“Manchester by the Sea”

This guy does the best reviews!

Juicy Reviews

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FRIDAY NIGHT/MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: Last night, I saw “Manchester by the Sea,” which stars Casey Affleck (Good Will Hunting, Gone Baby Gone), Lucas Hedges (Moonrise Kingdom, The Zero Theorem), Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights [TV series], The Wolf of Wall Street), C.J. Wilson (The Intern, Demolition), and Michelle Williams (Dawson’s Creek [TV series], Shutter Island). It is written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan (Analyze This, Gangs of New York). When his brother passes away, Lee Chandler (Affleck) returns to his hometown of Manchester to take care of his nephew, Patrick (Hedges), until they can figure out what to do about the current situation. In the meantime, Chandler must deal with his past, which is constantly being dug up the moment he walks into town.

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“Manchester by the Sea,” has a lot of terrific aspects. The acting is superb, the cinematography is great, the setting is stunning, and the dialogue is…

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Just the Right Words

power-of-wordsNot only should you be careful of what you say, but be careful of what you write.

This could go so many ways. My mother taught me at a very young age to never write down what you don’t want someone to read…anyone to read. Did I heed her advice? The advice that usually only comes from getting burned in order to deal it out to the naive masses, in hopes they don’t make the same mistake? Yes, I listened, but only after someone read what I didn’t want them to. What can I say? We are creatures that cannot simply be told, we must experience for ourselves. Lesson learned.

I had a conversation in the car this week with my 8 and 10 year old boys. One was teasing the other about something. I interrupted and told them that words should be for building someone up, not tearing them down. They have great power, and once unleashed, they can never be swallowed, lassoed back, or drowned. They are out there to be pondered, over-thought, and for many, to be destroyed. So choose words wisely.

So I have the privilege to write words this weekend. Well, I sort of am ignoring other chores and burying myself in a hole with my laptop. I come out occasionally, but for the most part you can hear pecking coming from the first room on the right, at the top of the stairs. Sometimes I’ll be typing along and I stop and wonder how I got down this street. Where are my characters again? Where did I need them to go? How is it that I’m five miles off course? And how do I get back to the pacing it needs to be?

Words are crucial. They either insight a reader to read ‘just more chapter’ at two in the morning, or close the book, fifty pages in. A writer has to always be mindful of where the words are going. What words should be used. It’s so funny how I’ll keep traveling, stop, look around, and wonder how I’m going to transition from this dead end. Patiently I put the car in reverse, back out (delete) the last ten pages and mindfully try again. It’s a job I love the most. Formulating just the right words. 🙂

Oh Boy!

yikesA couple of things to report…So here in Virginia, well in my part of Virginia, we got about 5 inches of snow. Maybe more, I don’t exactly keep a gauge outside or check the weather, I’m only guessing based on how much is sitting on top of the bird feeders. Anyway, it was enough that kept me inside. I went to the grocery store last night after going to the movies. We saw ‘Sing’. You know, the one with the dancing pig? It was decent. I only wish the lady next to me hadn’t eaten onions and believed in freely belching in my direction. It was pretty disgusting. The movie made me laugh a few times. And who knew Scarlett Johansson could sing?

But that was the end of my evening. It began in the salon chair, 12 hours earlier than that. I got a haircut about 3 weeks ago and the style wasn’t exactly working for me. I cursed and cringed everyday, but avoided calling and expressing my heartburn over the hairdo. As if telling them might make a worse cut out of the situation. Like sending a burger back to the kitchen and having someone spit in it, or something. So…I wish I’d trusted my gut. I called, and they were too happy to “fix” it. Mind you, I love my stylist. She’s the best, but after I had heart palpitations seeing all my hair end up on the ground, I’m rethinking how much I love her. I. have. no. hair. No, really. None. Okay, so a little. Have you ever seen ‘Steel Magnolias’ when Julia Roberts gets all her hair cut off because she’s sick? Yeah, that about sums it up. I wanted to cry…pull my coat over my head…wear a disguise to work. My four boys are now sporting longer hair than me. Yikes. So I have a wig, hair growth vitamins, and a box or two of tissues to get me through the few weeks to grow an inch. 😦

Subject change…The snow has delayed my son returning to college. Not that I mind! 🙂 It’s been so nice having him home. So what if the laundry heap is higher, and the amount of food to make grows larger…I’ll take it!

Yet another subject…(it’s the short hair, I can’t even think long-term anymore!) Now I’ve got to get back to writing my next book! “Searching for Sarah” is coming along. My heroine is inspired by Jennifer Garner. What a sweet girl. She got the raw end of the deal with Ben, I feel. Really? You need a nanny when you have that sweet, pretty girl that’s your wife? I’ll make sure to give her a stand-up guy in my story! How does Kevin Costner sound?kevin_costner

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Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway!

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I am so happy to be involved in yet another book hop! There are so many links to this one. So many chances to win things. And just in time for the holidays. Actually, it runs right through the holidays, up till New Year’s Eve! So you get all giddy before the presents, by entering for your chance to win, and then after all the hoopla is over and the wrapping is all over the place, you get the opportunity to enter a few more with more chances to win. It’s a win-win! Presents for Christmas…possible presents after Christmas!! And books, no less. 🙂 I’m joining in to give an Amazon gift card, valued at $10.00  ($10 US dollar PayPal for INT winner), along with an ebook of my latest release, “The Secret He Keeps”. I hope everyone hops along to all the links posted and best of luck in winning! 🙂

julieanndove_thesecrethekeeps_450x675The Secret He Keeps
Purchase: Amazon
Add to Goodreads
Published: December 8, 2016

Dr. Rachel Miller has no recollection of what happened that night she climbed in the car with her husband and he drove recklessly into a tree. She has no clue as to why she survived and he didn’t. Nor does she understand why strangers are coming up to her on the street and telling her things she can’t recall about a life that seems so long ago. But Dane Stone knows.

Dane Stone is Rachel’s business partner…and her deceased husband’s best friend. He knows about the notes, the hotel receipt, and the reason she got in the car that night. It’s for her protection that he keeps the secret, but inside he’s dying to tell her.

Giveaway

Enter to #win a $10.00 Amazon gift card ($10 US dollar Paypal for INT)  and eBook of The Secret He Keeps
Enter Giveaway

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Reviews…Do you do them?

reviewAs an author, I ask for reviews all the time, it seems. I post kindly reminders on Facebook, I message my friends that if they have a second…, and I nag my best friends in person! Do they leave one? No. I mean what’s the big deal? Okay…so I don’t always practice what I beg. Amazon sends me endless email notifications to leave reviews, but I usually scroll right past and keep reading what store is giving a 20% discount for this day only! That’s so not right. The very thing I peddle, I neglect to do. So this morning, I’m feeling all good about myself because I left a review for our family dentist. They completely rock! And I was so proud to write all the wonderful things they mean to me. We go twice a year. Yeah, let that sink in. Five appointments…which at one time meant five kids under the age of 10. But my dentist made it feel like spa treatments. We never wait, they always stagger us, and I literally hop from one chair to the next, hearing the condition of each of my children’s teeth. It couldn’t be more painless if I, myself, had to sit in the chair  and endure the drill. No one has ever cried, bit, or left unhappy. That’s quite a feat, and exactly why I was so compelled to leave a five star review.

Now to the ugly one star I had to leave recently. A book I ordered, for a gift, which was incredibly priced over half off, arrived completely junked. I’m not so sure it wasn’t junked when it took off from the warehouse. I mean how can you pay so little for an item that originally is pricey? Yeah, well I get it now. The cover plastic was separated from each other, bowing up as if it’d sat in water the whole trip to my home, and every page was bent. It didn’t help that they shipped it in plastic equivalent to a grocery store nuisance bag. So when I reviewed it one star for condition, I promptly received an email from them, stating I was receiving a refund. They claimed they had new people working the day my book shipped out. Hmmm… Beyond the uncanny of time thing, though, how amazing is that? But I wanted the book…it was a gift. Keep the money, just send a new book. Well, I suppose it was the last damaged book they owned, so the money I got. I’m going to give the book…it’s an awesome reference material. I’ll just explain some horrific story behind the damages. Maybe the delivery guy was attacked by a pack of wolves and as he was hanging on a precipice, the book endured water damage from the nearby stream trickling past his mangled hand. Sounds better than it was the last book they could find shoved underneath a warehouse shelf, huh?

Anyway, I hope this encourages me and anyone else to leave more reviews. Not bad ones, indeed! Good ones. Ones that deserve the five stars, but it seems we’re too busy to press the button. You never know how it can boost someone’s business. I know when I shop on Amazon, it’s all about the rating. I need to give back a little more. 🙂

This Moment

main-qimg-4b472fcbc9fdd8243e7d1eaca1392d6c-cToday was very busy. I made breakfast, washed two loads of clothes, cleaned the foyer, dusted a bit, separated gifts, folded clothes, cleaned kitchen, turned around to dirty dishes with making lunch, drove my daughter to meet a friend to see a play, made a real estate stop, came home and started making dinner, folded more clothes, cleaned up dinner, drove out to pick up daughter, shopped, bought my son shoes, played family game night, and now I sit at my computer listening to the last load of clothes tossing in washer. I’m tired. Every year it’s the same thing…promises I make to myself….”I’m going to lay in bed and watch this movie or that movie…I’m going to sew an apron for so-n-so, I’m going to bake those cookies I clipped out of the magazine, I’m going to watch the Christmas tree lights at night and chill out”….

Yeah, right. That never happens. I never have a moment to enjoy any of the decorations it seems to take me all day to put up. I never get to bake cookies and get sick off the dough. I’m too busy. And before you know it, Christmas is over. Those moments have passed, and the decorations are all put away. But when do you stop? When do you not care if the dishes are piled up next to the sink, and just go in and enjoy a bubble bath and paint your toes while wrapped in your fuzzy pink robe? Will I be too old when the day comes? Ever notice all the sports cars, I mean the truly vintage, nice sports cars are driven by old people? That’s because it takes  that long to afford one, I suppose. I don’t know…maybe you appreciate more things at an older age.

My sister gets on me to ‘burn the candle’, ‘use the nice sheets’, and ‘open the tasty bottle of wine’. I’m famous for keeping things until I can enjoy them. But when is that? Why are they still in the closet, not getting used?

Reflection moment over. I’ve got to go put some clothes in the dryer. 🙂

Greetings, From One Happy Author

happy-writerToday marks the publication of my fifth book!! Can you believe it? Five….let me think about that for a second. It wasn’t too long ago that I was trying to spit out book 2 in my Amy series. And now Mister Five is debuting. Hard to believe. And all in one year, I might add! I hope this doesn’t come across braggy or anything. That’s one thing I don’t do, but I’m amazed how my year has gone down. I’m happy to have been able to achieve this. I didn’t really set out to do it. I didn’t have a plan at all, really. The words kept coming, the fingers kept moving, and there you have it! Book five, “The Secret He Keeps”, is hitting the market today.

I must admit, I’m a bit nervous about this one. I’ve had some mixed reviews. Some don’t like the ending…or should I say, ‘who done it’. And as you know that all it takes is for one or two people not to like an outcome and poof, there’s that crazy self-doubt…strutting in like he owns the town. In this case, my mind. You see, it begins to wander and pace and think, ‘should I rewrite some things? make it pleasing to the ones that don’t like it?’ Or, should I stand confident that I do like the outcome. I wrote it for Pete’s sake. No, not everyone is going to like everything you write, but be proud of it. It’s your words. It’s your heart inside those pages.

The second reason I could be feeling antsy might be because it’s different from the other books I’ve published. Not so much “A Reason to Stay”, but from Amy. Amy is shy, naive, and borderline G-rated. Rachel, from “The Secret He Keeps’, not so innocent! There is more colorful language, and the storyline is way over on the other end of the spectrum from dear, sweet, innocent Amy. I’m hoping it doesn’t prove to dissapoint my Amy fans.

Aside from all the self-doubt a writer goes through before placing their work in the hands of readers, I’m hoping for great reviews. (fingers crossed) Writing about complicated love and messy people isn’t easy. It’s not predictable, and it gets sticky in situations. For all those who give Rachel a chance, to see what lies behind that locked memory of hers, thank you bunches. After all, she’s just an ordinary woman, suppressing some extraordinary feelings. It’s a technique that’s got her this far, but how will she handle life when all the memories come crashing down?

Here’s my giveaway for someone to take a liking to Amy! She’s still one of my favorites. 🙂 Good luck on winning.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b9a55db3187/?

Checking it Twice

checklistNo, I’m not talking about Santa’s List. I’m referring to my checklist for the release of my 5th book, “The Secret He Keeps”. There are so many things, so many blog posts, and interview questions to answer. I hope I haven’t forgotten anything.

I keep three calendars. Think that’s enough? I write appointments and reminders in three separate places!! Then I’m at work one day, write the date, and yell out ‘oh, no!’ I’m surprised I remember how to drive there each day. Seriously…my mind is so stretched thin with things to remember. Field trip notes to sign, giveaways to send out, dogs to pick up from the groomers. Yes, I momentarily forgot to pick up the dog once. I wondered why the house was so quiet that day.

I celebrated my anniversary yesterday. It was riddled with work, transporting kids, a visit to the hospital, a nice dinner, and finally throwing up after all was settled. I had to go into work because as we know, I’m a landlord of sorts. And the first of the month is when rent is due. Transporting kids came from a gracious nanny willing to keep said kids so I could eat out and not have to cut everyone’s food while mine goes cold. Hospital visit is for my stepdad. He’s in for a third time of ‘let’s try and find out why he’s passing out’. Seriously…can we get it right this time? Dinner was great. Fireside…seafood…cake vodka. Let’s just sit there for a moment, shall we? Cake vodka? Why have I never heard of this? It tasted exactly like cake, and it had properties to make me feel warm and lovely inside. Yum. And then comes the illness. Yes, who can end a romantic evening and not include hugging a trashcan? I don’t know what it was…maybe the seafood? It certainly couldn’t have been the cake vodka… I won’t let that memory become shattered with believing that hogwash. Either way, it made the evening all the more memorable!

Cheers to a lovely weekend, everyone. I’m heading out to a housewarming party, a couple antique shops, and I’ll see about picking up those lovely children of mine. Maybe after nanny has fed them. 🙂

Book Hop Giveaway

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Who doesn’t love giveaways? Now through November 29th, a group of lovely bloggers and myself will be joining together in a book hop. I don’t know about you ,but I’ve sort of stopped the whole not going to bed just to be first in line at the door buster sales. Yes, they are good door busters, but I’m at the age where I respect sleep a little bit more than a .99 blu ray disc. My goodness, what’s become of me?

I’m so delighted in being able to join this hop. Truth be known, it is my first. I’m giving away a $10.00 Amazon gift card and an advanced copy of my new book, The Secret He Keeps. It releases December 8, so you could enter for a chance to get it first…and free!

I wish everyone luck, and don’t forget to follow all the other hops in this great caravan of goodies and giveaways. Stay in your pajamas, sleep till noon, and click away for your chance to win books!
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The Secret He Keeps
Purchase: Amazon
Add to Goodreads
Published: December 8, 2016

Dr. Rachel Miller has no recollection of what happened that night she climbed in the car with her husband and he drove recklessly into a tree. She has no clue as to why she survived and he didn’t. Nor does she understand why strangers are coming up to her on the street and telling her things she can’t recall about a life that seems so long ago. But Dane Stone knows.

Dane Stone is Rachel’s business partner…and her deceased husband’s best friend. He knows about the notes, the hotel receipt, and the reason she got in the car that night. It’s for her protection that he keeps the secret, but inside he’s dying to tell her.

 

Giveaway

$10.00 Amazon gift card and an advanced copy of my new book, The Secret He Keeps
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9e0c56be205/?

Hop all the Stops

I’m such a magnet to…

traffic…the dumb lane. You know, the one that goes nowhere. As in grocery lanes that look as though the people have little to no groceries, so you stand behind them and lo and behold the lane next to you, with six families looking as though they’re stocking up for 12 feet of snow, ends up leaving before your things hit the conveyor belt. Yes, that is me in the grocery store and me yesterday, sitting in traffic. Six and a half hours…I repeat…six and a half hours to go to a place that is usually four hours drive time. And yes, I got in all the possible dumb lanes I could find. But enough ranting. What did I expect. After all, it is Thanksgiving week. Happily, all that traveling resulted in my college boy coming home. Yay!!

Before the ooey, gooey, go and stop of traffic, I went shopping. I stopped off in Williamsburg and hit the outlets for some Christmas buying. I did very well, but I was lonely. No one could go with me. Frankly, it was a first. It’s so much better going with a BFF or a mother. My mother specifically. She was, instead, shopping for hams and turkeys. This Thanksgiving she’s doing the hosting.

Then came lunch…..Best. Lunch. Ever. I stopped in at The New York Deli. The bomb!! I ordered a hot Delly sandwich. Ahhmazing. It had ham, turkey, lettuce, provolone, mustard, mayo, and the skinniest pickle slices I’ve ever had to caress my tastebuds. The bread was magic. It was like a rye sub roll, crunchy on the edges, and ohh so warm. I’m drooling just thinking about it. Lovely!!! And it was like a foot long. I had to carry one half around with me, just so it wouldn’t get hot in the car. I enjoyed it all over again, while I sat in traffic.

I got home late, tired, and blurry-eyed. All-in-all it was a most lovely day. 🙂