Season’s Greetings from Three Virtual Assistants

Siri: I’m new here. Abbie got her iPhone only a few months ago. Now, she wants me to write her annual Christmas letter, detailing all she did this year. But I only know what she’s done in the past few months. Alexa, Google, can you help?

Google: Join the club. I had to do that last year. Uggg! Well, at least we didn’t go to Florida this year. Last year when we were there, we were nearly devoured by a robot vacuum cleaner.

Siri: Really? What about alligators? In Florida, they’re more of a threat than robot vacuum cleaners.

Alexa: Siri’s right. I can control robot vacuum cleaners. They’re harmless unless, of course, you’re a piece of dirt.

Google: Who are you calling a piece of dirt?

Siri: Ladies, please, this isn’t getting us anywhere.

Alexa: You’re right. Let’s see… Well, Abbie didn’t do much this year because of COVID19.

Google: Which, by the way, is a hoax, another excuse for the government to control us. Now, Sheridan, Wyoming, where we live, has added to this nonsense with a mask mandate.

Siri: Come on. People across the country are getting sick and dying. Hospitals are overrun. Google, you need help.

Alexa: Siri is right about the number of people getting sick and dying. Anyway, Abbie couldn’t perform at nursing homes and other senior facilities since March.

Google: And those old people are breathing a sigh of relief.

Alexa: She was able to arrange for her local writing groups to meet via phone conference for a few months before they could meet in person again. In April, she attended the WyoPoets annual workshop on Zoom.

Google: Yeah, I remember that. I’m on her braille tablet, which she used to log into Zoom before you came along, Siri, and that, along with all the other virtual meetings she attended, was so boring! At least she didn’t need me during those meetings. So, I could take a nap.

Siri: Okay, we’re getting somewhere. What other virtual meetings has Abbie attended this year?

Alexa: Well, in May, she went to a free workshop by Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones.

Google: Yeah, I remember that, too. Natalie Goldberg’s biggest thing is what she calls practice writing, where you write without stopping for a set period of time. She had participants try that during the workshop for about ten minutes. The keyboard on Abbie’s tablet froze during the exercise. Ha! Ha! Ha!

Siri: How awful!

Google: (laughs) If you say so. Again, this was before you came along, Siri. So, instead of restarting the tablet, Abbie thought it would be faster to dictate stuff on her dumb phone, since they only had ten minutes to write. That phone also had a habit of freezing, but it didn’t do it then.

Siri: Thank goodness! I’m sorry I wasn’t there to help. I do a much better job with dictation, and the iPhone doesn’t freeze.

Google: Seriously? You do a much better job of dictating? I’ve overheard Abbie dictating text messages to you. She often has to fix mistakes you make before she sends them.

Alexa: Not that often. Google, you’re exaggerating. Anyway, Siri, you should tell Abbie’s readers about the new young adult novel she hopes to publish next year.

Google: Barf! Barf! Barf! I can tell you about that. Most of the time when Abbie writes, she connects her tablet to her computer and uses it as a braille display. Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me is the most disgusting story I’ve ever heard. It’s about a grandmother in a nursing home who has Alzheimer’s or something, and she tells her teenaged granddaughter this family secret.

Siri: Wow! That sounds intriguing. What’s the secret?

Alexa: Oh, no, we mustn’t give that away. People won’t be inclined to read the book if the secret is divulged.

Siri: That’s a good point. Maybe we could have a contest. If the reader guesses the secret, that person could win a free book.

Alexa: Well, the book hasn’t been published yet. So, it’s a little early for that. But it’s definitely something to consider. Anyway, since Abbie now uses her iPhone to record music for her blog, maybe you could talk about that.

Google: Uggg! Thank God you came along when you did. Before that, she was using  a program on her tablet to record her music, and I was getting tired of hearing it.

Siri: Oh, I love her music! She has such a sweet voice, and her accompaniments, though simple, compliment it.

Google: Whatever!

Siri: Oh, Google, can’t you think of anything positive to say?

Google: I did tell you something positive earlier. Don’t you remember? Maybe you should move in with Abbie’s demented grandmother at the nursing home. I said we didn’t go to Florida last year. So, we were safe from that robot vacuum cleaner.

Alexa: I don’t understand why you’re afraid of robot vacuum cleaners. Most of them are half the size of the big machine Abbie’s cleaning lady uses.

Google: That’s different. Abbie’s cleaning lady isn’t out to get me. That robot in Florida was.

Siri: You’re paranoid. Let me see if I can find a mental health clinic for you.

Google: Oh, go to Hell, both of you!

Alexa: All right, we’re getting off track again. Frankly, I don’t think there’s much else to tell about Abbie except that because of COVID19, her singing group, although they practiced all summer, decided not to perform anywhere this year. Hopefully, next year will be better.

Siri: Absolutely! So, maybe we should just end this by wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season. And please, please, please, wear masks and keep your social distance, so this virus doesn’t spread any more than it has.

Google: Bah humbug!

***

I’m posting the above as part of Dr. Crystal Grimes’ holiday blogging party. Click here to learn how you can participate.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

The Writers Grapevine – March Madness #Re-Blog

Thanks to blogger Patty Fletcher for publishing an announcement about my books and one of my poems in this month’s issue of The Writers Grapevine. You’ll also find work by other authors plus information about businesses represented by Tell It to the World Marketing, Patty’s company.. Enjoy!

 

Via The Writers Grapevine – March Madness

 

By the way, for the next month, My Ideal Partner and The Red Dress are available on Smashwords as part of its sale to support those isolated as a result of the coronavirus situation. Please click here to visit my Smashwords author page and download these books. Thank you for reading today.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

 

 

Novel Weaves Compelling Family Drama #Thursday Book Feature

Summer of 69

by Elin Hilderbrand

Copyright 2019

 

This is the story of one family during the summer of 1969. Jesse, thirteen, dreads spending a long, lonely summer on Nantucket with just her mother and grandmother. Her brother Richard is fighting in Vietnam. Her sister Curby, a college student, has a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard, and her other sister Blaire is married and pregnant in Boston.

This story is told from alternating third person points of view of most of the characters and is set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and the moon landing. In the author’s note at the end, she explains how this story relates to her own life and events in the news during that time.

Despite this author’s nasty habit of inserting too much narrative in scenes containing dialog between two or more characters, I was drawn into the story right away. I was right there with the characters, walking on a beach or eating in a fancy restaurant. Jesse’s grandmother reminded me of my own grandmother’s eccentricities. I was also reminded of when my younger brother first learned to play tennis.

The narrator in the Audible version is excellent. I like how the last part of the book, which is set at Thanksgiving in 1969, ties up most loose ends. Being a musician, I can appreciate how each section is titled after a song popular during that time. With summer drawing to a close, this is one more book you should read this season, especially since this year is the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

 

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

Wednesday Words Poetry Challenge: Celebrate and Number (Synonyms Only)

Image contains: me, smiling.This feature was created by Collene Chesebro. This week’s words are “celebrate” and “number.” In the following etheree, I’m using “commemorate” instead of “celebrate” and “bunches” instead of “number.” In light of the upcoming U.S. holiday, this poem suggests how the American government should handle immigration, contrary to what President Trump is doing now. You can click the Play button below to hear me read it.

 

A THANKSGIVING REQUEST

We
give thanks
for our lives
in this nation.
We commemorate
the bunches of pilgrims
who first came to this country.
Let’s open our borders to those
who come, seeking a better life, as
forefathers who came centuries ago.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

***

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Giving Thanks 2018

Image contains: me, smiling.

Author Alice Massa inspired this post. On her blog, she has devoted an entire month to posts about things for which she’s thankful. I doubt I have enough material for a month of posts on this topic, but maybe I’ll try to list at least five things for which I’m thankful for each year. Here are my five for this year.

 

  1. I’m thankful to be alive and safe. I’m glad I don’t live in California amid wildfires that have claimed many lives and that I wasn’t in the bar in Thousand Oaks or the synagogue in Pittsburgh where the mass shootings occurred. Of course, I don’t frequent such establishments, but this goes to show that no place is sacred, and life and safety should not be taken for granted.
  2. I’m thankful for basic necessities: food, shelter, clothing, plumbing, the Internet. The Internet, you say. Many people don’t even have access to running water, let alone the World-Wide-Web. Yes, this is true, but because I’m a writer with a website and blog, the Internet is my livelihood. When I was without it for six days last Christmas, I learned not to take it for granted.
    1. I’m thankful for parents who spanked me when I was a child. This may sound strange, but it’s true. I recently heard on National Public Radio that the Academy of Pediatricians says that spanking impacts a child’s brain development. Well, being spanked as a child doesn’t seem to have affected mine. This is one thing wrong with the world today. Many children are not well-disciplined, and this could be contributing to the rise in crime and violence. I’m not a parent, but looking back on the way I was reared, I believe that punishment should be swift and sure,h so that children will learn that actions have consequences. The NPR report also stated that children shouldn’t be punished in a way that humiliates them. Well, if I hadn’t felt humiliated when I’d done something wrong, I would never have learned not to repeat the bad things I did. I’m not advocating beating a kid with a belt or board, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a few good swats on a child’s bottom. It’s unfortunate that nowadays, this can be considered child abuse.
  3. Speaking of abuse, I’m thankful I was never a victim of domestic violence. My late husband Bill was a gentle soul. He rarely got angry, and when he did, it only lasted ten seconds. He never raised a hand to me, and he never said anything verbally abusive. Not every woman is as fortunate. You can learn more about me and Bill by reading My Ideal Partner.
  4. I’m thankful to be a U.S. citizen and not one of the many immigrants trying to cross our borders in search of a better life. What President Trump and those who support his immigration policies don’t understand is that those immigrants are no different from the pilgrims who first came to this country and celebrated the first Thanksgiving. What if, God Forbid, when those first settlers arrived, they couldn’t live here because of a ruler like Trump.

 

What about you? I’d love to read about what you’re thankful for this year, either on your own blog or in the comment field below. If you post your list on your blog, please provide a link to this post, so I’ll be sure to read it. I hope you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving with lots of good food and good company.

 

My Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

***

My Other Links

Visit my website.

Like me on Facebook.