A Story of Love, Heartbreak, and Everything in Between #Friday Fun Reads

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Better Luck Next Time: A Novel

by Julia Claiborne Johnson

Copyright 2021

 

What Amazon Says

 

“Do you want to read something funny? Let’s say, a novel set at a divorce ranch in Reno in the 1930s? A book with memorably eccentric characters, sparkling dialogue, a satisfying plot twist, and some romance and sex?  A feel-good literary comedy/western? Here it is, then, the book you’ve been looking for: Julia Claiborne Johnson’s Better Luck Next Time.”—Julie Schumacher, author of Dear Committee Members and The Shakespeare Requirement

The eagerly anticipated second novel from the bestselling author of Be Frank with Me, a charming story of endings, new beginnings, and the complexities and complications of friendship and love, set in late 1930s Reno.

It’s 1938 and women seeking a quick, no-questions split from their husbands head to the “divorce capital of the world,” Reno, Nevada. There’s one catch: they have to wait six-weeks to become “residents.” Many of these wealthy, soon-to-be divorcees flock to the Flying Leap, a dude ranch that caters to their every need.

Twenty-four-year-old Ward spent one year at Yale before his family lost everything in the Great Depression; now he’s earning an honest living as a ranch hand at the Flying Leap. Admired for his dashing good looks—“Cary Grant in cowboy boots”—Ward thinks he’s got the Flying Leap’s clients all figured out. But two new guests are about to upend everything he thinks he knows: Nina, a St Louis heiress and amateur pilot back for her third divorce, and Emily, whose bravest moment in life was leaving her cheating husband back in San Francisco and driving herself to Reno.

A novel about divorce, marriage, and everything that comes in between (money, class, ambition, and opportunity), Better Luck Next Time is a hilarious yet poignant examination of the ways friendship can save us, love can destroy us, and the family we create can be stronger than the family we come from.

 

My Thoughts

 

I like how the author tells the story from Ward’s first-person point of view. It’s as if you’re visiting him fifty years later, and he’s telling you his story. Some of it is funny, and some of it isn’t. This book offers a variety of life lessons on not just marriage and divorce. The ending will surprise and move you.

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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

Image 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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Bring Back the Classic Editor #Reblog

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

If you have a self-hosted WordPress site, and you’re sick and tired of fighting the Gutenberg editor, you can still use the classic editor. However, this editor will only be supported for another year or so. As I understand it, all WordPress users will still need to learn how to use Mr. Blockhead, as I like to call the Gutenberg editor. Despite complaints, WordPress isn’t listening to its customers. If we move our sites to different platforms, we risk losing followers. So, they have us where they want us, and they know it. That having been said, here’s Casey Matthews with Web Friendly Help to explain how you can still use the classic editor on a self-hosted site, at least for another year.

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Sometimes You Just Need a Classic—car, burger, or in this case, a WordPress editor. I won’t go on a diatribe about WordPress woes with the new Gutenberg editor. WordPress loves it and is pushing it, but throughout the internet, you’ll find people who aren’t as enthused, disability or not.

Read more.

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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

Image 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.

***

Books  

My Amazon Author Page

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Writing My Protagonist #Tuesday Tidbit #Open Book Blog Hop #Excerpts

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Fellow blogger Stevie Turner asks this question. “Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?”

Frankly, I don’t want to understand villains. So, I write from my protagonist’s point of view. But I like to have my villain change, to a certain extent.

Take, for example, The Red Dress. After Eve, my protagonist, tells her college roommate, Charlene, about a painful memory associated with a red dress, Charlene bullies her into giving her the dress. Eve gives in, but when her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same. Twenty-five years later, Charlene is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Before she dies, she and Eve are reconciled.

Below are two excerpts. The first shows us Charlene’s villainous side, where she bullies Eve into giving her the dress. In the second scene, near death, Charlene undoes what she did twenty-five years earlier.

***

“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. 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.”

Eve was stunned but shouldn’t have been surprised. Her roommate cared little about others’ feelings. Her sympathy and curiosity were only a ploy, and she would stop at nothing to get what she wanted.

“Fine, take the damn dress. I don’t care,” Eve said before turning away in disgust.

***

Eve stared at Charlene as she lay there sleeping. Her old college roommate hadn’t really changed.

She looked around the room again. Was the red dress in the closet? She looked back at Charlene, who seemed to be sound asleep, and wondered what would happen if she got up, walked over to the closet, and looked inside.

Charlene opened her eyes and said, “It’s still there.”

“What?” asked Eve, leaning forward in her chair.

“The dress I took from you years ago in college. It’s in the closet.”

***

Thanks to Stevie Turner for inspiring the above with her Open Book Blog Hop prompt this week. If you’d like to participate, 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

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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P.E. BLUES #Open Book Blog Hop #Wednesday Words

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.During the first few years of my elementary school education, I was the last to be picked for a team. I would have preferred not to be picked at all, but the P.E. teacher insisted that every student participate. This was at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind, where not having enough vision was no excuse for not doing something.

I hated sports. Because I couldn’t run fast enough, the teacher paired me with someone who ran faster than I did. As a result, I fell flat on my face most of the time while running between bases during kick ball games. I never could understand dodge ball, a game in which the object was, apparently, to see how many people you could hit with a ball.

After my family moved here to Sheridan, Wyoming, I was mainstreamed into a public school for sixth grade, where the physical education teacher let me sit out during games of kick ball, dodge ball, and other activities deemed too dangerous by someone with no experience teaching visually impaired children. My parents were disgusted, but I was only too happy to watch and not fall on my face or get hit with a ball.

In seventh grade, I was able to opt out of P.E. In eighth grade, a new gym teacher took me under her wing and worked with me one on one. Naturally, with just the two of us, we didn’t play kick ball or dodge ball, but I ran laps around the track and did other exercises and even some tumbling. I really enjoyed this, especially since it took time away from my home economics class, another thing I hated.

In high school, I wasn’t required to take physical education but in college I was. By then, I had a choice of safer activities such as bowling. Again, I was one of the last to be picked for a team, but I didn’t mind. At least the ball wasn’t hitting me in the face, and I wasn’t falling. As a matter of fact, I became a pretty good bowler. You can read more about that here.

Several years ago, in a meeting of my monthly poetry group, we were prompted to write a blues poem. At the Arizona school, we had to wear blue gym suits. When we arrived at the gym each day, the teacher told us to put on our blues. Hence, the following poem was born, and you can hear me read it by clicking the Play button below.

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P.E. BLUES

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

 

As a kid in gym class, I hated putting on my blues.
Yes, as a kid in gym class, I didn’t like to put on those blues.
They were hard to get on. The snaps I sure could lose.

I would have rather played the piano than run around in my blues.
Yes, I wanted to play the piano, not run around in my blues.
But it was not meant to be. Every day I had to put on those blues.

I could never play ball without being hit in the face.
No, I couldn’t play ball without being hit in the face.
When someone ran with me, I fell before we reached first base.

We rarely went swimming or walked around the track.
No, we didn’t go swimming or walk around the track.
Those were things I liked. They didn’t hold me back.

Now, those days are over. I no longer have the blues.
Yes, those days are long gone, and I don’t have the blues.
The blues are gone forever, and I no longer wear my blues.

Thanks to Stevie Turner for inspiring the above with her Open Book Blog Hop prompt for this week. You can click here to participate.

***

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

 

Stories I’ll Never Write #Open Book Blog Hop #Wednesday Words

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

I don’t know why I didn’t aspire to be a writer much earlier in life. Even as a kid, I had stories in my head that I never wrote down.

While reading Nancy Drew mysteries, I imagined that Nancy and her boyfriend Ned were married, and they adopted me. Nancy’s friends, George and Bess, married their boyfriends, Burt and Dave, and each couple adopted a girl my age. Being in junior high, we weren’t into boys yet. So, the three of us solved mysteries together.

When I was in high school, I fantasized that I was the bionic woman, leaving Nancy Drew’s hometown of River Heights behind and solving more serious crimes. In my fantasy, I married a bionic man at the age of sixteen, and by the time I was eighteen or nineteen, I had two kids who were not bionic.

In college, I replaced this story with another, inspired by Star Trek. My brother was the captain of the U.S.S Enterprise, and this ship’s transporter beam rescued me from certain death on a planet with a dystopian society similar to that of George Orwell’s 1984. After that, I became a famous singer, touring the galaxy on my own starship. I also created, in my head, a soap opera about the lives of people on different planets in this galaxy.

During the earlier part of this century, after I finally became serious about writing, I developed an idea for a science fiction novel. At the time, my brother was working at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. In my story, a visually impaired young woman, while visiting relatives in Los Alamos, is approached by a historian from the future, who is working at the lab on a project that involves bringing in people from the past. She agrees to be transported to the future, where she learns a lot about what life will be like. But upon returning to the present, she doesn’t remember anything about her adventure, and life goes on as if nothing happened.

When I was younger, I enjoyed detective and science fiction stories, but they’re not for me anymore. So, I doubt this or any of my fantasies will end up on paper. But it was fun to dream, no matter how unrealistic the fantasies. In my opinion, they served as exercises to limber my creative muscles.

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Thanks to this week’s prompt on Stevie Turner’s Open Book Blog Hop for inspiring the above. If you’d like to participate, 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