 impressions on twitter!  Sadly, of the 5,000 twitter streams being penetrated, it only got 3 likes. And 7 info clicks. And no sales or additional page reads whatsoever. Read as: viscerally, totally, and painfully — anticlimactic.

By the way, did it weird you out that I used the word “penetrated”? ‘Cuz if it did — right there, there’s the Puritanical thing surfacing from the deepest recesses of your mind — feign to deny it!  See. That’s why.  No negative personal assumptions garnered = pen name. Were I 23 instead of 43 and didn’t have a daughter (who’s friends, and moms have library cards and whatnot) this would be a different story.  I am not one to put my aspirations above my family’s domestic tranquility.  Domestic tranquility is a damn fine thing!  Anyone who has been divorced and has kids can back me upon this!

Thusly, my author self, on this one occasion, languishes in anonymity. However, a goal was completed.  Personal pride was won, and new lessons have been learned. First and foremost of those being: do NOT use a pen name.  :- p

Fin

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Book Bytes: The Value of Persuasion

"Cassandra, honestly, as a sister, if you're going to draw me disproportionately, could you at least give me some longer lashes or something?"

“Cassandra, honestly, as a sister, if you’re going to draw me disproportionately, could you at least give me some longer lashes or something?”

Have you ever watched a movie or read a book that mentions a famous book you have never read? Did it ever persuade you to read the book?  I read the Gothic classic The Mysteries of Udolpho because it was mentioned in Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.  Similarly I read the sci-fi classic A Wizard of Earthsea because it was mentioned in The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler.

Now did anyone watch The Lake House? There are two awesome things in that movie. One: (I’m sorry in advance…) But somehow, Keanu Reeves rocks, and I mean — rocks, a blazer and turtleneck.  It’s almost magical (Ladies?  Am I right??). I generally loathe turtlenecks, but darn it! Don’t get me started.  Fwew. OK!

And Two: Sandra Bullock’s favorite book in the movie is Persuasion by Jane Austen – which is also my favorite Jane Austen book. In fact, I heard the whole movie is a loose interpretation of the book, which seems to be very loose indeed to me.  I suppose they are both about a happy ending coming after a long wait, but I don’t see the whole crux of the major dilemma in the movie being a life altering decision that the heroine was persuaded to make in her youth, as it is in the book. Thoughts, anyone?

Furthermore, despite a turtlenecked Keanu in the movie saying the premise of Persuasion sounded “terrible” (I think, could not find quote online), the book is actually wonderful. Besides the biting social satire and clever commentary, it contains possibly the quintessential love letter of classic literature, coming after a very long and very emotionally painful separation of lovers. It reads thusly:

 “I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F. W.

I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never.”
― Jane AustenPersuasion

Persuasion,  by Jane Austen

Persuasion,
by Jane Austen

Who could resist that? Can you imagine getting a note like that from someone whom you were in unrequited love with for years? Wouldn’t you just turn to goo? Like, pleasant, happy goo (not like ectoplasm or anything).

So if you are in need of some biting social satire, awesome dialogue, and just some general “aaaaaaaaaaw!” in your life, I highly recommend Persuasion. It’s free on Kindle and at your local library. Enjoy!

And now… Time for a Coffee…

Maddy

So Many Books, So little Time…

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For my inaugural blog post here, I’m going to address a serious problem that fellow book-nerds everywhere may find to be at times, an almost crippling task – choosing what to read next. It’s like your next literary heroin fix, or what I imagine to be so, from what I have read in books (i.e., see Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts series – Chess Putnam being the only chronic drug user I would not flee from in a dark alley). In fact I’m due soon for my next dose of Chess and Terrible (her knee-cap breaking boyfriend with a heart of gold), so much so I may be starting to get a little itchy and twitchy myself.

As I type this, I have an Outlook note posted on my desktop that has about 150 books on it in my reading cue, and many of these are the 1st installment of a series, so you can just imagine how many more books that’ll be in reality.  Years ago I used to buy and keep all my books – sort of a visual catalog of everything I had packed into my brain – the notches on my literary bedpost, as it were.  However the square footage of my “cozy” home being such that it is, that’s just not practical these days.  Subsequently I am a HUGE fan of my local Public Library.

My reading list is broken up into 3 sections; firstly, books I want to read that are not yet at the library.  Every few months I check through that list again and one will show up, like a bibliophilic treasure hunt. Secondly, I have a list of books that are actually at the library. And thirdly, I have the list of all the new books I haven’t yet searched for at the library.  I also have about 12 reviews in my inbox right now of books that have 4+ star ratings that I haven’t even moved over to my lists yet (sigh).

These days, apart from reading classics and classic spin-offs (such as A Jane Austen Daydream, by Scott D. Southard – a must for Jane Austen fans!), I’m reading a lot of paranormal YA, and paranormal romance.  I only subscribe to the Vampire Book Club for fun paranormal fiction recommendations because they have yet to steer me wrong, and I clearly am not in need of any additional daily recommendations in my inbox or on my lists (yipes). You can see what I’m reading on Goodreads. I’m currently reading three books – one of which is Fifty Shades of Grey, which I swore I wouldn’t read, but, I did hear that at the end of the trilogy there’s a bit of a Cinderella twist to the whole thing which helps me to cringe less, AND, I wanted to know why all the fans are opposed to this Charlie Hunnam chap as Christian Grey. He can’t possibly be as far off as Tom Hanks playing Robert Langdon (I’m still gagging), or Tom Cruise as Lestat (however, although completely physically wrong, he did do a great job, I have to admit). I will let you know my review when I finish.  I am at 24% and hands have already been tied once (ahem).

So what will I be reading next? It will either be Balthazar by Claudia Gray (‘tis almost Halloween season, after all), or Chasing Magic by Stacia Kane. How will I decide? It’s still a crapshoot, but after Fifty Shades I have a feeling I’ll need to dip into the YA pool again to cleanse my psyche a bit, if you know what I mean. 

So where do you get recommendations from? What have you read recently that was so gripping that you had to re-read or immediately get the next installment?  Let me know in a comment below, I’d love to know!

Time for coffee… Maddy