Saturday, April 27, 2019

Once Upon a Bad Boy --Melonie Johnson

A Sometimes in Love Novel – Book 3
Perfect 10
St. Martin’s Press
ISBN-13: 9781250193070
ISBN-10: 1250193079
June 2019
Contemporary Romance

Chicago – The Present

Mercedes Goldovitz, better known as the actress Sadie Gold, has gone through hard physical training for months before she begins an upcoming role. She landed the lead character Jamie in the movie Fair is Fair, based on a best-selling novel. It could be her breakout role. Since her hiring, she has left the soap opera where she played a spoiled rich girl. As her family is very wealthy, many celebrity reporters and viewers think she only played herself and think her family influenced her getting the part. They do not know how hard Sadie worked and continues to work to advance her career, and for this part it means sticking to a very strict diet. Once a week she treats herself to a donut. Today she attends a pre-production ‘table read’ meeting where her costar Ryan, also training and dieting, tells how any mention of carbs makes him feel homicidal. Sadie tells him she has half a donut she will share with him. As they laugh together Sadie hears something not heard in eleven years: Bo Ibarra’s voice. Shocked, she learns Bo is the movie’s stunt coordinator. He was her best friend during the summers she spent with her grandmother during her childhood and teen years. Bo was her first lover. Then on their prom night date, he broke her heart, telling her with no reason or excuse, they were done. She hasn’t seen or spoken to him since.

Bo still feels his attraction to Sadie, the same thing he felt every summer when her parents dumped her off at her grandmother’s estate so they could travel the world. Later he knew it was a doomed relationship. Sadie came from a rich family. His father was the estate manager for her grandmother. He and his family lived in a home provided by his employer. Can he resurrect their friendship? Not on the job, Bo warns himself. His company’s reputation is at stake, so not if he wants to continue in this profession.

While Bo and Sadie work very hard with the rest of the movie crew developing Fair is Fair’s many difficult and sometimes dangerous scenes, their still abiding friendship moves them closer. But the past still haunts them. Why did Bo end their relationship the way he did? And Sadie has kept a secret from Bo.

Sadie’s friends from previous books in the series show up in the story. Especially prominent is Ana, her best friend since high school, who throughout the story acts as Sadie’s mentor. Bo’s and Sadie’s families also play important parts, which explains much about their different situations. Bo’s is warm and comforting, while only Sadie’s grandmother seems to care about her. The movie production scenes are interesting as are Sadie’s problems with media coverage, so the story travels some unusual paths. ONCE UPON A BAD BOY is both a heart-breaking and heart-warming story readers will enjoy.

Seasons in Stories

The season of a story's setting can affect the story not only emotionally but also metaphorically. Characters drenched by a rainstorm or trapped somewhere during a snowstorm can create dramatic situations both emotionally and physically.

While most of my scifi stories do not have seasons, I have a couple of shorts that do, and I know seasons can play powerful elements in the setting and in the plot. Of course, it all depends on where the setting takes place and the type of season portrayed.

Another aspect of seasons is the metaphorical or symbolic meanings tied to seasons. People often take the seasons as symbols of living: spring is the child and summer morphs into the young, adventurous adult. Fall becomes the measure of one’s success in life, while winter represents old age and facing life's end.

Spring, of course, is the season when the daylight lengthens and seems to brighten. It is a season of renewal, a time when many wild animals give birth and when trees and plants emerge from hibernation to sprout leaves and flowers. So, it can represent childhood, growth, regeneration, or being given a new start. It is a time when many darkened souls find hope.

Summer is when things warm up and turn hot and wild. People love to vacation and have outdoor parties and events during summer. It makes summer represents freedom.

Autumn is the seasons of reflection, the ripening of life, or a warning of the approach of winter’s difficulties.

Winter is when many animals go into hibernation and in the U.S. a time when many people in northern states become snowbirds and take extended stays in southern states. Daylight is less time than darkness. Depending on where you live, travel can become difficult and the weather can turn into deadly storms. Yet it is also the time when many skiing or snowmobile enthusiasts show how they can conquer both the snow and cold. Winter can often represent a season of introspection and endings but it can also be one of rebirth as represented in the Christmas story. So it is also a season of hope. Most often, though, it symbolizes hardships, hopelessness, despair and of death.

While all of these are obvious, they can be effective in stories because the reader has their own experience of the season. If they live in a location that does not have the hard winters of some places, they are aware they happen. Many meanings in stories are subliminal or symbolic and writers can take advantage of the seasons to the story’s benefit.

Please visit the following authors for their viewpoints on seasons in writing:

Skye Taylor
Victoria Chatham
Diane Bator
Judith Copek
Beverley Bateman
Connie Vines
Helena Fairfax
Dr. Bob Rich 

Dr. Bob Rich 2

Thursday, April 18, 2019

From Depression to Contentment -- Dr. Bob Rich, PhD

A Self-Therapy Guide
Loving Healing Press
ISBN-13: 978-1-61599-435-9 (Paperback)
ISBN013: 978-1-61599-437-3 (e-book)
March 5, 2019

Doctor Bob Rich’s advice comes from both personal issues and professional experience. His advice does not include prescriptions for drugs. Throughout the book he gives examples from his own life and from his patients’ experiences, using alias identities. His approach is one any thoughtful person can learn and apply to their own situation. The book gives information on types of depression, where it comes from, and steps to analyze and overcome individual causes of depression and its reoccurrence. It also gives great communication examples, so ultimately helps people maintain relationships while providing information on how to help others. Each chapter includes homework sessions, useful URLs to investigate, and books that not only back up his suggestions but information readers will also want to explore.

The book covers more than just depression. It talks about dealing with life’s obstacles that lead to depression. Chapter two lists seven requirements for a contented life: healthy eating, satisfying sleep, regular physical exercise, regular fun, creativity, social connectedness, and meaning. With determination, things everyone can achieve. Some of these I need to work on. I found the chapter on relaxation and meditation recommendations very helpful with easy-to-use techniques.

In the About the Author page it states Doctor Bob’s major joy in life is to be of benefit to others, and I must admit this book’s contents were of benefit to me and will help other readers. While it is a relatively short book, those who read it will want to re-read it several times and probably keep it at hand for dealing with difficult times and situations. So when I found the PDF version he gave me to review helpful, I decided to buy the Kindle version.

Doctor Bob also talks about many problems plaguing the world and humanity that can cause depression, which is on the rise. I wholeheartedly agree
with these views.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Rowing Update

I've been rowing two and a half hours at about 27 strokes per minute each week since my first post on rowing. This week I've only done one hour. I've worn out my machine and for a second time, the cord has broken. Bill fixed it for a second time, so I'll be able to pick up and do more rowing, but I think I'm going to need a new machine before the year is over. The computer section in the control panel no longer works. It has been hard to keep going, but I've been a bit obsessive-compulsive about the progress. Now after a suggestion from my daughter-in-law, I listen to music while rowing and do two 15 minute sessions five days a week, or at least, I had. Now I have to get back into my schedule.

For the first time in my life, I can feel the muscles in my legs, which feels strange when I walk, and while the muscles in my arms have less development, I have some. I think I will take up some weight lifting that I learned from Margaret Richardson in the Body Electric TV show that aired for years here on PBS. I might look up some of the yoga I learned from Lilias Yoga and Your before that, again on PBS.  I have a CD for Lilias, but I might need to get one for Margaret's exercise CDs, if they are still available.

Whew-hoo! Just found out Body Electric is on YouTube; so are some episodes of Lilias Yoga and You. How the world has changed.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Reading: Escapism at Its Best

Reading fiction for me is escapism at its best, but it offers many other benefits, too. Reading lets me leave my everyday life and to mentally visit someone else, to experience a character’s life, understanding, experiences, and adventures. While I may never encounter their problems, I have connected with how they solved them, with the character’s resilience to continue despite their disappointments or even melancholy. It has also shown me the magic of forgiveness.

Reading allows me to go places I’ve never have and never will visit, including the past and the future. Time travel, what could be better? I find it relaxing except for those intense emotional or danger-filled scenes; plus, I don’t have to put myself into those extremely dangerous situations to experience them. I know, I know… reading it isn’t like exactly like experiencing it, but my imagination makes it damn close.

I’ve read in bed before sleeping for so many years I can’t tell you when I started except as a child. I know reading has helped me escape the day-to-day problems and stresses, to relax and fall asleep. It provides a time to disengage from my own life.

In the past, I’ve heard some experts say people should read non-fiction so they can use reading to improve their knowledge and understanding. Guess what? In the past decade, scientists have begun to learn reading fiction helps people in many ways. They claim reading improves the mind because so many different parts of the mind are engaged while reading. They believe reading improves memory and slows age-related memory loss.

When I said reading let me become someone else briefly, it also helped my mind develop understanding and tolerance for other people. Reading has given me insight into other cultures, lifestyles, personalities, and problems. In other words, it helped me develop empathy and understanding. I’ve also learned reading helped me increase my vocabulary and develop my communication skills, well in writing at least…I’m not always so great at speaking.

These are some backup information you might want to read:

Psychology Today: ReadingFiction Improves Brain Connectivity and Function by Christopher Bergland (1/4/2014): Reading a novel has the power to reshape your brain and improve the theory of mind (the ability to recognize and attribute mental states—defined by PsychCentral). 2 science-backed ways reading fiction makes you smarter by Marquerite Ward (5/28/17) Reading improves your vocabulary and emotional intelligence.

Time Magazine: Read a Novel: It's Just What the Doctor Ordered by Sarah Begley (10/27/ 2016)

Monday, April 1, 2019

Sidney Sheldon's The Silent Widow -- Tlly Bagshawe

A Sidney Sheldon Novel
Crooked Lane Books
ISBN: 798-1-64385-093-1
May 2019

The Hardcover came out in January of 2018, and Sidney Sheldon’s family gave the author permission to write under Sheldon’s name.

Brentwood, Los Angeles, California and Mexico – the Present

Psychologist Doctor Nikki Roberts listens to Lisa Flannagan, a narcissistic client she dislikes, ramble about how she is leaving her married billionaire lover but keeping the apartment he gave her along with all the expensive gifts. Nikki lost her own beloved husband a year previously and she hasn’t quite recovered, which might explain her antipathy towards Lisa. At the end of the session it is pouring rain and the Nikki offers the scantily clad Lisa her raincoat. Unknown to Nikki until later, Lisa is brutally murdered shortly after leaving the office, stabbed repeatedly until a fatal blow is delivered. Police detective partners come to interview Nikki. Mick Johnson is a gruff, overweight and bigoted detective, who believes Nikki is guilty. Detective Lou Goodman is a more polite man who finds the beautiful psychologist interesting and attractive. They return later when Trey Raymond, Nikki’s office assistant murdered in a similar manner. Nikki’s husband Doug had treated the young man like a son after getting him off drugs. The suspicion lands on Nikki.

Nikki, like the readers, will wonder what she did to have someone want her dead. After her bereavement, she only has four regular patients. Since one of them is dead, do the others have something to do with it? And what has this to do with the torture and murder of the man in the prologue or with the disappearance of a teenage Californian girl, Charlotte Clancy, working as an au pair in Mexico ten years ago? Why is Detective Johnson so biased against Nikki?

A Mexican versus Russian drug war is taking place in Los Angeles. Numerous rich and powerful characters are involved in illegal activities, one of whom targets Nikki. The two detectives operate nearly separate investigations that lead to unanticipated events. A convoluted but interesting story where many immoral characters border the line of sanity and many secrets are exposed.