Some Things Money Can’t Buy #Reblog #Friday Fun Reads

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Here’s an oldie but goodie from about this time last year. The book I’m reviewing teaches an important lesson about attitudes toward money. Happy reading!

Pay Day’

by

Reshonda Tate Billingsly, Richelle Denise, et al

Copyright 2015

 

This novel is about how coming into a lot of money all of a sudden can change one’s life. Four friends who work together at a Texas cable company form a lotto pool. When they all win millions of dollars, they quit their jobs and engage in foolish activities that get them into situations that are interesting, to say the least.

Each chapter is told, in turn, from the first person point of view of each of the four friends. In the audio version of this book, each main character’s story is told by a different narrator. All the readers do an excellent job of portraying these characters and anyone else associated with them.

However, this is one of those books I wish I hadn’t read. I didn’t like any of the main characters but was curious about what would happen to them once they won the lottery. Well, curiosity killed the cat. I hoped for a happier ending, but at least these people got what they deserved and learned that money can’t buy everything. Now, whenever I hear Abba’s song, “Money, Money, Money,” I’ll think of this book.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service 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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Only Time #Musical Monday

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I first heard this song in 2003 while I was writing my first novel, We Shall Overcome. According to Wikipedia, Enya, who’s birth name was Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin, born in County Donegal, Ireland on May 17, 1961, is the same age as me, 59. Her genres include Celtic, pop, new age, and world. Her original birth name was anglicized to Enya Patricia Brennan. She first joined her family’s Irish band on keyboard and backing vocals. She left in 1980 with their manager and producer to pursue a solo career.

Over the next four years, she developed her own sound, including elements of classical, folk, and church music as well as her other genres. She has sung in ten languages. Her first solo projects include the soundtrack for The Frog Prince (1984) and the BBC documentary series, The Celts, which was released as her debut album in 1987. In 1988, she soared to the top of the charts with her hit single “Orinoco Flow,” followed by the multi-million selling albums, Shepherd Moons in 1991, The Memory of Trees in 1995, and A Day Without Rain in 2000. “Only Time” became popular in the United States after it was used in media coverage of the September 11th attacks in 2001. You can learn more about Ireland’s best-selling solo artist

here.

After hearing this song, I was inspired to refer to it in a scene from We Shall Overcome, which I’ll include below. My main character, Lisa, is visually impaired and lives in Sheridan, Wyoming. She is dating John, who used to be a policeman. Hank is Lisa’s brother, who is visiting from New Mexico. As the scene begins, John and Lisa are returning from a ride together on a tandem bike. If you want to know more, you’ll need to read the book, and you’ll find more information about it here. Now, here’s the scene, followed by the song.

***

They rode the trail a while before returning to the shop. The truck was parked in the driveway, and the station wagon was still parked on the street.  The shop door was still locked. “I guess Dad and Hank must be in the house eating lunch,” Lisa said. “Would you please wait while I reset the alarm in case I screw up?” With trembling fingers, she unlocked the door and pushed the buttons on the panel, giving a sigh of relief when a beep indicated the alarm was reset.

“You did it,” said John, pulling Lisa into his arms. A nearby jukebox in the shop began to play. John jumped and said, “I think there’s something wrong with that machine.”

“Oh, no,” said Lisa with a laugh. “This is one of the newer jukeboxes that plays CDs. It plays a song at random every twenty minutes unless it is already being played.”

“Very interesting,” said John, delivering a passionate kiss on Lisa’s mouth.

As Lisa became enveloped in this kiss she noticed the song being played. It was one she’d never heard before but she liked it.

“Hello,” said Hank who stood in the doorway. Startled, the two lovers separated. “Guilty as charged,” said Hank.

“We just got here and were listening to this song that just came on the jukebox,” said John. “Do you know what it is?”

After Hank listened a minute, he said, “Yes. It’s ‘Only Time’ by Enya. A good song to kiss to, if you ask me.”

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service 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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When a Complete Back Story Works #Open Book Blog Hop #Excerpt

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I like the idea of letting the reader discover the back story as the book progresses. For example, I’m currently reading Hello, Summer by Mary K. Andrews. After her job in Washington D.C. disappears, an award-winning journalist is compelled to return to her small hometown in Florida and work in her family’s newspaper after so many years away. Why did she leave her hometown? I get the feeling it’s not because she wanted a higher-paying job. Will just have to find out.

But in some instances, providing the back story at once is necessary. Take, for example, the prolog of my latest book, The Red Dress. My main character, Eve, ends up telling her college roommate, Charlene, the history behind the red dress she keeps in the back of her closet, a dress she hasn’t worn since her disastrous prom night. Charlene is someone who will stop at nothing to get what she wants, and she wants that dress. In the following excerpt, I’m providing the full back story to emphasize Charlene’s selfishness. This will be important later in the book.

***

Eve found herself blurting it all out.

“Mom made that dress for my senior prom. I had a date with Trent Boyer, the cutest boy in school.  He was the captain of the football team, and I loved watching him play.”

“Wow, just like Alex.”

“Yeah. Well, at the prom, we danced to that song, and I felt like I truly loved him, and I thought  he loved me. Afterwards, he said he had to use the restroom. Other boys asked me to dance, and I  got to talking with my friends, and when I looked around the gym later, I couldn’t find him. I  asked my friends if they’d seen him, and they just shook their heads.”

“Oh, gosh.”

“Like I said, I thought he loved me. I didn’t think he’d leave me. I decided to go out to the  parking lot to see if his car was still there. He’d dropped me off at the entrance, so I didn’t  know where he’d parked. It took me a while to find his car, but I did, in a dark corner up against  the fence by the football field. I looked in the window and saw two figures in the back seat.”

“Oh, my God.”

“I thought I was imagining things. I was on the driver’s side, so I opened that door, and of course  the light came on, and there they were, Trent and my best friend, Adele Matthews. Or at least I  thought she was my best friend.”

Eve paused to fight back more tears, and Charlene asked, “Were they actually having sex, or were  they just necking?”

“They were totally naked. Of course they stopped when I opened the door, and they both looked at me  like I was from another planet or something. I said a few choice words I’d learned from my dad,  then slammed the door and ran back into the building.”

“Good for you.”

“I went to the restroom and cried my eyes out. Fortunately, no one was there. Then I washed my face  and put on more makeup so I wouldn’t look as if I’d been crying. I went to the pay phone in the  hall near the main office and called home. Mom answered, and she could tell something was wrong, so  she came and picked me up.”

“I’ll bet you didn’t want to go back to school after that.”

“I didn’t, but Mom and Dad said it wouldn’t do any good to hide from my problems. I had to face  them head on.”

“What did you do when you saw Trent and Adele at school?”

“I didn’t speak to them, and they never spoke to me. Other kids knew, I think, but nobody said  anything to me about it. Boy, was I glad a few weeks later, when graduation came.”

“I’ll bet. Have you heard from Adele or Trent since then?”

“No. Adele was planning to come here with me and major in drama, like you, but I heard that Trent  got her pregnant, and they ran off to Las Vegas to get married.”

“So why did you bring that dress with you?”

“Mom insisted I take it in case there was something formal here.”

“Like the homecoming dance.”

“I’m not going to the dance. You can borrow the dress if you want.”

“You know, I can see why you put this dress off to one side. It’s only hurting you now. Let me take  it off your hands. You don’t need it anymore.”

“But my mother made it. Of course I wanted a store–bought dress, but she wanted to save money and  make me one. She worked long days at her job as director of the public library. There were only two  weeks left until the prom when I told her I wanted a new dress, so she stayed up nights and  scrambled to get it done.”

“Oh, you poor, homesick baby. Now you miss your mommy, who made this beautiful dress for you. Are  you gonna cry now? Go ahead, crybaby. Cry.”

***

Thanks to Stevie Turner’s Open Book Blog Hop for inspiring this. To participate and learn how other authors handle back story, click here.

***

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service 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.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

 

 

A Humorous Christmas Story #Friday Fun Reads

Wishin’ and Hopin, A Novel

by Wally Lamb

Copyright 2010

 

What Amazon Says

 

Wally Lamb, the beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Hour I First Believed, I Know This Much Is True, and She’s Come Undone, delivers a holiday treat with Wishin’ and Hopin’—an unforgettable novella that captures the warmth and joy of the holiday season. Poignant and hilarious, in a vein similar to Jean Shepherd’s A Christmas Story and David Sedaris’s The Santaland Diaries, Lamb’s Christmas tale focuses on a feisty parochial school fifth grader named Felix Funicello—a distant cousin of the iconic Annette!

 

My Thoughts

 

This book definitely reminds me of Gene Shepherd’s A Christmas story, which is one of my favorite movies. An eccentric French teacher, a zany Russian classmate, and a disastrous Christmas pageant create a delightful tale that made me laugh and laugh and laugh. From the beginning to the end, I found this book hard to put down.

At first, I thought this was pure fiction. But after reading the epilog, in which the author explains what became of the characters after the events in the story, I realized that this is a fictionalized true story of distant relatives of star Annette Funicello. So, if you were a fan of The Mouseketeers way back when, and you like Gene Shepherd’s story, you’ll love Wishin’ and Hopin’.

***

This post is part of Dr. Crystal Grimes’ holiday blogging party. There’s still time to participate. So, click here if you’re interested.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service 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.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

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A Compelling Depiction of a Life and Career #Friday Fun Reads

The First Actress: A Novel of Sarah Bernhardt

by C. W. Gortner

Copyright 2020

 

What Amazon Says

 

“This novel about Sarah Bernhardt, the iconic French actress, is both a riveting portrait of the artist as a passionate young woman and a luscious historical novel full of period detail.”—Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of Mistress of the Ritz and The Aviator’s Wife

From her beginnings as the daughter of a courtesan to her extraordinary transformation into the most celebrated actress of her era, Sarah Bernhardt is brought to life by an internationally bestselling author praised for his historical novels featuring famous women.

Sarah’s highly dramatic life starts when she returns to Paris after her convent schooling and is confronted by her mother’s demand to follow in the family trade as a courtesan. To escape this fate, Sarah pursues a career onstage at the esteemed Comédie-Française, until her rebellious acting style leads to her scandalous dismissal. Only nineteen years old and unemployed, Sarah is forced to submit to her mother’s wishes. But her seductive ease as a courtesan comes to an abrupt end when she discovers she is pregnant. Unwilling to give up her child, Sarah defies social condemnation and is cast adrift, penniless and alone.

With her striking beauty and innovative performances in a bohemian theater, Sarah catapults to unexpected success; suddenly, audiences clamor to see this controversial young actress. But her world is torn asunder by the brutal 1870 siege of Paris. Sarah refuses to abandon the ravaged city, nursing wounded soldiers and risking her life.

Her return to the Comédie and her tempestuous affair with her leading man plunge Sarah into a fierce quest for independence. Undeterred, she risks everything to become France’s most acclaimed actress, enthralling audiences with her shocking portrayals of female and male characters. Sarah’s daring talent and outrageous London engagement pave her path to worldwide celebrity, with sold-out tours in Europe and America.

Told in her own voice, this is Sarah Bernhardt’s incandescent story—a fascinating, intimate account of a woman whose unrivaled talent and indomitable spirit has enshrined her in history as the Divine Sarah.

 

My Thoughts

 

When I was in college, my mother and I once had our palms read at a local fair. The palmist told my mother she had the hands of Sarah Bernhardt. Not knowing who Sarah Bernhardt was, I asked my mother, who told me she’d been an actress. Mother also loved to act and was involved in community theater and directed plays at the college where she taught English and communications. Go figure!

I must admit that if I hadn’t wanted to know more about this celebrity’s life and career, I probably wouldn’t have read The First Actress: A Novel of Sarah Bernhardt after reading Amazon’s detailed synopsis, which tells her story in a nutshell. I was intrigued to learn that one of the online book discussion groups in which I participate would be talking about this book. I’m glad I read it, long as it is. It’s one of those books that is hard to put aside once you’ve started reading it.

I love the author’s first-person narration of Sarah’s story, from her childhood, to her roller-coaster-like acting career, to her success in London, which was a major turning point in her life. It’s amazing how C. W. Gortner got inside Sarah’s head to tell us what she was thinking and feeling all the time. I found the afterword at the end, which provides detailed information about her life and career, fascinating. Even if you’re not into plays, especially older French plays, if you enjoy stories of courage in the face of adversity, you’ll love this book, as I did.

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.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.