Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Too much. For mercy’s sake. Too much.

Things we use too much of;

Shampoo. We use at least three times as much as we need every morning in the shower.  Some shampoo directions urge a second washing, six times as much.  That acid mantle of protection on your scalp?  Say goodbye to it. 

There is an entire movement against washing your hair with shampoo. I read the book “NO MORE POO” and didn’t wash my hair for a week.  My hair didn’t care.  Not only did my hair look flat and listless, my thoughts were flat and listless. I went back to Ivory soap, my go to cleanser, scent-free.  I just heard you shudder.  What? Not good?

Toothpaste. That big swirly inch long thing?  That's a week’s worth. You only need a pea-size amount and it probably has arsenic in it so the less, the better. They found arsenic in baby formula from China.  I wish Trump had asked the Chinese guy, "Just out of curiosity, why arsenic in baby formula? Was that a spite thing?"  

When they reported that brown rice BROWN RICE!!!! had more arsenic in it than white rice and it might be better to eat white rice, I had to sit down.  How did arsenic get anywhere near the rice?  Don’t you have to make arsenic?  Did the farmer say, I think I’ll place my rice paddy right next to the rat poison plant so my rice can benefit from the arsenic run-off.

Dish detergent – if a dish just had bread or celery or a peach on it – does it need twenty-three chemicals to make it usable again?  Hot water will do the trick.

Laundry detergent.  Who of us has believed the recommended capful is enough?  Who of us has not waited for a cover of suds to feel satisfied?  Who of us has washed 36 loads with a 50 oz jug of detergent? Who of us has not gifted their psyche to the market research people and refused to believe (as they planned) that 3X concentrated means you only need 1/3 as much?  As much of what?

Paper towels.  I use paper towels for everything.  This is wrong. I once had to pay $2500 to get a tree removed so maybe it's revenge.  I sometimes get the shorter sheets to assuage my guilt.  Wait.  I really don’t have guilt about paper towels.  

In order to save the earth, I tried the toilet paper without the inner stabalizing cardboard cylinder.  The entire roll was smushed and misshapen from shipping and there was no good place to put the roller in.  I had to dig around and ruin about half of it.

The word “so.”  Many sentences, especially answers to questions or general informational sentences,  now begin with “so.”  It’s as if we are in the middle of a saga where a snowstorm has overtaken the wagon train and everyone (including a suckling baby) is about to freeze to death.  So the travelers huddled together for warmth and prepared to meet a stern God.”

The phrase “for sure.”  This slipped into conversation about three years ago and I blame it on re-runs of “Little House On The Prairie.”  A lot of television guests slip in “for sure,” instead of saying “yes.” They think it makes them sound Sarah, Plain and Tall.  I took off all of my clothes in the movie but I’m a shy Amish prude in real life.  For sure.

When my kids were little I use to caution them like this:  “Mind the high step.  Mind, your fingers where the door closes.” I was pretending to be British and have British children otherwise we would have fallen apart.  The “for sure” disease is the same thing.  With ever more depraved behavior filling the airwaves, we hold together by talking like puritanical hardscrabble folk.


I’m too lazy and self-involved to be an activist.  BUT the story of Flint Michigan is ever on my mind. I lay out all the facts and can’t figure it out.   Even after they found out the people, the children, were getting seriously sick.  Even after the governments - local, state and federal - knew about the water and how it had become a horrid lethal weapon pointed at innocents.  Even after there was clear evidence that the poor people – and many of them were poor – continued to be irreparably harmed, THEY DIDN’T DROP EVERYTHING AND RUSH TO FIX IT AND GIVE medical aid to all the victims and get down on bended knee and beg forgiveness and give them all a good house with clean water and new hope. Why didn’t Oprah or Ellen go there with a big Shutterfly check and new vans?  I don’t get it.  It still weighs on me.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Publication Day - It's exciting, reflective, frightening - all those things

In April of 2014, I was "discovered" by Amazon and they re-published my historical novel, Three Daughters.  Since November of that year, the book has sold over 200,000 copies and received 2300 reviews, the majority of them five stars. (Although one woman said it was the best book she had ever read and gave it one star.  I wonder if she was being sarcastic or just thought one star was the best.) The book was originally published by Delacorte Press almost twenty years ago.  Amazon resurrected this 700 page saga and made it a bestseller.  How lucky am I?  I am grateful to the brilliant Jeff Bezos for giving writers a friendly and welcoming outlet for their books.  I am particularly grateful to my editor, Jodi Warshaw, who found me, the needle, in the huge haystack that is Amazon.

Imagine, if you can, me in a mid afternoon sugar fog, trying to decipher that initial e-mail from Amazon with the subject line: Interest in Daughters.  As I've written before, I thought someone wanted to marry my daughter.  I thought, how sweet, they are asking for her hand in an e-mail.

Early last year, I sold Amazon a new novel, Fortune's Daughters.   Again Jodi Warshaw held my hand through an arduous editing process and the outcome is being published today.  When I post in this blog, I try to offer up humor and silliness, but I can't think of anything funny today.

I know many of you have pre-purchased Fortune's Daughters and will receive it today.  Please consider leaving a short review on the Amazon site.  The review can be as simple as:  I enjoyed this book.   Reviews are the lifeblood of all books and I need your help.


Thank you to so many of my e-friends: both Carolyns, Diane, Carlaray, Mark Williams, Peggy Muller, Carol, Rod Sharp, Jeff, Sandra, Sandy, both Mollys, Michael, Susannah, Amanda Brett (we go way back), Maria, Denise, Sherry, Elizabeth (the faithful), Ruth, Paula, Meredith, Amy, Carol O., Andy, MamaRobot, Alexandra, Carin, Cheryl, Charles, Barbara S. Sandra T, Nicco, Anne, JoBeth, Kacy, Lisa Y., Neva, L.C Evans (dearest friend), C. J, Pamela, Kathleen (admiration), Chris, Mel, Linda P., Charlotte, Dona (copywriting roomie), Jane, Liz,  among many, many others.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Leave a review on Amazon today for an author you love

My new novel, Fortune's Daughters, publishes on Tuesday, May 9.  If you read it and like it, please consider leaving a short review.  I would be so grateful.

Many readers  who would not hesitate to write a dissertation, freeze up when it comes to reviewing a book.  The manifesto below should take some of the mystique out of the process.
Amazon's review system has some of the wild, wild west about it.  Readers say all sorts of things:  
This book sucks.  I fell asleep every time I tried to read it so I gave up.  I loved this book but hated the ending so much I'm giving it one star.  Haven't cooked dinner all week, can't put this book down. 
The chapters were all mixed up and some were missing.
 My book, Three Daughters, has received almost 2300 reviews and they run the gamut of emotion. I recently received a review that said, This is the best book I've ever read and the reader gave me one star.  She thought one star was the best.
I love that review because it is honest and the reader did her best.

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