4 Sept 2018: The Best Worst Book I Ever Read

And the award for the Best Worst Book I Ever Read goes to ….. (insert drum roll here)

Rhode Island Blues by Fay Weldon

After I finished reading this book I came to the somewhat strange realization that it was the best worst book I’d ever read. An odd realization to come to for sure. The book had no real plot to speak of. Having no development, the characters are all pretty much the same at the end of the book as they were in the beginning. Could this have been the point? I honestly can’t say. But there is an addictiveness in the words the author uses that kept me coming back for another fix until I finally found myself at the last page.  (Note: Spellcheck is saying addictiveness isn’t a word, but I disagree.) The author has a dry sense of humor which I can appreciate and so do many other readers from the reviews this book received on Goodreads.

Plot: Grandma Felicity sells her house and moves into a retirement home. Grandma then meets a guy and ends up moving in with him. That’s it in a nutshell. Characters come and go but nothing else happens.

Grandma Felicity and granddaughter Sophia are the two central characters, and quite frankly neither are very likable. I’m not sure if one of the other qualifies as the main character except that the chapters that dealt with the daughter were in first person narrative and the chapters about grandma were in third person. This was bizarre and took a lot of getting used to.

So why did I read this book all the way until the last page?

A couple of reasons. First was because the book partly takes place in my old stomping grounds of the Rhode Island and Connecticut border area. I know this area well as I vacation there quite a bit. The author is English and I suspect as not been to this part of America. Her geography is a bit off, but this intrigued me to see just how wrong she could get it. She also never quite gets the hang of the local lingo. Here’s a for instance. Grandma finds out about the retirement home she moves to from a brochure she gets in her mailbox. However … the director of the home says something like “You got our pamphlet in your letterbox.” Yeah. This is a very UK thing to say. We get brochures in the mail here in the good old US of A. Which, by the way, made no sense to the story anyway seeing as they were SUPER cheap at this establishment and had a REALLY long waiting list and were UBER picky about who they took. No way would they spend money on a mailing to Joe Schmo old person.

Anyway … I digress.

So, yes, this book kind of sucked. But it was the language that kept me addicted. I think I might even become a better writer because of just reading it and purposefully studying the way in which the author chose her words and their imagery.

Here’s an example:

Preface: Felicity is the grandmother.  The Golden Bowl is the retirement home she moves to. Angel was the mother (died long ago) Nurse Dawn is the slightly less sadistic Nurse Ratched of the book. Sophia, who is the one doing the narrative here is a film editor, hence her use of technical jargon.

“I quite liked being described by Felicty as a relative. It made me feel warmed and safe, and not so unlike other people after all. But I also quite liked the thought of this grandmother of mine feeling obliged to do what Nurse Dawn told her. Perhaps at the Golden Bowl I would find allies; people who would understand what it was like to have Angel for a mother and Felicity for a grandmother. Then I felt disloyal, and weak for wanting to belong, and sorry for Felicity, because her life was drawing to an end, and there was nothing she could do about it, not even a rewind button to press, no way of cutting the footage together differently; the picture was locked. No way of editing out the boring bits. These had to be lived through in real time, with a body that was inexorably running down, and not all the efforts of the Golden Bowl could help her.” (Page 81)

The author used a few words I had to look up to make sure of what it really meant. I’ve taken to jotting words down I’m not quite sure of on the last page of the book so I can look them up when I’m done. In this case some of the words were: patois, fitments, perforce, aural, derisory, atavistic and susurrus. With this novel, I felt the need to write out a family tree as well. I was getting very lost when new family members were mentioned.I don’t think I’d recommend this book to any of my friends to read, but I would recommend it to fellow writers looking to expand their writing styles.  So, yes, this was the best worst book I’ve ever read.  Enjoy it … or not.

-Jennifer

 

15 Oct 2017: Vampires on Vacation

Where does the writer of vampire novels (and a genealogist) go on her vacation? To visit the vampire grave of Rhode Island, of course!

Pilgrimage complete!

While researching odd and interesting places to visit in Rhode Island and Connecticut on roadsideamerica.com, I came across the vampire grave of Simon Whipple in Union Cemetery in North Smithfield, RI.

In memory of Simon Whipple, youngest son of Col. Dexter Aldrich & Margery his wife, who died on May 6, 1841, aged 27 years.  Altho’ consumption’s vampire grasp had seized thy mortal frame, ……. mind …..

We’ll never know exactly how the epitaph ends at some point in the past, his stone was set in concrete?  Why?  Was it because the stone had been knocked over and had to be set again?  Or was it perhaps because to keep something in the ground from getting out?  We’ll never know …

Simon and his siblings … all died aged 27 years …. odd …

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of:

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23 Aug 2017: My guilty pleasure …..

It’s a guilty pleasure, one I know is somehow wrong.  I shouldn’t take perverse pleasure is seeing something incorrect, but I do.  Just to know that the big publishing houses are as fallible as I am … well, sometimes it’s what gets me through.

Now mind you, I cut indi authors some slack here. I’m never going to point these kind of errors out in a fellow indi’s book, but Nora Roberts?  Love ya, gal, but with all the professional eyes on your book? Seriously, maybe you should hire me or at least take me on as a beta reader.

Here is my latest discovery.  Two, count em’, two typos in Face the Fire, by Nora Roberts

Chapter 4, page 65

Her rude little gargoyle who stuck his tongue out of a grinning mouth at passerby.

– I’m pretty sure that’s supposed to be passerbys (with an s at the end.)

Chapter 18, Page 313

She studied the dining room, with its flowers and candles already in place. The window were open wide to summer.

– I believe they forgot the s at the end of windows making it plural.  Either that or were should have been a was.

So, what typos have you spotted in novels by big name authors? Let’s keep the dream alive for those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to have an army of editors behind us.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of:

I’d love to hear from you!  Click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind. You have no idea how much you’ll brighten my day by leaving me a comment!

20 July 2017: Great Summer Read and it’s FREE!

Hello friends and fans.

Just an alert that Falling for Death is free on Amazon until Sunday.  If you haven’t already, now it the time to get your copy of a great summer read and the first novel in the Falling Series. It’s a full length, stand alone novel as well as the first in the series.  Check it out!

-Jennifer

11 July 2017: Ain’t nobody perfect … not even Debbie Macomber

It’s an unfortunate fact of life. No, I’m not talking about the birds or the bees or even Tootie and Natalie. This unfortunate fact of life is that no matter how much your pour your heart and soul into your novel, no matter how many pairs of eyes edit and correct the living daylights out of it, the first comments you will always get about this literary baby you gave birth to will always be about some mistake it contains.

It’s just plain depressing really.

“I loved it!  It’s fabulous!  By the way, did you know there’s a typo on page 195?”

It is true I’m always thankful for those who point things like this out to me.  I immediately fix the offending error and it’s gone for good.  (Unless it’s the word towards …. see my last post.  🙂

Me? I’m what you would call small time.  I’m fortunate enough that I’m a pretty good editor as well as writer and after seven novels know myself well. But I’m still human and make mistakes.  I think that’s why I’m so gleeful when I find mistakes in books put out by big publishing houses.  I know, it’s quite horrid of me to admit this, but there it is. I may be small time, but I’m right up there with the big boys and girls too when it comes to making mistakes.

So it was with a little surprise and a lot of glee that I turned the page and discovered an error in a Debbie Macomber book this week.  The offending novel was Midnight Sons Volume 3.  Here’s the sentence. Can you spot the error?

“The next morning the newlyweds would leave for California to board a ship for a two-week Caribbean cruise.”

Hummm …. do I have you stumped?  This is where my years in the cruise industry come in handy. I double checked to see if anything had changed and it hadn’t.  Still trying to figure it out?  Okay, there are no Caribbean cruises that leave from California.  From California, you go on cruises to Mexico or Hawaii, maybe Costa Rica. From California, it would almost take a week to get to the Caribbean.  You’d have to go through the Panama Canal first! To go on a two-week Caribbean cruise, they should have flown down to Florida, Texas or even Louisiana.

Sorry, Debbie.  This one slipped past you and your editors.

Yes, I have a pretty good eye for details like this.  I spot them in movies all the time.  I think my favorite move faux pas is in Independence Day.  In the beginning of the movie you see the President coming down a hallway in the White House.  The gal is sitting in a chair and the camera has a shot on the back of the USA Today she’s reading as he walks towards her.  Look at the paper and remember it’s supposed to be July.  The USA Today weather map should be all red, orange and yellow because of the summer heat.  Strangely it’s all blue, green and yellow.  They obviously filmed in the winter months and didn’t bother to get a summer USA Today weather map!  Don’t believe me?  Here it is.

Some cold front we’re getting, Mr. President.

It’s always good to remember …. Ain’t none of us perfect!  So when someone points out a type to me, I’ll just think of Debbie Macomber and Independence Day and know I’m in good company.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of:

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9 July 2017: Struggling between “Linguistical Correctness” and what’s right.

It’s funny how a small comment from a prospective editor set in motion such a large debate for me. When I received  a sample edit of a few pages of a manuscript of mine, there was a notation on my usage of the word “towards.”  Yes, it had never occurred to me to not put an “s” at the end.  Why?  Because I’ve always spoken it aloud ending with an s.

American accepted usage of the word “toward” is toward without an “s” on the end.  It seems “towards” with the “s” is the editorially correct British spelling of the word.

Here in lies my dilemma. I’m American and never in my life have I said the word “toward.” I’m “towards” all the way. I’ve surveyed many people over the last few weeks and most have said they use the offending “s” as well.  So …. what’s up with that?

This wouldn’t be such an issue if it wasn’t for the fact that my novels are all written in first person and are told by women who all grew up in the same small town I did in New York.  If I use the “s,” so should they.

Now that’s all well and good. I mean, I’m a rebel.  I could honestly care less what people think …. except I’m entering literary contests now and I feel using the offending (yet correct) “s” would be a mark against me.

What’s a girl to do?

I decided that in my novel series (The Falling Series) I’m leaving the “s” in and will be adding in a note that it’s a regional “s,” which I believe it is. It’s either regional to the town in NY where I grew up or regional to the town in Rhode Island where my mother grew up.  I inherited quite a few New England speech idioms from her. Since my protagonist in The Falling Series also has a mom from Rhode Island, the “s” stays.

However, going forward I’m caving in to linguistic peer pressure and dropping the “s.”  This bothers me no end, but if I want to win contests sacrifices have to be made.  You win some, you lose some …. battles that is, hopefully not contests!

I’ll end with asking to whom does one write a letter to get this “s” issued updated? Seems an out of date rule that needs a bit more flexibility with the current use  of American English.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of:

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28 June 2017: Long Time – No See

Yep, It’s been a while since I last posted.  Sorry about that.  I’ve had a lot going on my life.  I had gastric bypass surgery on June 1st.  Before that it’s months of monitored diets, tests and poking and prodding like you’ve never experienced.  I’m almost four weeks post op now and doing …. OK.  They say it takes months to get back to 100%.  I believe them.

The annoying part is I have little to no energy to do anything.  I went back to work after a week and just the energy it takes to get up, get dressed and get to work means I have to take a five minute break once I get to my desk.

So…. that means I haven’t been doing much writing.  I had started my new novel before surgery but since my protagonist had gastric bypass as well, I wanted to wait until I was post op to write most of it.  Getting back on that horse has proven more challenging than I’d care to admit.

I did enter a literary contest yesterday with my unpublished cowboy romance novel. It’s the first book in the series.  The second being the one I’m currently not working on.  One of my goals for 2017 was to put myself out there and enter some contests.  I did enter this same book in the Florida Writers Assoc Royal Palm Literary awards for an unpublished novel.  Sadly it didn’t make the semi finals.  However, I also entered If Love is a Lie as a published novel as well as a short story I wrote.  I have yet to hear back about those entries so I’m hoping they’ll do better and at least make the finals.

I need to get my energy back soon as I purchased a ticket to go to RWA2017, the Romance Writers of America convention.  Lucky for me, it’s being held here in Orlando.  It wasn’t a cheap ticket.  $495! That’s ticket only, not hotel or travel. I’ll let you know if I think it was worth it. That’s coming up in about a month.

Anyway, that’s the state of this writer.

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of:

I’d love to hear from you!  Click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind. You have no idea how much you’ll brighten my day by leaving me a comment!

20 April 2017: Free is always the right price.

Just an announcement that the newly rebranded first book in my series, The FALLING Series, is free on Amazon for the next few days.  I’m doing a free promo to try to increase the number of reviews I have for each book in the series.

Here’s a link to the free ebook.

ENJOY!

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of:

I’d love to hear from you!  Click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind. You have no idea how much you’ll brighten my day by leaving me a comment!

15 Apr 2017: A Controversial Decision

There comes a time when you have to make the hard choices in life, and for me one of those choices was to scrap the titles and covers of my book series and start again.

  • Why would I do such a thing?

Because they were never living up to their potential. My other novel, If Love is a Lie, sold rings around the series and really they’re just no reason why when you take into account the stories. So, I now introduce you to the new and improved book series:

The Falling Series

  • Falling for Death (formerly know as: The Purity of Blood)
  • Falling for Stars (formerly know as: Purity Lost)
  • Falling for a Kiss (formerly know as: The Blood that Binds)
  • Falling Head over Heart (formerly know as: Purity’s Progeny)
  • Falling Ever After (formerly know as: Blood’s Solemn Vow)

The new titles convey that, yes, these are romance novels.  They downplay the vampire aspects of the novels, which in the end are not the most important parts of the books anyway.  The titles and covers are much more cohesive now as well.

Did I make a good decision?  Only time will tell ….

So what are your thoughts of rebranding a book series or any book for that matter?

-Jennifer

Jennifer Geoghan, author of:

I’d love to hear from you!  So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind. You have no idea how much you’ll brighten my day by leaving me a comment!