Favorite Childhood Books

#UpbeatAuthors are remembering their favorite childhood books this week.

I’m a reader. I have always preferred to read over watching television.  But given my status as a bookworm, I did not have a difficult time picking a favorite book or two. Both had a lasting impact on me. One is frequently mentioned by other authors. There was even a movie made when my children were younger.

However, I never hear–or read–about the second one:

Alvin’s Secret Code taught me a lot about the English language: frequency tables, doubled letters, common letter combinations, and so on. Apparently it is one of a series of books, but I never read any other installment. As you can see from the photo, my copy is well-loved, a sure sign of being a favorite.






Mondays with MJ: #UpbeatAuthors

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m mixing up my social media a bit in 2018. One of those changes is blogging on Monday instead of Sunday. The logic behind this move is that last year, I became of a group called Upbeat Authors, which is a “group of authors who support each other and take part in weekly, themed posts about happiness and positivity through their own social media and other outlets.”

We all need happiness and positivity.

This week’s topic is: one resolution you’re making this year you’ve never made before.

Except I don’t make resolutions. I set goals.

One of my goals this year is to self-publish a novella I wrote a couple of years ago. My critique partners and I came up with a theme for a self-published anthology, but due to life changes, that project never came to fruition. I, however, now have a novella about a werewolf baseball player.

And I’m going to self-publish it in 2018. As we used to say when I worked in TV: stay tuned!


Best Christmas Scene in a Book

Silver Lining by Maggie Osborne. I am on my second copy of this book. The first one disintegrated from overuse. I once lent the book to a friend, who had it for months. She simply couldn’t get into it in the beginning: “That stupid silver spoon,” she kept saying. But she finally succumbed and ended up loving the story.

Silver Lining is not a Christmas book, but I always read it at Christmas time. In my opinion (and since this is my blog, my opinion is the only one that counts) the story contains one of the best Christmas scenes ever written.

The heroine is an orphan who was sent west on an orphan train. She’s never celebrated any holiday. The family of her marriage-of-convenience husband strive to make sure her first ever “real” Christmas is a good one. Oh, there’s tension and conflict in that chapter, but the plucky heroine lets nothing dampen her excitement of being part of a family at Christmas.

Do you have a favorite Christmas scene in a book or a romance you read every year at Christmas?

Book Reading Bingo: Bet Me

If you follow my blog, you know my local RWA chapter is doing a Book Reading Bingo Challenge. Once a month (or so) I recommend books for a category or two.

Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me would fulfill either of the following categories:

  • Dress for Success
  • Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

The heroine (Min) needs to lose weight in order to fit into her maid-of-honor dress for her sister’s upcoming wedding.

The hero’s (Cal) courtship inadvertently takes the form of feeding her.

MIn and Cal are three-dimensional characters with plenty of backstory and great sidekicks. There are laugh out loud moments. There’s a great cat. She likes Elvis (Presley); he likes Elvis (Costello). Chicken Marsala is practically another character in the book.

Even if you’ve already filled your Eat, Drink, Be Merry and Dress for Success squares, you should read this book. You’ll be glad you did.

Book Reading Bingo: A Novel Adapted into TV or Motion Picture

This category was much harder for me than it should have been.

I’ve already read Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice (as well as the other Jane Austen novels).

When I searched for titles on Goodreads , I was appalled by the list. You see, this reading challenge is about romance novels, and romance novels as defined by Romance Writers of America must have “an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.”

So how did the following titles make Goodreads’ list of romances adapted to TV or movie?

  • Gone With the Wind (he leaves her)
  • Wuthering Heights (I don’t even know where to begin as to why this isn’t even romantic, much less a romance)
  • The TIme Traveler’s Wife (she dies)
  • Love Story (she dies)

But I’ve read all these titles, so I couldn’t use them even if they were romances. And what’s so romantic about death?

I did ask the project coordinators for clarification on this square and they told me if the main story contained a romance, the book could count.  Other chapter members suggested I try looking at Lifetime or the Hallmark chanel’s line up.

I did manage to find an old Diana Palmer novel that had been turned into a made for TV movie.  The title was in my county library system’s data base, and voila. One more square down.