Cracking a Deep Ceiling

Image by TPHeinz from Pixabay

Daughter of Neptune by Theresa Wisner is a memoir that might be called a coming-of-age story, but most stories of that genre stop at an age below thirty. Not a spoiler, it seems that Theresa finally does come of age and her journey was not a typical one that we would find in fiction. A clue to the success of her journey can be found in this annotation on the cover just under the main title: “… found at sea.”

Tinder Tales

Image by Tumisu on Pixabay

I think Michelle Miller writes great short stories. I have been reading one of her collections, The Fairer Sex, which I haven’t quite finished. I have two left in that eight-part series, but I am going to take a detour with this collection of several short stories by Miller. The cover that appears on Kindle for Boys, Booze and Bathroom Floors catches the eye and is supported by a catchy subtitle, Forty-Six Tales about the Collusion of Suicide Grief and Dating. The 149-page novel sells for USD 7.99 but is available on Kindle Unlimited for free.

Writer in Love

The title for Bitch on Wheels by Gregg Olsen comes from a description by one of Sharon’s “colleagues.” Sharon probably never had true friends. Sharon only had feelings for people who could provide benefits to her, either monetarily or connections with those who demonstrated the potential for future exploitation. Those feelings changed from moment to moment. People who initially had feelings of friendship for her would change their perceptions over time as Sharon’s true nature would inevitably emerge. Throughout the story, I wondered if author Olsen was giving an accurate portrayal of Sharon. Her documented actions were deplorable on their face; it was Olsen’s description of Sharon’s acceptance of her own actions that caused me to speculate. If Olsen’s description of Sharon’s self-perceptions is accurate, Sharon is a monster.

Body Humor

I will always pick novels to read that have provocative titles such as The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death by Laurie Notaro. I am sure that the author intended to punch the reading audience with such a wake-up title and then, to make sure they paid attention, Notaro followed with an explanation of what the novel is about: Reflections on Revenge, Germophobia, and Laser Hair Removal. The novel is listed as non-fiction which I can accept as far as the situations written about. The humorous asides and comparisons in description border on the absurd and take the reader into the world of fiction. Most of the novel is laugh-out-loud humor but there are segments, such as in the life of blind dog Bella, that will be emotional for readers.

Because this is non-fiction, we can know many things about the author from her Amazon Author page. Reading this novel, I can guess that she is a mature woman (not old) who continues to look forward to life’s adventures. Not afraid of trying new things, she is also (cliché alert) the hero of her own story. Reading of her colorful younger years in the several community colleges she attended will make parents of daughters shudder with the thought “I hope my daughter doesn’t turn out like that.” From this account, I believe that is what Laurie’s mother says frequently.

Plan it, Do It, Think Later

People who know me are aware that I write every day. Sometimes it is a requirement such as when I am developing resources for classes I teach. Sometimes it is for fun as I try to answer the many writing challenges and prompts that I find online. I believe prolonged exposure to this type of activity will eventually create in the writer (me) a desire to expand writing to short stories, fiction and non-fiction novellas and eventually, a longer manuscript. As I reached this point, and I have, I began to look at and skim or scan books on writing. I didn’t read any of them because I instantly labeled them as not worth my time. They were long on circular, philosophical pronouncements and short on measurable, quantifiable, actionable advice. Then I found Start Writing Your Book Today by Morgan Gist MacDonald. Finally, overall, I am happy. I won’t give it five Amazon stars because I found some minor echoes of books I didn’t like, but I would have given it 4.5 stars if Amazon had a system that allowed such an evaluation.

For Whom the Belle Tolls

Hell’s Princess by Harold Schechter is the well-researched story of the mystery of Belle Gunness, a butcher of men. I note that she was “a” butcher of men, not “the” butcher of men or even the title without an article. Belle was a serial killer, one of many in history and to date. She was notable for several reasons. She was “she;” female serial killers were and are disproportionately few compared to males. Women nurtured; they did not “knock people off.” Second, Belle was unusually cruel in her kill methods and selection of targets. They were not strangers; her victims were husbands, lovers, and included her own children. Finally, she operated in a time and environment that we look back upon from the present day as a time of innocence, a closely interactive environment where people trusted the common good in each other, where such things just didn’t happen.

Let the Games Begin

Molly’s Game by Molly Bloom is, from the author’s point of view, a true account of one woman’s remarkable ability to see opportunity and innovatively carve her own empire out of a niche previously dominated by males. Many of the males were hustlers, conmen, professional poker players, and members of criminal enterprises such as the Mafia or the Russian Mob. While male members of the mentioned groups all seem to have shadowy or incomplete backgrounds with little regard for anything described as a moral compass, Bloom decided to take a higher road. She did not employ criminal enforcers to collect a player debt. She did not resort to vicious gossip strategies to destroy the reputations of reluctant payers. She took a more relaxed, feminine approach. She simply cut off their rights to play. Sounds like a stern Mommy figure.

Stop Denying It

How can I pass up a book with a title The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head by Gary Small, M.D., and Gigi Vorgan? The letters M.D. give me some assurance I hadn’t landed on a weird porn site and I really wanted to see what was behind this title. Then I encountered my second problem. The subtitle tells me these are anecdotes, cases, or stories by a psychiatrist. Isn’t there some sort of confidentiality between a doctor and patient? This is especially true in the case of a psychiatrist where the treatment almost demands revelations of dark personal secrets. This book might discourage me from seeking counseling or treatment if I had to worry that I might be talking to an aspiring writer. I was initially put off by the idea that the stories violated patient privacy. I decided to only read enough to know the story behind the title.

All Hell the Orange in Chief

This is a repost from True, I could have just posted the link and asked folks to click on it but, for your convenience, just scroll down a bit. The link furnished is my way of acknowledging the excellent work below is not mine.
For technical reasons beyond me, and most are, I can’t get a reblog button at the bottom of posts I like to actually reblog. I click, the blue circle spins, I get an acknowledgement of reblog, but nothing ever appears or lands at this site. So, I copy/cut and paste (with credit given).

All the banners below are safe enough for work (SEFW) and should offend none except the hardcore base. You know who you are. I mean the hardcore political base not the other hardcore sites which occupy a majority of the internet. I’m sure any similarity between the two is unintentional.

When a Man is a Woman

The Whip by Karen Kondazian is a work of historical fiction with a heavy slant on the historical part. Charley and Charlotte Parkhurst are one and the same despite outward appearances signaling a gender difference. Charlotte recognized from childhood that there were two worlds; one for men, one for women. Men seemed to inhabit a world with considerably more freedom, bound only by the choices they made and the consequences that followed. In Charlotte’s opinion, a woman’s world was one of only consequences that followed choices usually made by men. This story takes place between 1815 and 1880. Of course, today the world has no such inequality. Charlotte’s choice to proceed in life as a man was a result of horrible events that happened to her and a desire for revenge toward the man that had brutalized her and her family. On her journey to achieve revenge, Charley’s choice was to live as a man while she worked as a “Whip,” the person who drove a stagecoach, expertly guiding and instructing the teams of horses so they worked in unison. Charley didn’t use the whip to beat or punish horses; she (he) used it to defend the horses from snakes and wild animals as she touched the horses lightly in combination with pulls on the reins to indicate desired travel directions.