Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Favourite Blonde Author Offers Straight and Narrow

New Mystery by Sigrid Macdonald, Straight and Narrow

Several years ago, Sigrid Macdonald published a book called D’Amour Road, which was loosely based around the true-life disappearance of an acquaintance of hers in Ottawa. She has since discontinued that book and rewritten large parts of it. The final outcome is Straight and Narrow, a darkly witty mystery with complex subplots.

Right before her fortieth birthday, Lisa Campana goes missing. Her best friend, Tara, is devastated and bewildered. Has Lisa broken her sobriety or has she gone into hiding because she is afraid to tell her partner, Ryan, that she's pregnant and he may not be the father? Worse, Ryan has a history of battery. Could he have harmed her? Take a roller coaster ride with Tara Richards as she falls headfirst into a comical midlife crisis while dealing with the grave situation of searching for her missing friend.

I was one of the earlier readers of D'Amour Road way back in  2007.  Seems like a long time ago in Internet measurements.  I liked the fact that the National Capital FreeNet was mentioned as a resource during the search for Lisa.  

You can get the Straight and Narrow Kindle edition at Amazon.   

Sigrid is one of my favourite blonde writers - and friends.  Read about her other books and her services at the Copy Editing and Critiques blog

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Young Adult Fiction and Romantic Delusions

I watched the movie "Young Adult" with my young adult residents on RoD last night. It wasn't as funny as we thought it would be, based on the previews. It was actually quite serious - about a 37 year old woman who is depressed and bordering on alcoholism (plus she's a writer -  go figure!). 

She goes back to her home town to try and win back her ex-boyfriend, to rekindle an old flame.  Of course she's delusional since he's happily married to a wonderful woman with whom he has parented a baby.

I think it's a good story with fair warnings about mental health, addictions, misunderstanding what is "happiness".  The character goes through great pains to make herself aesthetically attractive on the outside but man! does she have a lot of work to do on the inside.  She's one delusional, crazy prom queen!

Young Adult

2011 Soon after her divorce, a fiction writer returns to her home in small-town Minnesota, looking to rekindle a romance with her ex-boyfriend, who is now happily married and has a newborn daughter.

Details at:

As a writer and published author, I found a couple of scenes touched me personally:
  1. At least twice, Mavis makes a point of correcting people adding that she is an "Author" after they compliment or mention her status as a "Writer".  (the nerve!)
  2. In the home town book store, Mavis is offended when the clerk informs her that the series of Young Adult books for which she ghost writes is on the clearance table.  She loses it when he informs her that the books will have no value if autographed and the store has to return them to the publisher.  (Ouch!)

My novel The Year of the Rabbit contains many themes and one of them is the desire to put things back the way they were.  In many cases, life does not allow us that option.  In one case, all it takes is the encouragement and unexpected wisdom of an 11 year-old girl.

The Year of the Rabbit is published as an Ebook with Smashwords where authors can decide if or what discounts can be applied to the sales.  I can't autograph it for people but can offer a taste of reader comments and a 20% free download.   

Please note:  This book contains content considered unsuitable for young readers 17 and under, and which may be offensive to some readers of all ages.

To close the loop of this post with the subject of "old flames", I recently received a Facebook friend request from someone I knew as a kissable boy in my home town.  I responded with a message acknowledging that many years have passed and… a request to see a profile picture before I approve the connection.  I'm curious, not shallow :o)

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Thank you for reading this far.  If you like my writing style, explore other posts in this blog and the many posts in the blog for my novel The Year of the Rabbit.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Morality Police or Commerce Bully?

Well, this is not good news...

PayPal is forcing online publishers to pull "erotica" content from their sites.  They don't think US adults can make mature choices on what content to view, read or purchase. 

This recent move is bordering on censorship and is unfair.  Read my rant here. Read what the EFF has to say

Erotica and its sub-categories are not my cup of tea.  My novel is published with Smashwords.  Although it has some titillating scenes, it is not considered erotica.  

Don't let this recent un-development put a damper on the "Read an Ebook" celebrations in the US.  Do drop by and get 75% off The Year of the Rabbit until March 10th.   

The book contains content considered unsuitable for young readers 17 and under, and which may be offensive to some readers of all ages.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bullies, Trolls and Robocallers

This is a lengthy rant about the abuse of technology and what seems to be a prevalence of middle school mentality.

Imagine being a teenaged girl and confronted by an older brother who blames YOU for something he saw written on a men's room wall.  

Imagine the shock, the hurt and feeling of helplessness at hearing his criticisms of your supposed character based on some anonymous coward's scrawls.  Aside from comments by jealous girls on school washroom stalls, that was the first time I remember feeling attacked by the written word. 

Ah, yes… Remember the days of middle school?  It's a good study of the pubescent brain and lack of judgement.  

Did you ever hang around with a crowd of popular kids but reconsidered after you witnessed cruel behaviour or actions?  I recall a group of friends with an assertive ring leader.  One day, while we were hanging out at a group member's home, this troll helped herself to the telephone and started making prank phone calls around town.  There was a pretty, quiet girl in school that she didn't like.  She made a call to this girl's home, disguising her voice and threatening her. 

My memory is foggy if other girls in the group objected to this behaviour.  I knew then and there that I didn't want anything else to do with this bully.  Although afraid of rejection, my teenaged brain started to wonder if she would use the same tactics on people who defected from her shaky circle of "friends".  I too had been the recipient of hang-up calls.  Geez, I wondered... what if some had been from her? 

Decades later, technology improved with the availability of call display (at a cost to the consumer).  Still, unethical businesses could find a way around the system to disguise or spoof their numbers.  If you wanted to avoid telemarketers, you had to register with a questionable "do not call" list or pay extra for a service from your provider.

It's not fair.  I feel the telephone should not be abused or used as an advertising medium.  It should be reserved for communication between families, friends and known business entities.  You should have the choice to say "yes, I agree to receive solicitations". The lines should remain open for emergency calls. Yes, there are cases when calling numbers should be hidden, i.e. when coming from psychiatrists' or family counsellors' offices.

We still receive systematically dialed telemarketer calls that solicit our charitable donations or try to instill fear into us with recorded messages with "concerns about the current economic situation…" and "…Press 1 to continue or 2 to be removed from our list." Not f*cking likely!

Are we familiar with the cowardly actions of groups and individuals who recently used illegal or covert methods to skirt around loosely defined social media rules? Remember the abuse by someone accessing and broadcasting personal or false information about politicians, besmirching them publicly and anonymously.  What a despicable behaviour.  What also bothered me was witnessing the additions and comments by my online acquaintances.  Again, it reminds me of the middle school mentality. 

It's bad enough that we still receive all kinds of unsolicited email messages (spam) and unethical advertisers, spammers and scammers are still getting away with it!  Now our teens and tweens have to contend with cyber bullying on Facebook, YouTube and other Internet forums.  

Middle school and high school are hard enough to navigate emotionally and socially without these hurdles.  It has gotten so bad that some victims have even committed suicide. This makes me sad and angry.  

Most of my friends and readers know that I am a reasonable, fair person.  They also may know that I avoid discussing politics or don't wish to remove all doubts about my intelligence by opening my mouth on the subject.  I just can't believe what has come to light as relates to the recent federal election scandal due to misleading "robocalls".  

Watch Rick Mercer's rant about the potential election fraud as a result of these calls.  Something has to be done.  As Rick states, this wasn't likely one staffer working alone.  There had to be some "unspoken" approval, wink or nod from higher up.  There had to be influence from a leader, a financier or a political bully intent on preventing citizens from voting for a certain candidate - or party.  That's a crime, folks.  

The providers of these "services" should also be accountable for allowing questionable subscribers and not confirming the validity of their contact information.
Readers of my novel, The Year of the Rabbit will recall antagonist Daryl MacDonald.  Not only was he an abuser, he was an unchallenged bully due to his family's ownership of most of the real estate in the fictitious town of Seguin Sound.  He was also what a couple of my young female characters referred to as a "troll".  His towering reign of abuse and influence was soon felled by an innocent child - with a little help from nature.

Even as we attempt to educate our youth early on about ethics, our justice system should punish adults who abuse their positions of power or use technology to harass or exploit others.  If that means law enforcement will be legally watching MY online activities in the mix, I don't care. 

I would like to hear your thoughts and welcome your feedback.  Sorry, anonymous comments are not allowed.