Blurb

The shoes didn't fit. It was an omen.













Sunday, November 25, 2012

And Everyone Smiled: The Woes of Self-Publishing

He smiled. She smiled. They smiled. Someone smiled. So-and-so smiled. Such-and-such smiled. And they all smiled at each other.

Yeah. Well, I got a proof copy of my novel, Secondhand Shoes. The book is beautiful  in person. The pic below doesn’t do it justice. It was surreal to hold and stare at it. Tears filled my eyes, and I got all mushy over it. So did Sweetman. But…

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…on the back, some words were kicked out of the blurb. Some of the sentences make no sense without them. But it does look beautiful. But then…

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…you open to the very first page and it’s totally off center. It also needs to go up a little higher. And the more I go through the book the more alignment issues I see. But this didn’t show up on the Create Space Page Viewer thingie. It all looked perfect. And it’s so not perfect so much so one can’t even see the left hand page numbers.

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And all my poo-words were converted to pooh. That’s not the pooh I wanted. He’s in another story. Holy Schmoly!

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But these aren’t the only problems. My hyper-sensitive-editor has now gone on red alert. I’ve got two pages of smiles. Smile. Smile. Smile. While editing via my computer screen or an 8x10 paper copy of my MS, it wasn’t apparent. Everything looked word-symmetrical. It all looks really different being in a book. It’s more condensed.

SO do I go in and delete a lot of those smiles? ***shrugs*** Am I being too sensitive? Too much of a perfectionist? OMG!

Shouldn’t I be my own worst critic before some one else out there buys the book and butchers my story? My writing?

Anyway, if you’re self publishing, make sure you pay to get your PROOF copy before agreeing to unleash your great American novel onto the word-eaters out  there.

So I’m hoping before I get Glowstick back later, I will have gone through the entire book at least.

Hugs and chocolate,

Shelly

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

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I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. And to say I appreciate everyone who follow this blog. Enjoy your families and the food.

Hugs and pumpkin pies!

Shelly

Friday, November 2, 2012

UPDATE: Why Can’t This Be Easy

Thought I’d give an update status on what’s going on with Secondhand Shoes. The ebook formatter is having a bit of struggle. The Chinese have taken over my WIP again in some places. So the formatter is doing his best to battle out the foreigners.

The format for the paperback…well, I thought this past Sunday it would be finished. I went to download it to Create Space and it came back with problems. One, the margins were a little off, and two, Create Space’s system didn’t recognize the em-dashes in my document. Oy vey!

Also, I’m going to move my blog break up for this blog starting now. My daughter and Glowstick need me again.

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The picture above was taken back in May/June of this year when my grandson came to live with me while my daughter battled her drug addiction. He’s since returned to my daughter. But now we have a new problem. A cancer scare! I keep telling myself she’s too young but she hasn’t taken care of herself either. Her doctor seems to believe that it is more than likely the C-word. Her pap came back abnormal. According to her doctor, her cervix doesn’t look any better. And her STD screening came back clean. So on November 15th she’s been scheduled for a biopsy. I’ll know more by the end of November. So Glowstick will be back and forth to her to me for now. She also has some other things going on in her life. Thankfully, its not drugs this time.

As for current WIPs, Combat Boots-Lila’s next battle in life- is still an ongoing project filling up a poster board. Dear Mommy has now been entitled White Trash and Pill Heads. I changed the title because while my critters liked the MC’s voice-a baby- it didn’t work for them. But I have to say it didn’t work for me either when I sat down and read it straight through.

In conclusion to this post, I’m hoping to be back to normal after the first of the year. I will also do my best to keep all my followers updated, even if its sporadic over the next couple of months.

Happy Holidays to all!

Hugs and chocolate,

Shelly

Friday, October 19, 2012

WINNER! And Proofreading

A couple weeks ago my fur-peeps, Sir Poops and Hair Ball, hosted a Secondhand Shoes Cover Reveal and a contest, Something Borrowed over at The Life of a Novice Writer.

Sad to say, not too many peeps were interested in the giveaway. So we didn’t have too many to choose from. And everyone that wanted their names thrown into the bowl expressed interest in the House of Night Series, not Twilight.

I picked Tonja and Siv.

So Sir Poops and Hair Ball picked, Lorelei Bell. YAY!

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Also, I thought I’d let you all know I’ve been working really hard at getting the book done. It’s been formatted for the paperback and is still in the process of being formatted for the Kindle.

However, I’ve been proofreading and proofreading since I got the paperback format back. And one thing I’ve learned about this experience is this, MAKE SURE YOU PROOFREAD AND EDIT the format.

Once your novel has been formatted, the monkey ain’t over. Because what you’ll find will be missing punctuation, and words that have been respelled. And the sad thing is, is sometimes your eyes don’t pick everything up even though you’ll go through it like a thousand  times.

But I’m getting there and I’m fully in the moment. I also have a new appreciation for all the Indies before me. And I would also like to add, if there is a punctuation or misspelling in any Indie work, we should go light on them in reviews for it. It has nothing to do with competency. I think we should be more concerned about their storytelling abilities, sentence structure, and plots. Not to mention, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up the FAMOUS AUTHOR’s novels and have found punctuation and spelling errors. I’ve also been disappointed by their storytelling and plots.

That’s all I have for today. Looking forward to the Holidays. I’ll be taking a six week hiatus form blogging, starting November 20th so I can finish this adventure and hopefully finish my next book. Plus, I need to tend to some ongoing medical issues.

As I leave this post today, I ask, Do you believe we should take it easy on the Indie author for their puncuation and spelling after I explained to you what happens during formatting?

Hugs and chocolate,

Shelly

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cover Reveal and a Giveaway

Today, I'm at my other blog http://www.shellysnovicewritings.blogspot/com doing a cover reveal and a giveaway.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Secondhand Versus Second Hand

Four years ago in my critique group I had to defend my choice of spelling. So here I go again. But I’d like to pose a question first. What if I wanted to be creative with the word or words I use? You know, make up my own thing. I mean fantasy writers make up new worlds, rules, peeps, and even languages. So if I want to dub my title Secondhand Shoes then I should, right?

Since I’ve been more verbal on the blogosphere about the release of Secondhand Shoes, peeps have been leaving comments. They politely let me know something about Second Hand Shoes. I get it. But I want to settle why I spell secondhand the way I do.

Just to let you all know, I own like twenty dictionaries and have been known to read them for fun. When I began my tenure at school, my family learned I was dyslexic. I had issues with reading and spelling in the wee years of my education. Even in college it reared its ugly head but I graduated with double honors. Really. But I have to admit that the first law firm I worked for informed me after three months I would never succeed past the reception desk to paralegal status because of my spelling issues. It was at that time I became obsessed with the dictionary because I wanted to be more than a receptionist.

So I give you the reason for why I spell secondhand as secondhand and not second hand.

Cambridge Dictionary

Secondhand- owned before

Second Hand- a long thin pointer on some clocks and watches that shows how many seconds have passed

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Secondhand

1- received from or through an intermediary: borrowed

2- acquired after being used by another: not new

Second Hand

1- an intermediary person or means: intermediary

2- the hand marking seconds on a time

Okay. So these are the reasons for the title being spelled Secondhand Shoes. Lila’s wedding shoes were bought at a consignment shop and she’s one of those people that never expected the best for her life. In the beginning of her journey she accepts things as they are to keep her controlling mother off her case.

And now for some announcements.

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Lydia Kang over at The World is My Oyster is doing a giveaway in celebration for her birthday. Stop by and wish her well. Leave a comment and you could win a book of your choice.

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Jolene Perry is giving away an Arc of her book, Falling. Check her out at Been Writing.

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Lynda R. Young is also giving away an Arc of her new novel coming out. Check her out at WIP IT.

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E.J. Wesley is doing a Bury the Hatchet Blogtour in celebration of the release of his debut novella, Blood Fugue. Check him out at The Open Vein. You could win a Nook out of this deal. This tour ends October 19th.

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Gwen Gardner and Pal are having a blogtour starting next week through October 31st. Go check them out at Paranorm YA.

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I hope every one has a great weekend. I’m off today. Yay! But will be hair lopping Saturday and Sunday. So I’ll be lurking.

Hugs and chocolate,

Shelly

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Be-otching Blurb

Yes. Folks. The writing of the blurb is the biggest Be-otch I’ve come across as a writer. Putting the novel together and making changes have been easy-peasy. But the blurb creation is making me feel like a total moron. And I thought techi-things could only make me feel that way, not anything-writing.

Here’s my initial blurb…well, one of the many firsts.

Eighteen year old Lila is a psychic/medium who’s been taught not to trust her own instincts. Her dead gram tries to warn her not to marry Max Butz, but her mother, argues, implying she’s delusional and that Max will take good care of her. Hours after the nuptials, Max shows his true colors and Lila escapes through a bathroom window in her wedding dress and the too-small secondhand shoes her mother bought. Following the advice of her dead gram she steals the groom’s car and discovers guns and drugs hidden in the trunk. Max and his creepy friends come after her. To survive she must learn to trust her intuition and the otherworldly help of her dead gram and a past love.

So I posted this in a group I belong to on Facebook.

This reads like a book report a comment read.

Well, I belong to a live critique group that has been guiding me…more like the blind leading the blind. While we’re all pretty good at editing and analyzing each other’s stories, we miss the mark on blurbs. Maybe this explains why one of my critters has been rejected after several agents and publishers have read her query letter. It’s a lot like a book report.

Anyway, I had more comments on my book report.

It should pull people in without giving away too much.

Read the back jackets of other novels.

Read movie advertisements.

Okay. So I did last weekend. I pulled books off my shelf and researched Amazon.

Watchers-Dean Koontz

On his 36th birthday, Travis Lornele hikes into the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains. But his path is soon blocked by a bedraggled Golden Retriever, who will let him go no further into the dark woods.

That morning, Travis had been desperate to find some happiness in his lonely, seemingly cursed life. What he finds is a friend? A dog of alarming intelligence? and a threat that could only have come from the darkest corners of man’s imagination.

Risk of Infection-Tom Conrad

3 billion people were no longer seeing a glimpse of a cool Britannica fa├žade, of Union Jack clad cheerleaders leaping from open top red buses, of athletes using traditional pork sausages as skipping ropes, and William Shakespeare impersonator doing the long jump. 3 billion people were concentrating on infection. Britain was infected!

Desperation-Stephen King

There’s a place along Interstate 50 that some call the loneliest place on Earth. It’s not a very nice place to live. It’s an even worse place to die. It’s known as Desperation, Nevada.

Final Hours- Norma Beishir

Could you live a lifetime in 24 hours? Jaimie Randall thought he had it all, until a close brush with death brought him face-to-face with the one thing that was missing from his life. Now facing his own morality once again, he has two choices. One chance to live, or one to set things right in his troubled life.  

After reading more than these, I wrote this:

Lila should have listened to her dead Gram’s advice the morning of her wedding, “Take off that dress and those shoes. And run.”  When she finally decides to listen, she gets caught up in a deadly run for her life. Will she survive the honeymoon?

So what do you all think. Yes? No? Tweak it more?

I’ll be loppity-lopping 1 to 9 today and 9 to 5 tomorrow. I’ll do my best to keep up with commenting back.

Hugs and chocolate,

Shelly

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dove Chocolate and A Storyboard

“Forget the rules and play by your heart.” That’s what the inside of my Dove chocolate read yesterday. I took that as a sign to keep going forward. I also got an e-mail from an author friend of mine yesterday encouraging me, letting me know she had my back.

Right now, I feel overwhelmed with the whole process of self-publishing. And, too, my MS is in the hands of the proofreader who reported back not long ago that there was a minor problem with my file. It came up in Chinese. Holy schmoly! But I was also informed that the problem has been taken care off recently. Schwoo!

By the time this is over and Secondhand Shoes has been unleashed for public purchase and viewing, I’m sure I will have eaten a ga-zillion bags of Dove Dark chocolate along with cartons of Publix natural peanut butter. I eat a spoonful and one piece a day either after dinner or right at three P.M. Yesterday, though, I ate two. I don’t handle being overwhelmed well.

But I have been busy.

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I’ve got a storyboard going on. The ideas are scattered here and there. And I’ve written the second book two times already, but I’m not happy with either one. However, I like a lot of the ideas. Especially the title, Combat Boots. Tonja over at Tonja's Musings inspired me. She left me a comment a few blogs back about what shoes she wore to school in the eighties.

Anyway, in the middle of getting spurts of ideas, I got a another one for a thriller and that one is coming along nicely. I guess you could say, I’ve fallen head over heels with that one for the moment and am working on its fourth draft. It works well.

I’m also working on a short time travel piece for a book of anthologies. If interested, you can go to Three Cents Worth, Martin T. Ingham has put out a call out for short stories.

Also, Gwen Gardner and Pal are putting together a blogtour.

Blogtour badge for PIP

CLICK HERE if you want to be a part of it.

I need to go now. I’ve a got a long day of hair lopping ahead of me. 1:30  to 9 P.M.

Hugs and Chocolate,

Shelly

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mirrors and An Upcoming Blogfest

Within the last couple of weeks, I read some where that opening your scene with your MC in front of a mirror reeks of amateur writing. The article stated it was a bad technique to describe what your MC looks like.

But what if the mirror is used to show the misery the MC is going through and not necessarily what they look like?

The opening chapter to Secondhand Shoes is a mirror scene. To me it clearly shows a miserable girl who hates her wedding day, fears her mother, and doubts herself. Its not about what she looks like on the outside. Its about what her feelings are reflecting.

Here’s a diddy from that first scene:

Except for the hiccups, I stood, softly crying, staring at my reflection in the full length mirror. Black mascara streaked my cheeks. I poked a couple fingers under the high lacey neckline and scratched.

Gram appeared behind me, wearing the lavender chiffon dress she wore in her casket six months ago, not one of her white hairs out of place. It looked like she maintained her weekly shampoo and set. “I’ve seen wrong in my life but this takes the cake,” she said. “Forcing an eighteen-year-old girl to marry any twenty-seven year old, much less a scallywag. Your mother’s crazy.” A frown sagged her jowls.

The tops of my arms itched, too, and I rubbed them, not responding to Gram’s comment, letting the lace do the scratching. My reflection squirmed in the white A-line dress. Its bodice and skirt were taffeta, the sleeves and fabric above the bustline to neck was lace. I hated the dress.

“It’s looking cheap up close but pretty from a distance. More your mother’s taste.” She stepped beside me, standing a foot shorter than me, fingering the lace on my sleeve and tisking. “What did they make this out of? Synthetic? It must itch like crazy.” She looked around the room. “Well, we’ll have to take care of this.”

“How?” I asked.

“The best thing you could do is take off that darned thing and run, child,” she said. “Pay no mind to your mother’s pooh either.”

One More Thing…

Before I go, I ask that you all hop over to Siv’s blog, Been There, Done That. She’s been promoting a very cool blog and bookfest coming on Labor Day, Meylinda’s Labor Day Blogfest and Bookfest. They’re looking for bloggers to help promote this. There will also be drawings for participants to win FREE books.

Click Here for more information.

And Secondhand Shoes is still in the proofreading phase before it goes to formatting.

Hugs and chocolate,

Shelly

Monday, August 13, 2012

Unforgettable Blogfest

 

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Click this to visit Siv

Today, Siv from Been There, Done That is holding this special blogfest in celebration. Click the above link to find out what she’s celebrating.

For the Unforgettable Blogfest we are supposed to write about a strange and unusual place or person that we’ve visited. One that left a lasting impression and we’ll never forget 

Oh that won’t be hard. Mine have to do with school. But there are several impressionable moments.

1. Miss Bailey was my kindergarten teacher. She realized that I had some learning issues. One of the things all kindergarteners had to master was writing their name. Mastering it was rather difficult for me so one day for the entire afternoon, Ms. Baily had me say my name, sound out each letter while I drew them out across the chalk board over and over.

2. I went to slow class in second grade. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to read like the other kids. So they sent me to a class with the mentally challenged and one girl with cerebral palsy.

My first day had me wondering why. When I got home that day, I went straight to the bathroom to stare at myself in the mirror. I couldn’t figure out why I was in the class with those kids. I didn’t look or talk  like any of them.

Yes, I’m dyslexic. I confused letters with numbers and vise versa. Letters also danced around, ‘saw’ could be ‘was’. I also had an issue with hearing ‘b’ as ‘d’ and ‘e’ as ‘a’, so forth and so on.

I also had a strange talent for writing words and sentences backwards. To this day when I’m tired or stressed, I will do just that. Write backwards.

3. In the eighth grade, I had the scariest teacher ever but handsome. My class and I watched him slap  wooden tables in two on several occasions.

One day, he threw a whole apple across the room. It splatted across the quietest kid’s forehead. He also took the tallest and muscular eighth grader outside and made him fist fight him. Scary right?

4. I hated high school. I was one of the kids who was bullied. When I walked through the halls, I was saluted with the kids pushing back their noses, snorting at me. They’d chant Miss Piggy. They did other things to me,too, but we won’t go there. But I remember their names and faces.

5. When I was in college, I had the best algebra professor. Professor Papi. He was from India and absolutely hilarious.

When the class talked over him, he would clap his hands and jump around in front of the chalk board and say, “Listen to the board. Let it talk to you. In my class, there is no talking or singing. Only the board is allowed to talk.” I can still hear his thick accent in my head.

Also, toward the end of my final exam, which by the way was like 5 hours long, he came by to take it. I had ten problems left and I was already in tears for fear of failing.

Professor Papi said, “You’re the only one who stuck it out and almost finished. No one else did. You did a good job. Don’t worry.”

I made an ‘A’ in that class and I’ll forever remember Professor Papi.

6. Last but not least, I had the biggest crush on my law professor. Professor Blau. He was sixty back then but he had a beautiful way with words. Everything that came out of his mouth made me melt.

I remember one day going up the escalator, somewhere behind me, he said, “In a another life, Miss So&So. In another life it will be you and me.” The guy gave me goose bumps but I made sure I was never alone with him.

This wraps up my unforgettable places and people.

Secondhand Shoes is still being proofread.

Hugs and chocolate,

Shelly

Friday, August 10, 2012

Back in the Day

Today, I wanted to post car and truck pictures that are mentioned and featured in my novel. But it scares the kaka out me that I could be sued after what happened to one of our fellow bloggy-buddies.

The featured cars and vehicles in the novel are a 1975 Impala, a Bug, and a monster truck. Back in the eighties kids were buying these.They would re-paint them. Put in the baddest speaker systems known to man back then. And hike up their vehicles with  tractor tires. Well…that’s what we did in Manatee County, Florida, a/k/a po-dunkville, which brings me to another topic.

Today’s kids expect their parents to flip the bill for such pleasantries. They expect us to keep giving and to give nothing in return. And they see nothing wrong with it,

The other night, King of the Hill was on for like a split second and the funniest comment was made by the MC, “Are kids so lazy today that they can’t wear out their own jeans?”

You know, back in the day kids worked for their clothes, cars, and stereos. They went to their own wallets for their fun money, not their parents.

If we couldn’t find regular jobs we babysat, mowed lawns, painted fences, washed cars, and cleaned our neighbors’ houses. We didn’t complain that we couldn’t find a job. We found one some how. It was expected of us.

I know the economy sucks but our kids can work even if its keeping their own house clean and their yard mowed for their parents. They need to earn their keep in the world. They need purpose. There’s always volunteer work, of course.

Over the last two years, I’ve had young people sit in my salon chair with no direction. No life. They have no job and no clue what they’re doing. When you ask them how their day is, they give this reply, “I just got out of bed.” I will usually look at my watch seeing that its one o’clock in the afternoon. Then I’ll ask,”So what’re you going to do after your haircut?” They either shrug or say, “Go back to bed.” My inquisitive mind doesn’t stop there.

Me: Do you have a job?

Kid: No.

Me: In college?

Kid: No.

Me: So what are you going to be when you grow up?

I usually get a shrug. And then I’ll ask their age. Can you believe some are thirty still living with mommy and daddy. Oh my…

Where did the eighties go? Where kids UNDERSTOOD what was expected of them. And they didn't have to fill out job applications on-line. How impersonal is that? And what kind of question is, ‘do you ever feel like killing anyone?’ What does this have to do with being employable. Well….okay I get the drift but still…the kids applying for jobs want to work. I doubt they want to kill anyone.

When I was a kid, we filled out paper applications, turned them in on the same day, and got an interview, too. Most times, we were hired right on the spot.

Where did we ever go wrong?

Novel update: It’s still in proofreading.

Hugs and chocolate,

Shelly

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Book Cover Reveal, and An Interview with Cover Artist, Collin Beishir

Today, I’m sooo excited to show off the cover to Secondhand Shoes and  introduce you to the cover artist, Collin Beishir. I’m sure he thought I was a royal pain the ass. little confused about what I really wanted.

But anyway here’s the cover:

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Ain’t she purdy?

Collin you did a fantabulous job. Hugs and chocolate chip cookies to you.

Me: So Collin, briefly tell me about yourself and what you do.

Collin: Well, I am 33 year old  Graphic Artist. I may not have a degree in Graphic Arts but I founded Beishir Media to provide a wide variety of design services from individuals to companies anywhere at a reasonable price.

Me: How did you get started in creating book covers?

Collin: I got started when Norma needed a cover for Chasing The Wind, so I used a DNA image, watermarking the image using a word processing program, a scanner, and some ingenuity.Now I only use Adobe products in my artwork and Open Office for my typesetting-and book covers isn't the only think I'll be doing in the near future. I am branching out into advertising, web design, web mastering, and other printed materials.

Me:Was I one of those peeps who drove you absolutely crazy and wished he could ditch? Just wondering.

Nope. Dealing with people is the fun part because of the unpredictability, some people do get difficult, some are amazed after just one draft. I prefer to use client input along with using the concept to build the image design for a project. Everyone goes through difficult clients or readers.

Me: Well, I can tell your mama raised you right. Personally, I’ve dubbed him to sainthood. Saint Collin.

Where can people find out more about what you do and get some samples of your work?

Collin:Here’s the link to where you can find out more about me: Beishir Media

Me: Collin, thank you soooo much for sharing with us and for putting together my lovely cover. Hope to see you again soon.

And to everyone else, I hope you like my baby’s dress. There’s nothing like having peeps thinking your kid ran through the ugly forest.

Also, I’m picking through what my editor has suggested. Then it will get a proofread before going to the formatter. After that, it gets another proofread, and then if everything is good, it will be made into a paperback and an e-book. So its looking like the baby will be here around the end of August or sometime in September. Yay!

 

Hugs and chocolate,

Shelly

Friday, July 13, 2012

Remember the Eighties Jelly Shoes?

220px-Woman_wearing_red_jelly_shoes

Yeah. Those things. They were cool looking and came in assorted colors. You could also get glittery ones. But they could leave your feet a sweaty, blistery mess.

Band-aides were my best buds a few days after I wore those things. What was I thinking?

jelly-shoes

Jelly shoe facts:

The shoes were and still are made from PVC plastic. They made a comeback this year, 2012.

They were originally made by a Brazilian company named, Grendene Shoes and introduced in 1981. The shoes made it to the United States in 1982, first in Knoxville, TN and then a year later in Chicago, at a shoe exposition. It was there, that a buyer from NYC Bloomingdales bought 2400 pairs and the shoes branched out everywhere.

And in 1983, the shoes became like totally popular and rad. Totally. Girls wanted them. And you could find them hanging in your local Wal Mart and K Mart shoe aisles for a dollar. Totally rad, man.

In Secondhand Shoes, the MC, Lila, stops off at a K Mart because she’s been wearing a pair of secondhand bridal shoes that are a half-size too small. Check out the following scene:

Aisle five came first. Tennis shoes, dress shoes, jelly shoes, and flip-flops lined the shelves on both sides of the aisle. There were so many different colored jellies. I liked the pink sparkly ones but the black ones matched my ensemble. I grabbed a pair of those.

Gram shoved a pair of red Keds on top the pile I already carried, and a package of socks. “Put those jelly things back. They’re not practical,” she said, grabbing at the black jellies.

“But, Gram—

“Don’t but Gram me. Do you want your feet to be more of a mess than they already are?”

I let a loud short sigh. She had a point. But I’m going to stick out like a sore thumb with those red things on.

Shelly Arkon © 2012

So has anyone ever owned a pair of jelly shoes before? Or, now?

Source of Information:

Wikipedia

Like Totally 80s

Friday, June 29, 2012

Cyndi Lauper v. Madonna

Yup. Today, I’ll briefly write about these two music icons and give you a diddy from Secondhand Shoes.

Both gals showed up in 1983. But it was Cyndi Lauper who stuck in my head. There was something special about her. And no, it wasn’t the funny-colored hair or the goofy lips she used to make.

cyndi lauper

It was her passion. The girl had soul when she sang. It all came from her heart.

And then there was Madonna and still is.

madonna

I never did hear the passion in her voice about what she sang about but she did drool money, money, money... Oh, and I can’t forget SEX. She was a marketable exhibitionist which meant she’d do anything for fame and fortune.

Personally, I prefer Cyndi Lauper any day. She literally glowed when she performed like a song-angel. Still does.

And Madonna well…she’s no angel in my book.

Diddy time:

Some scissors sat on a table in the open break room. I looked around to see if anyone was watching. Nope. I grabbed them and hurried to the bathroom.

I slipped the shirt over my head and slid my arms into the short sleeves. Madonna. Cyndi Lauper. Today I can dress punk and not feel out of place. Gram’s so smart.

I cut the lower half of my dress above my knees. Took that material and cut some strips. They’d make a nice belt and bow for the top of my head. I’m sure Madonna and Cyndi Lauper would think it cool to have a bow displayed over a ball cap. Why not?

I tied a nice sash around the waist of the large-sized shirt and rolled my sleeves up. So Madonna, with one long laced arm instead of laced leggings. Next, I tied up the ball cap with a big girlie bow, something nineteen-twentyish. I looked into the mirror. They’ll never notice me in this.

Shelly Arkon © 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pot Roast, Apple Pie, Liverwurst and Mayonnaise Sandwiches

Good morning all! Before I go further with this post today I thought I’d tell you all I’ll be posting here the first and third Friday of every month for now. I need to focus on family stuff and my writing. Secondhand Shoes will be out this year. As of today, I’ve got 77 more pages to pick through before I send it to a friend for editing. Okay. Enough about that stuff onto the real purpose of my blog today. MOTHER-IN-LAWS.

If you’ve been married more than once, you can end up with some real winners. They can be the most evil peeps on planet earth, and I haven’t got a clue why. My first mother-in-law---we’ll focus mainly on her---was SPECIAL. So SPECIAL she caused all kinds of crap. But I’ll only bore you with one instance and it will give you the entire picture of what I dealt with.

Mother-in-law: My son’s favorite foods are liverwurst and mayonnaise sandwiches. Pot roast and apple pie.

Me: Okay. ***I jotted her information down***

Mother-in-law: He likes liverwurst and mayonnaise sandwiches everyday for lunch. And he likes his pot roast dinner served to him every Sunday. Make sure you make him an apple pie every week. He likes a piece every night before he goes to bed.

Me: ***I take these instructions to heart***

So for weeks I make him the foods I was told were his favorite. I wanted to be the best little wife ever.

Husband: Why do you make me liverwurst and mayonnaise sandwiches everyday? I hate liverwurst. And I hate mayonnaise more.

Me: Oh.

Husband: And I can’t stand pot roast. It’s too dry for my liking.

Me: Oh. ***now I’m really confused***

Husband: And can’t you bake something else besides apple pie like chocolate cake? Apple pie is boring.

Me: Oh. ***my cheeks went hot***

Husband: Whatever gave you the idea I liked any of these?

Me: Your mom. She told me they were your favorite foods.

Husband: She must have me mixed up with my brother or something.

Me: ***How can you mix up your sons? She was so specific?****

But this was also the same woman who thought spousal abuse was okay. Need I say more?

And before I leave, I’d like to share some clips from some of my favorite creepy mother-in-law movies. They inspired me to create Edith Butz, Max’s mother, and Lila’s mother-in-law.

Jessica Lang played the perfect psycho mother-in-law, in the 1989 movie, Hush. Here’s the trailer.

Oh and how about Jane Fonda in Monster-In-Law?

Anyone else have any scary mother-in-law stories to tell?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sorry No Post Today

The day started out on the wrong leg.My daughter, No-No and me waited for her friend’s flight which was delayed a couple times. While waiting, we were hurrying to get the house in order. Not to mention, Glowstick threw up several times all over himself. He’s went through five outfits today. And now, my tale is totally whipped.

So I’ll see you guys next Tuesday. I’ll be yacking about evil mother-in-laws.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wicked Brows, Mommy Dearest, and Wire Hangers

eye browsThis post is to further my celebration of mothers. Mostly bad ones since Secondhand Shoes portrays two different kinds of mothers. Both bad. Both unforgettable…I hope.

Let’s start with eyebrows. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a brow properly arched or cocked coupled with the perfect evil stare can kill you without a word spoken. Ask, Lila.

Mom cocked a wicked brow at Mrs. Butz’s back, giving her a laser-gun look. If it would’ve been real, the woman would’ve landed on the floor dead.

In fact, my own mother had perfected it. She could put the fear of God and Satan in me with that thing in one full extension toward her hair line. There were times she maneuvered it just right, and I ‘d confess to things I never even did. That old heavily,painted brow was a horrific thing to deal with. It could make you believe you were in the worst kind of trouble no matter how good you were that day.

Mom never had to call on dad for any discipline intervention. Her eyebrows were the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. Those suckers were an inspiration for one of Babs’s many quirks.

Oh, did I tell you my own mother pulled all her of eyebrows out one day because she hated them. Neurotic. I know.

Lila like myself was simply horrified by those auto-pilot-operated-brows.

Mom squeezed herself through the gap between him and the door. “You really worry me.” She pushed herself into the room, racing toward me. “Were you talking to another imaginary person?” Her eyes shot to the scissors. “What are you doing? Are you cutting up your wrists?” She squinted her gray eyes at me, cocking her heavily painted left brow. “You’ll do anything to stop this wedding. Won’t you?”

Joan crawford brows

So what does Mommy Dearest have to do with this novel? Um, it was another inspiration in creating Babs. The movie was a perfect display of a psycho-neurotic-personality-disordered mom that would keep any child or adult awake all night for fear they might be pulled out of bed over too many wire hangers in their closet. (I know. I know. Long sentence here.)

Imagine waking up out of a deep sleep in the middle of the night to some psycho-foaming-at-the-mouth-mother. YIKES!

Hope you all have a great Mother’s Day on Sunday.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Moronic Motherhood Adventures

Okay. I promised you all a post on my own personal moron moments as a mother. And I’m hoping if you’re between the ages of fifteen and twenty-one, please take note so you don’t make the same mistakes.

1.Be Careful Who You Pick to be the Baby’s Daddy. Are you asking yourself what this has to do with being a MORON? Genetics is one. And what they do with their free time as a hobby is another.

At 18, I married the epitome of demon spawn. A mama’s boy hooked on everything from bug spray huffing to snorting Drano-exaggerating here but not far from the truth. This was the beginning of my moronic moment in motherhood. Choices can make or brake you, ladies and gentlemen. And in my moronic euphoria, I had three daughters by this sub-human-alien.

Needless to say, I haven’t been married to the walking-toxic-waste-dump for a good 20 years now. Bad boys with residual mother issues do not make good husbands or ex-husbands for that matter. Nor do they make Father of the Year. They’ll cost you your life’s savings and your sanity. And they’ll embarrass their own offspring.

2. Baby Bottle Lids and Microwaves. This is a moment I’ve never forgotten with my first daughter, Fred. She must’ve been 5 months old. I remember suffering from sleep depravation in this moronic moment. In fact, it gives me nightmares in my waking hours when I recall the hall of motherhood memories.

It was way too early in the morning. Dark, in fact. I kept the lights off to keep Fred from screaming up a lung before I could get her bottle properly filled and warmed-that’s what some baby book suggested. Stupid me maneuvered like a blind person through the act of pouring  formula into the bottle, sticking it in the microwave, nuking, and removing it. With one hand I THOUGHT I screwed the lid on it. THOUGHT!

So after I get Fred and me into a comfortable position for the feeding, the baby lets out this blood curdling scream and EXTREMELY warm liquid runs down my lap. The poor baby’s face is covered in formula. I thought for sure I had scalded and drowned her in one feeding. Thank God she’s 27 and has no memory of this moronic moment.

Oatmeal Balls. At 6 weeks old per my mother’s advice, Fred needed to be introduced to rice cereal from a spoon. OMG! This took coordination on both parts and some kind of confidence from me. Mom said to make it watery but I couldn’t keep the cereal on the spoon long enough to get it into her mouth let alone off me.

So I decided to make it thicker, pasty-like. It stuck to the spoon and it pretty much made it into her mouth. Problem solved. Right?

Maybe three weeks later, around 8 P.M., Fred went into a crying to screaming tirade. It lasted all night long. Nothing helped. Changing her diaper. Feeding her. Holding her. Patting her. All of this seemed to make it worse. I was beside myself.

Finally, at 6 A.M. the next morning a miracle happened. She let out loud, thunderous burp- I believe the house shook- and a ball the size of an orange popped out of her mouth.

It was several weeks worth of cereal formed into a nice tight ball. What a MORON!

3. My Two-Year-Old Driver. Yes. Daughter number four, Tinkerbell, decided to drive her and her sisters out of a parking lot one day. Why? Because her MORONIC and pregnant mother made the bad decision to leave her and sisters unattended in the van.

On my way back from talking with a teacher, I watched my van coast toward the school. HOLY SH@#$%!

Me and my 7 month-old pregnant belly ran like no other woman with child ever had. I did an Angelina-Jolie- jump onto the open door on the driver’s side and screamed REALLY, REALLY loud, and landed on my bottom, knocking every once of breath out of me watching the van careening closer to the school’s office.

But Fred saved the day-she was 9 then. Some how she managed to climb into the driver’s seat and drive it over a parking lot bump before she slammed the shift into park.

Yes. Fred had more sense than her MORONIC mother that day.

So dear followers have you ever had a few MORONIC mother moments? Do share.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Wednesdays

Just wanted you all to know, I'll be posting here on Wednesdays. My attempt for this month will be about mothers. The good, the bad, and the ugly(mostly the bad and ugly ones). Not all mothers are fairy and angelic like. Some are more like demons and shouldn't be celebrated. I'll even start my first post on me as a mother. To be honest, I wasn't always the brightest crayon in the box about how to rear my daughters. Especially with my first child. I look back and think 'what a friggin moron'. So I'll see you all on Wednesday.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A to Z Challenge, Day 22 and 23: Y for You and Z for Zany

Today, I’m combining both letters because I haven’t been able to hop around to some of the blogs I follow or, any new ones this week. Shamefully I admit to getting around to only 200 this month. It’s been one thing after another. ZANY to be correct. It’s like the Universe has been fighting me for some reason.

Anyway,  tell me about yourself in the comment box.

Before you do that I‘ll share a little about me.

1. I’m a wife.

2. A mother of 5 grown daughters.

3. I’m a grandma, too. Got three grandsons, My five month old came to live with us this past Monday. So life has really changed.

4. When I was a kid I carried a tablet and pencil with me every where. I loved writing monster stories then. And my favorite intro to every sentence was “and then”. And I love Boris Karloff, Vincent Price,and Christopher Reeves. They are the Kings of Creepy.

5. My favorite, favorite authors are Dean Koontz, Lorelei Bell, Beth Muscat, and Norma Bieshir.

6. I love hot tea and drink lots of H20.

7. I make peoples’ hair beautiful for a living and once worked for lawyers.

Okay. That’s all for now. I’ve got some legal documents to draw up. Also, if you like, you can visit my other blog Life of a Novice Writer . Today, Sir Poops and Hair Ball tell about our new house guest.

Have a great day all.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A to Z Challenge, Day 21: X is for X Marks the Spot

We’re almost there, folks. Y and Z are the only two letters left. My challenge were the curve balls life kept throwing at me during this time. The death of my editor and taking on the responsibility of my 5 month old grandson. But I’ve been making this challenge work. How about you guys?

Also, today I leave you a scene where the main character, Lila’s best friend, Cynthia teaches her to shoot a gun.

Cynthia made a bunch of clunking noises in the trunk.

I walked toward the trunk, and stood beside her.

She slapped a pistol into my hand. Heavy thing. “This is a forty-four Magnum,” she said “It’s a Dirty Harry gun. Cool. Don’t you think?”

I shrugged. Didn’t have a clue what she was talking about. Never liked Clint Eastwood’s movies.

“You hold it like this.” She extended both arms and clasped her hands together making a finger gun. “Hang onto it with both hands. Put your index finger in the trigger hole.”

I did.

She grabbed a spray paint can and ran ahead of me stopping about six feet away in front of a giant oak. There she painted a big black X in the middle of its trunk. When she finished, she ran back to me.

“Aim it at the X and shoot.”

“It can’t possibly be that easy.” I put the gun down at my side.

She shrugged and smirked at the same time. “You’ve got to learn.”

“That’s right,” Gram whispered from somewhere.

“Oh, man,” I said.

“If your husband owns guns and he’s trafficking cocaine…and you took off with the cash and the car…that tells me you need to learn.”

I let out a loud sigh.

 DISCLAIMER: No one may use any of this written content. It belongs to Shelly Arkon.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A to Z Challenge, Day 20: W is for Woods

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Hi everybody!

My Hanny’s been letting me help post her blogs. It’s fun.

Today, we’re posting about the Florida woods. They can be dangerous. There’s lots of bad critters in them. Okay. Hanny. Your turn. I’m getting sleepy. ***he stretches and yawns***

Thank you, Glowstick. Ababababa…You’re sooo cute. I just want to eat your chubby-chunkness.

Hanny. You’re supposed to be blogging not tickling me. I really want to go to sleep. ***he fusses but smiles***

Okay. Sorry. Hi everyone! ****Cheeks are hot**** He’s just so cute. I can’t help myself.

Anyway, today I give you the Florida woods. In the southeastern part its full of swamps, gators, and water moccasins. Most times you have to navigate these parts with airboats.

Now in the northern part of Florida, you still have swamps, gators, and water moccasins but you also have land and low growing vegetation. The soil is sandy, and if you stand in it long enough you will sink. And if you don’t sink you may trip over rows and rows of crab grass.

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And I can’t forget the mosquitos, horseflies, and wasps. One of these or, all will be buzzing around you when you enter. They all leave nasty bites.

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Lila, the main character, finds herself several times in the woods. She either uses them as an escape route or, a place to hide in.

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Imagine trying to walk through that. Especially in three inch heels. YIKES!  I always wondered how Charlie’s Angels did it.

Before Glowstick and I go, here’s a diddy.

I walked for at least a half hour. When Max and I left the wedding it must’ve been in the sixties. It warmed up since then. That’s a Florida November for you. Humid, I was sweating, my bodice soaked. The money inside my bra stuck to the skin of my breasts. It itched. The lace on my arms and back itched more. I smelled no better than Max did when he got home from work and every winged creature buzzed about me. I smacked at mosquitoes. A big, black horsefly followed me. It wouldn’t go away. I thought of Max.

My blisters and toes screamed pre, mid, and post-step. The balls of my feet, too. These three inchers got caught up in vines, branches, and mole holes. It took a lot to stay upright, in the dirt and deep leaves. I considered taking my shoes off, but there might be hook worms or some jungle ameba waiting to feast on some unsuspecting human. I didn’t want some parasite working its way into my leg muscles. I needed my legs down there to get me out of this mess. Mom put the fear of going shoeless in me when I was little. Never in my life had I ever gone barefoot except in my own clean house with clean carpets and disinfected floors. I wore shoes or slippers at Cynthia’s. Her mother didn’t vacuum everyday. Nor did I taste Pine Sol in the back of my throat at her house.

DISCLAIMER: No one may use any of the pictures or written content in this blog post. It belongs to Shelly Arkon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A to Z Challenge, Day 19: V is for Vinny

Before I introduce you to Vinny, I wanted to apologize for not being able to hop around a lot since Monday. I have a new house guest, my five month old grandson. He’ll be with me until my daughter gets her life together. PLEASE PRAY FOR US. Thank you.

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Okay. Onto Vinny.

Ever meet a guy who was drop-dead-gorgeous but dripped with a creepy-jerk-aurora.

If you haven’t, allow me to introduce you to, Vinny.

“Hey,” a man’s voice said.

My heart jumped in my chest. The rest of me did, too, and I turned. Vinny.

“You startled me,” I said. “I didn’t see you there.”

“I know.” He smiled and studied me with his eyes. It reminded me of a neighbor, we used to have. He’d stare at young girls, and his eyes salivated.

I looked over his shoulder. Red roses trailed up a trellis, and the whole garden smelled like Gram.

He came toward me, walking with confidence, and his posture relaxed. “May I kiss the bride?” He loosened his black bow tie.

“Um.” My cheeks went hot and I looked down. He had the bluest eyes I ever saw, and from what I knew, every girl he knew had been crazy about him.

He put a hand out toward me and closed the space between us. I felt like a bunny facing a pretty fox.

His fingers caught one of my curls, and he played with it. “Too bad it couldn’t have been me.”

I trembled and the air grew warm.

His finger slid along my cheek to under my chin, and lifted it. “Can’t figure why a beautiful girl like you married a loser like Max.”

I kept my eyes down and swallowed billions of tiny lumps.

“Maybe you’re all beauty and no brains,” he said, and his voice went to a whisper. “Look at me.”

I did. His jaw clenched, making it look square and well defined. His dark blond hair was pulled into a pony tail. He looked like GQ material in his jacket open, black tuxedo. Dreamy, but dangerous. Maybe it’s an Italian thing.

“Um,” I said. “Um…I think…um….”

“Max owes me, you know?”

DISCLAIMER: No on may use this written content. It belongs to Shelly Arkon.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A to Z Challenge, Day 19: U is for Underwear

Several, several months ago Lila and Max were given an underwear challenge to do but Lila’s been busy running and hiding out from Max. And well, Max has been busy looking for her.

Today, Max finally caught up with Lila for the umpteenth time.

Max: Yeah. Baby Doll. ***he grabs his crotch like Michael Jackson*** This is about underwear. I sure would like to see more than your frilly thangs. Like your other thang.

  ***Lila cringes.***He’s really disgusting. When I see that Shelly Arkon, I’m going to tell her---

Max: Tell her what? ***He slinks toward her.***

***Lila steps back.*** I’m only answering the questions and then I’m leaving.

***Max snakes his arms around her waist and squeezes her against him.*** Feel that?

Lila: Eww. Grody. She pushes at his chest and squirms.*** Gram! Where are you?!

Max: You talking to your dead grammy again? Ma says witches do that. You one of them witches?

Lila: Let’s answer the questions. ***She shoves at Max’s chest some more.***

Max: Okay. Baby doll. I’ll answer them questions and then after, I can get some luvins. Right?

Lila: Gram!

What do you call your underwear/undergarments? Do you have any nicknames for them?

Max: What numb nuts calls their underwear undergarments? That’s my question.

Lila: Someone with intelligence and dignity. I call mine strictly panties.

Max: You’re such a prissy little thang.

Lila sticks her nose in the air.

Have you ever had that supposedly common dream of being in a crowded place in only your underwear?

Max: I never dream unless it’s a wet one.

Lila: ***rolls her eyes*** Oh. My. God.

Max: Answer the question, baby doll.

Lila: I only dream about zombies. Lucky me. ***she squirms again****

What is the worst thing you can think of to make underwear out of?

Max: Hmmm….

Lila: Nothing can be as bad as this moment with you.

Max: You know you want me, baby doll. Girls that fight always do.

Lila: ***gasps*** Let’s go onto the next question.

If you were a pair of panties what color would you be?

Max: I know if I were a pair of panties I’d be clinging to Lila not caring what color I was. ***he shoves his lower half into hers***

Lila lets out a squeal.

Max: You know you want it.

Lila: Can we go to the next question? Please. ***She scoots her bottom half away.

Max: But you didn’t answer the question.

Lila: I have no comment.

Max: Well, I can see you all white and lacey-like. **He waggles his brows***

Lila: Gram!

Have you ever thrown your underwear at a rock celebrity? If so, which ones?

Max: I once ran around naked at a Jimmy Buffet concert. I was smoking some really good shit.

Lila: I hope you were arrested.

Max: That night was a little foggy. How about you, baby doll?

Lila: Never in my life.

You’re out of underwear what do you do?

Max: Air them out. ***He grabs Lila hands and shoves them onto his crotch***

***Lila yanks her hand away.**** I always make sure mine are clean.

****Max nuzzles his nose into Lila’s hair.*** You keeping your thang squeaky clean for me. Oooo, you’re turning me on.

Lila: Oh. My. God.***with fisted hands she pounds his chest***

Max gives a wicked laugh.

Lila: Next question. Please.

Are you old enough to remember Underoos? If so,  did you have any? Which ones?

Max: Underoos who? ***he scratches his head****

***Lila breaks half of herself free from him. *** I haven’t a clue about what you’re talking about. Beats me. *** She wiggles more and sniffs the air. Rosewater.

Gram: You need to knee him in the balls. Makes sure you do it right. Knee not kick like you tried with that Vinny character.

LiLa: ***pulls her knee back***

Max: What are you doing, baby doll? We’ve got two more questions to answer. You promised.

Lila: I never promised anything.

If you could have any message printed on your underwear, what would it be?

Lila: STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM ME MAX BUTZ! ***Her hand goes to her mouth. She never talks like that.***

Max: You know you want it, baby doll.

Gram: He seems to think he’s got something special. A man with a little padding on his bum usually doesn’t have a well endowed one. It’s probably small.

Lila: Gram. Shhh…

Max: You talkin to your grammy again. You’re gonna have to stop that. Ma ain’t going to like that.

Lila: Are we on the last question yet? ***she relaxes her raised knee***

Max: There’s one more.

Lila: Let me go first and then I’ll answer it .

Max: It’s a trick. ***he holds her loosely now***

Lila: No. It’s not. I promise. ***she crosses her fingers behind her back***

Max: As long as you promise then. ***he let’s her go***

Lila takes two steps back.

Gram pushes something hard into Lila’s back. “Take this dear. You’re going to need it.

Lila: A gun. Okay. Next question then.

How many bloggers does it take to put panties on a goat?

Max: I’m not sure me and my friends ever did that but we did dress up Brandy once. She tore that outfit to shreds. She likes to do that to cats, too. ***he lets out a chuckle***

Lila: I’m not stupid enough to even get near a goat. Don’t they have some terrible germ they can pass onto humans?

Max: Okay. Baby doll. I want my luvins. All them questions are answered now.

Lilla pulls the gun around in front of her. Locking her elbows, she points the gun at Max.

Gram: Knock his knee caps out!

Max: Don’t you love me, baby doll.

Gram: Knock them out! Now!

Lila: I hate being called baby doll, and I hate you Max Butz.*** She pulls the trigger and the gun explodes***

Through gun smoke, Max runs off into the Florida woods.

Lila: I missed him again, Gram.

Gram: You’ll get another shot at it.

DISCLAIMER: No one may use the written content. This belongs to Shelly Arkon.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A to Z Challenge, Day 18: T is for Tissue Snippet

Before I deliver the snippet, I wanted to let you all know I’ll be gone for the day. Loppity-lop-lopping instead of hoppity-hop-hopping. And later, I’ve got my live critique group. But I’ll be back tomorrow to join the fun.

She looked down at the bedspread. “Well,” she said. “He’s died a couple times but the doctors brought him back.”

“Why didn’t you tell me? How could you keep that from me?”

Shhh,” she said. “Hate it when you cry.” She jumped up and ran to the bathroom, coming back with a cheap, small no-named box of tissue. She pulled. It made a whoosh sound. She handed a wad of them. “Here, blow.”

I did.

“You know,” Cynthia said. Whoosh, whoosh, she handed me two more.

I took the tissue and blew my nose again.

“He and I had plans to sneak you onto a plane to Venezuela. But you derailed me every time, or should I say, your mother’s plans derailed me.”

“Okay. But why didn’t you tell me he died a couple times?” I asked, tossing my gob of used tissues into a wire wastebasket beside the bed.

“I didn’t think that part would matter.” Whoosh, whoosh. She tugged out two more tissues and dabbed at her eyes.

“Is there anything else you haven’t told me?”

She shrugged and looked at the tissue box.

“Cynthia,” I said, grabbing her shoulders, new tears falling on my face.

Her whole body frowned, and she slumped. “There’s water on his brain.” Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. This time she yanked tissues out of the box and handed me one.

“Oh my God,” I sobbed.

She swabbed at her own tears with the other tissues. “The doctors are keeping him in a coma.”

“Why?”

Cynthia ran her hand under her runny nose. “Because they needed to drill a hole into his skull to relieve pressure.” She took my hand off her shoulder, squeezed it, and sniffled. “I’m sorry, Lila. I should’ve told you sooner but I was afraid you’d—”

DISCLAIMER: No one may use any of this written content. It belongs to Shelly Arkon.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A to Z Challenge, Day 17: S is for Snake

 

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Mr. Water Moccasin  or Cottonmouth

Today, my dear friends, I thought I’d talk about creepy, slithering Florida snakes. Well, just a little.You see, Lila, the main character, in Secondhand Shoes, has many fears. Mother induced, of course.

So many chapters in, we learn of her horrific fear of snakes. In fact, it could’ve been the catalyst to her taking a different path than the one she chose in the novel.

 

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Ms. Copperhead

Snakes come in many shapes and sizes. They can also be symbols in dreams. Usually when this occurs it means you can’t trust some one. For me, it also meant that my mother-in-law was coming to town. Really. I’d see snakes and dream of snakes three days before I’d hear she’d be coming. Just to let you know, she’s now my ex-mother-in-law. So don’t worry, I’m always in trouble no matter what I say or do, even when I was married to her toad-boy.

Anyway, my point today is fear can keep us from climbing through any window of opportunity if we let it. Even the fear of snakes.

And before I give you a little diddy allow me to give you a website on Florida’s poisonous snakes. Just in case you all decide to visit and go hiking in the Florida woods or, you happen to open your car door and are greeted by one of these creatures when you get here. You need to be able to identify one correctly. Click on the link below for more information.

Florida's Poisonous Snakes

Time for the diddy.

Woods spread beyond the diner’s dumpsters. Trees all the way to the interstate’s on-ramp to my left and on down behind the gas station to my right and beyond.

A light wind blew my hair across my face. I looked at the sky. Dark clouds coming up I-75. I looked back at the woods. Snakes came to mind.

“Don’t be afraid, Lila,” Gram said.

DISCLAIMER: This written content may not be used by anyone. It belongs to Shelly Arkon.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A to Z Challenge, Day 16: R is for Research

About four years ago, I attended a mini writing conference. And one of the speakers was a used-to-be- lawyer-turned-bodice-ripper-writer-to-suspense-bodice- ripper-thriller-writer who is a NYC best seller. She gave some really bad advice. And no, I’m not mentioning her name. Like I said she used to be a lawyer.

Anyway, one of her tidbits of advice was ‘just bullshit your way through a scene or a description. You don’t need to research for details. Most readers don’t know any better’. Smack me in the forehead, yes, we do need to research. And yes, the reader knows better.

My critter’s found scenes I had wrong. They were gun related. I learned that a gun is not just a gun but that there are different ones. They even shoot and hold differently. And they don’t all require the same kind of ammo.

When I sent my MS to beta readers, one found (Lorelie Bell, author of Vampire Ascending and Vampire’s Trill), that I had lots of things wrong with driving a semi. So she enlightened me. To this day, I’m so grateful for her suggestions and knowledge on the subject.

And since I’m a hairdresser by trade, I always have opportunities to discuss how my clients feel about reading books.

One of my questions I posed was this, ‘How would you feel if an author bullshitted their way through a scene?”

Their answer was always the same. “We’d put the book down and never finish it because it would make us mad. People aren’t stupid.”

So, yeah, researching topics on how to do something or historical facts is vitally important.

Before I leave, I leave you with a diddy. Maybe two:

It’s not stopping!” The dash looked daunting. There were at least twelve gages and ten switches. “What’s all this stuff for?!”

“I don’t know but you need to find the clutch. It’s somewhere near the brake,” Cynthia said. “I sure hope you remember not to do anything your mother suggests ever again.”

I shifted my foot left and slammed it onto the clutch, grabbing the gear shift. My little hand could barely hang onto the softball-sized shift. “How many gears is on this thing?” I wiggled it front, then to the right, and then left. The engine made a grinding noise.

“Ten forward ones and two reverse.”

DISCLAIMER: No one may use this written content. It belongs to Shelly Arkon.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A to Z Challenge, Day 15: Q is for Question

Today, I wish to ask two questions. One, how do you personally feel about words in a novel? You know, like ‘was’ and ‘that’, ‘just’, and ‘then’. How about too many adverbs and too many dangling participles? Improper tags? Do you feel if we get caught up in what’s right according to the status quo, will it distract you from being creative?

Some authors feel that yes it will ruin the moment of their creative bursts. Mostly the Indies. Since the world of publishing has new options for the self-published we’re seeing the rules broken. ***air quotes here*** Indies are the non-conformists of the publishing world.

Last year, I promised only to read Indie authors’ works and there is some GREAT stuff out there. And yes, there is some mediocre stuff, and some really bad stuff. But I’ve read some really boring and awful famous author stuff, too. They also break the rules. Or, is it their editors screwed up, passing crap through the key hole, thinking no one will notice because they can market the author’s name anyway? ***shrugs***

And I ‘ve read posts and comments about the Indies. Mostly negative.You know, how self-publishing doesn’t filter out the crap. What is crap to you? I believe its something personal.

Personally, I don’t care about the word game-even though when I beta read for someone, I’ll mark up their MS, pointing out the no-no’s. Really though, for me, its all about the plot and character development. If someone can tell a story, who cares about the words? If you can’t tell or write a story coherently, you’ve got a problem. That’s my thought.

Indie author, Elizabeth J. Kolodizier rants exactly about this issue on her blog. Please check it out. Just click on her name below.

Elizabeth J. Kolodizier

My second question is this, do you ever ask yourself why am I writing? Why do I torment myself? Whether its one rejection letter after the other or you’ve got a small following. What’s the point? That’s what Aaron Sawyer asked a couple days ago on his blog. Just click on his name below.

Aaron Sawyer

So what are your feelings on both topics?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A to Z Challenge, Day 14: P is for Pit Bull

pit bull

Pit Bulls get a bad wrap in the media. But do they really deserve it? I say not. It should be their careless and cruel owners who should get mucked all over the news.

Teach a dog to fight. He will. Teach a dog to chase and abuse a smaller animal. He will. Dogs are just little fur children. They do what they know.

Brandy is a Pit Bull who has a special place in Secondhand Shoes. Not only does Lila blossom into a strong and worthy character but so does Brandy.

Here are some lines starring Brandy, the Pit Bull:

Coon sat behind the wheel, chewing his tobacco gunk, looking in my direction, and I slowed to a walk when I saw his Pit Bull, Brandy, (she’s known to chase cats up trees and eat them, and terrorize children on their bikes) sitting next to him.

The dog walked toward a corner across from me, plopped down, facing us. She watched the drama in the room, ripping my last Keds to pieces.

We inched closer to the car. Brandy pulled a chain from behind her, trying to jump out of the truck bed. It jerked her back, making her squeal. She caught her breath, letting out a series of vicious barks and growls. Her lips curled back, baring her teeth at us. Gram appeared behind her, and kneeled beside her. She leaned her head toward her ear. Her lips moved, and she stroked the top of Brandy’s head, calming her down.

DISCLAIMER: No one may use the written content. This belongs to Shelly Arkon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A to Z Challenge, Day 13: O is for Oh My…Owie, Owie, Owie

Sunday, yesterday, and today I woke with hives. Sweetman washed our bed sheets in Tide. I’m terribly allergic and he knows better. His excuse, ‘it smells better then my organic detergent’. Oh my…

But my main character, Lila, well she’s got other problems and it isn’t an allergy rash. Below is a little diddy:

“Ow ow ow,” I said, dropping the handgun and grabbing my foot. My foot landed on something prickly.

“What?” Cynthia said.

I leaned against a tree and examined my foot. A tiny hairy-looking-barbed thing stuck into the fleshy part of my heel. “It’s a sand spur.”

“Pick it out,” Cynthia said.

“Aw,ow,ow, owie, I’m trying. It’s not coming out.”

“Sit and give me your foot. I’ll do it,” Cynthia said, putting the rifle on the ground.

DISCLAIMER: No one my use this written content. It belongs to Shelly Arkon.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A to Z Challenge, Day 12: N is for Nuisance

It’s not my style to whine or complain but Blogger has been a royal pain in me arse. And of all times, too, while I happily hoppity-hop through the blogiddy-blog field spreading and looking for good cheer. Oh dear!

Over the last two weeks I’ve received several 503 error messages when navigating to other blogs or leaving comments. It’s almost as bad as the feeling you get when something hard is hanging in your nose. What a nuisance!

A nuisance conspiracy trying to keep me from my blogiddy-blog-blog-fun. Some one in another blog dimension is trying to steal my fun room and possibly yours, too. It’s sounding all to Matrix-familiar to me.

matrix pic

On day 10 of the challenge it wouldn’t post my ‘L’ post for the life of me. When it finally did, it looked like a word dump. It literally ignored my paragraph commands. I couldn’t tell you how many times I tried to fix it. Oy vey! I thought I had entered the Twilight Zone.

twilight zone

So I have a new name for Blogger. Blooger. Blogger plus booger equals Blooger. Does this make us all Bloogers now? Blooger pickers, perhaps?

nose picker

Anyone else having issues?

Before I go to work, here’s a diddy from my novel:

A slow and methodical smile stretched across her face. “I hope the two of you can negotiate something,” she said, cupping her hand under my chin. “We’d like to welcome you to the family business. Right boys?” She looked over her shoulder at the three idiots. “She’ll make a nice decoy while we export our goods. Praise Jesus!”

 

DISCLAIMER: No one my use this written content. This belongs to Shelly Arkon.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Repost of A to Z Challenge, Day 11: M is for Max Butz

I hope this posts correctly today. Yesterday, Blogger was being touchy. It took me four times to post Day 10’s post and then it ignored my paragraph commands. It looked like I dumped a bunch of words on the page.

Anyway, happy weekend all!

When I get my hands on that woman, there’s no telling what I’ll do to her, beat her into submission or make wild passionate love to her. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. Right now, I need to find her.

The thought came to mind she might be playing hard to get. A game of foreplay before we commence the marriage. Maybe. But she did take off with the wedding cash. I needed it to take care of some business with Vinny. He purchased the load I’m supposed to deliver. Anyway, if she’s playing hard to get, would she have sprayed me with mace? (He scratches his chin) Possibly. Some girls like it rough. They like pain with pleasure. Hmm….

Nah…maybe she’s really running from me because she did steal my car. No one messes with Max Butz’s car. My ma bought it for me-it’s still in her name. Hmmm…I don’t know, though.  Why would she marry me? The woman confuses me.

Maybe she’s  on her way to the police. But ma says wives can’t testify against their husbands in a court of law. If I go down, she goes down. That’s what she says. Ma’s always right about things.

Ma says Lila’d be good for the family business. That’s why I married her…well…kind of. I mean, she’s real pretty. Innocent-like, you know. I get a hard-on thinking about her. Guess that means I love her. Ma says it was God’s will to marry her.

Well, when I find her I’ll give her a good whooping and make love to her all in the same round. You know, let her know who’s boss and who loves her. Women need love with a firm hand to keep’em in line.

I’m hoping I don’t have to kill her though. Ma says I might have to. Ma says if we can’t get Lila to repent and come to our side I’ll have to.

Me and my friends, Coon, Cockroach, and Vinny are on the lookout for her. Lila shouldn’t be too hard to spot…I mean she seems to believe her dead Gram is with her. ***He laughs*** And Ma says if I have to kill her people’ll think she did herself off. Crazy bitch.

DISCLAIMER: No one may use this written content. It belongs to Shelly Arkon.

Blogger is Being a Bummer

I'm really pissed at this Blog right now. Day 10 and todays post looks like a word dump. This D@#!% thing is ignoring my paragraph commands. Sorry guys! I do know better. Shelly