No PhotoShopping!

Me, horrified and with NO PhotoShop. Shocking, isn’t it?

Dear Cosmetic Companies That PhotoShop -Especially Those of You That Advertise Mascara,

You’ve been called out so many times. Rimmel was caught making Zooey Deschanel look like she was made of plastic. Lancome was ridiculous thinking that nobody would notice their advertisement for a foundation on Julia Roberts that used PhotoShop so her skin looked not only flawless, but poreless, and an entirely different color. L’Oreal had the gall to “whiten” Beyonce with Photoshop. None of you are immune. Covergirl, Colourpop, Maybelline… shame on you all.

My most recent irritation is your latest little bit of advertising trickery. Mascara ads. When I buy mascara, I want to know what it will do for my lashes. The most intuitive way would be to look at the picture on the display or magazine ad, right? Hm. Look at this:


That’s right. All those pretty amazingly fantastic lashes can be yours as long as you use this mascara AND LASH INSERTS. Who needs PhotoShop when you can just use real life tricks? Let me tell you, I tried to use lash inserts and false lashes and it is ridiculous. That’s why I want a mascara that makes me look like I’m wearing them. Like the ad copy says: Exclusive sculpting fibers wrap every lash to build an incredible false lash effect. BECAUSE THEY ARE FALSE LASHES.

I’d like to see Gwen here with her regular old eyelashes like the rest of us have and this mascara so I can see what it actually does. Unfortunately she and every other mascara model will be wearing lash inserts or false lashes or, my favorite, “simulated product results.”

You’re on notice, cosmetic giants. I practically keep you in business. If you can’t show me what your product can actually do, I must assume it doesn’t do what you claim does. You want my cosmetics dollars? Show me the lashes.




Save Dirk Gently

Help Me Save Dirk Gently

If you’re on Twitter and hooked up with @BBCAmerica or y’know, me, you might have seen me mention that we need to save Save Dirk Gently. Or #SaveDirkGently in twitspeak. That’s because it appears that Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is being closed down for good. Canceled. *sigh*

Haven’t seen it? I believe it’s being shown on Hulu now. I know, I’m awfully upset about this, but the complete and utterly random nature of this show really appeals to me.



Yep, Elijah Wood, Michael Eklund, based on books by Douglas Adams… Do you want to save Dirk Gently yet? Tell you what, give it a try. Then bombard social media with it. Go Full-On Rowdy 3 – you’ll understand after you watch – and let’s save the absurdity. Save Dirk. Somebody has to.


P.S. Yay, me. I figured out to how to put a video in my post!

Online Resources for Writers: Writer’s Digest Review from WotV

Looking for online resources for writers? How about an unbiased review of what’s out there? I’ve visited hundreds of resources and am reviewing them here. You’ll find them rated by reliability, scam, helpful content, and variety. Find your best resources and bookmark them! Today: Writer’s Digest.

While other websites offer resources for writers, Writer’s Digest has the most comprehensive assortment of tools. Regular articles and blog posts keep you up-to-date on questions about querying, revising, things you should and shouldn’t do as a writer, and advice from experts. This is all free for you to peruse.

resources for writers

Already writing? Writer’s Digest’s resources for writers include classes for very affordable prices. I say this with confidence, because I have experienced a “class” with a “writer” that made promises they didn’t deliver with untruths and a huge price tag. I learned the hard way. If I had taken a course with the promised material from the poorly done course from Writer’s Digest, I would have received more professional content for more than $1500 less. The courses range from basic instruction to actual edits of your material. Each is described clearly, without exception.

Did I mention they have a podcast? Both Writer’s Digest and Writer’s Market – for writers ready to sell – have podcasts for you casting junkies!

They have a bookstore with print and eBooks, webinars, and writerly gifts, frequently with sales on bundles of similarly themed materials. I have accumulated quite a library of resources for writers from the Book of Poisons to Story Trumps Structure (yes, I’m a pantser).

Need more? How about free webinars? Free downloads? Advice for everyone in each part of their writing journey?

There is so much more, but I have to touch on one of the most important parts of Writer’s Digest. The annual conference in New York City. I have attended once and plan to go this year. This is the place to find a plethora of writing knowledge packed into one lecture. There are authors, editors, agents, and topics relevant to wherever you are in your process. In fact, they are divided into the Craft, Business, Genre, and more. If you go to one conference, go to this one.

Yes, I will review more resources in the future, but I want you to know that between paid and free content, this site is a premium place for resources for writers. Go on over and just hover over the headers. You’ll see what I mean.

Review Grade: A+

Next up: Purdue OWL

What’s in the Works? Write The Novel.

I write when I need to write. When the words are in my head and need to come out. Sorry about that, but all the “coming out” words are going into my novel rather than this website.

So, the novel. Now that I’ve mentioned it, I should expand upon it. The novel now has a goal for completion (not final final completion… completion in the sense that it can be pitched). I plan to have it ready for the speed-dating  Pitch Slam at Writers Digest 2018 in August.

Can I do it? This is where you all yell “YES YOU CAN!” in unison and I have a horrible flashback to that children’s show with the builder guy and his talking vehicles. Maybe you should skip the yelling.

If you want to know more about the novel, then comment on this blog. Really, I have no idea if you’re even interested if you don’t tell me. Would you prefer to have more reviews? Talk about TV and movies? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?

Phew. Got that out of my system. Now it’s your turn.

Book Review From the Verge: Good Bones and Simple Murders by Margaret Atwood

You know that I love Margaret Atwood and am incredibly excited to see her in the spring, so it’s only fitting to do a quick re-read of some of her books. Good Bones and Simple Murders is a collection of whimsical-caustic-witty-parodies-and otherwise wonderful short pieces. She skewers the traditional views of women in fairy tales, reveals the chauvinism in the story of the little red hen, and otherwise reveals a cynical side in this interesting variety. She even adorns the pages with black and white illustrations that she has drawn.

As a writer, I read these stories and, while many are quite stabby, I can’t help but admire her turns of phrase. I marvel at how she expresses things for readers to puzzle over and consider. She is a master of her craft, whether writing novels or short fiction.

If you prefer your poison in small doses, pick the book up and read one story at a time. Some of you, like me, won’t be able to resist what delectable dish she will serve up next.

Rating:  (4.5 / 5)

Writing Like You Mean It

I recently went to a brief writing retreat at a cabin reserved for writers near the Finger Lakes. It was, to put it mildly, remote. But the windows offered a lovely view of a lot of rain on leaves that were turning color. The rain is probably what kept me writing. No temptation to go outside. It’s funny how negatives help you. No TV, no problem. Sure, you say, you can stream on your computer. Not with spotty Internet you can’t. And my sweet husband left the cozy cabin every morning for nearly the entire day so I could focus.

And I focused. I wrote 11,683 words that weekend. And I think most of them are grammatically correct and in pleasing sentences for someone to read. Or not. I’m almost afraid to look at them. In fact, when I picked it back up, I read the last thing I wrote and just went forward from there. Yes. I just moved on. Didn’t even reread what I had read. Sort of the NaNoWriMo state of mind, only without all of those other rules.

Anyway, I had written myself over a hump and into a corner. Good thing the weekend ended at that point because I had no idea what was going to happen next. Which might be good because the reader will hopefully wonder as well. For now, I am shuffling out of the corner carefully. I know it will all be changed when I revise, because everyone knows that first drafts are all rubbish. I have to get from the place I am now to the end I know. I’m not sure what happens between here and there, but it will come to me as I sit down and start to type.

I’m writing like I mean it. I’m serious about it. I’m sitting down and only looking up things if they are research for something in the manuscript. I take short pre-planned breaks to check email and social media, but mostly when I’m writing, I’m writing.

If you’ve taken on the NaNo… good luck to you. If you’re writing a novel on your own, cheers! If you’re writing poetry or short stories or memoir or journaling… keep it up! Write like you mean it. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Book Review: The Missing by C.L. Taylor

William Morrow, and imprint of Harper Collins, was kind enough to send me this book for review. I usually ghostwrite reviews for another website, but I’m trying to increase this type of content here, for you. Of course, that’s if you happen to stop by and read it…

This is the first novel I’ve read by C.L. Taylor. Genre? Psychological suspense, so if you like Jonathan Kellerman, Gillian Flynn, and some of Dean Koontz’s work, you may be interested in this one. Although I’ve compared her to all American novelists, Taylor is British, so perhaps I should throw in a Minette Walters.

In The Missing, 15-year-old Billy Wilkinson is, you guessed it, missing. The story is relayed by his mother, Claire, who is unreliable. Very unreliable. Deception, omissions, lies, and twists to Billy’s tale will keep you up at night, reading “just one more chapter.” At least that’s what happened to me!

My rating: (4.5 / 5)

Mini-Spoiler-Free Review: Mister Tender’s Girl

If Mister Tender reminds you of Slenderman, you probably aren’t the only one. There are bits and pieces of the legend of The Slenderman throughout Mister Tender’s Girl and if you know anything about him, you’ll see them. If not, you should do a little scary research sometime, though it is not necessary before reading this thriller.

Mister Tender is a graphic novel character. One that is not terribly tender, despite his name. He inspires fear in readers and actually gets into the heads of some teen girls who attempt murder for his approval.

The novel explores the daughter of Mr. Tender’s creator. Alice of paranoia and fear of knives. Everything pushes her buttons. Someone could mean her harm… is it in her head or real? Is Mr. Tender out there somewhere? Is he looking for Alice?

I read this in two sittings. I really loved the psychological elements and the suspense. If you like thrillers and don’t mind looking behind you for a few days after reading, go for this one!

Review: Stone Mattress: nine wicked tales by Margaret Atwood

In case you missed it, I am incredibly excited to be front row center to see Margaret Atwood in the spring. With that in mind, I am reading some of her books that I’ve missed over the years. She is my author-idol. I know, it’s very fangirl of me, but I can’t help it.

Stone Mattress was published in 2014. It’s nine wicked tales are just that, tales. They are much more than short stories.

Short story: a story with a fully developed theme but significantly shorter and less elaborate than a novel.

Tale: a fictitious or true narrative or story, especially one that is imaginatively recounted.

These nine wicked tales include three interconnected narratives and six standalone fables. All have wickedness in them and it doesn’t take much to imagine the sly smiles of the characters, and likely the author.

You probably want me to compare this collection to something you’ve read before or another author. Seriously? Do you even know who Margaret Atwood is? She is the author you try (weakly) to compare other authors TO. You’ve read The Handmaid’s Tale haven’t you? If you are watching the series on Hulu, that’s all fine, but if you haven’t read the book, well, shame on you. And you are missing the most amazing writing… I’m getting upset just thinking about you watching the show and not reading the book. I can’t go on…

Read Stone Mattress if can’t commit to a full novel for whatever lame reason you have because everyone should read every single day even if it is only for a few minutes and this is just going to go into a tirade about reading and has already set off my run on sentences so just read it. The book. Now.