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Category: Apples & Oranges

Marianne H. Donley's column
Home > Columns > Apples & Oranges

The Case of the Missing Elizabeth Boyle Novels

July 8, 2017 by in category Apples & Oranges, Java Plots tagged as , ,

The Case of the Missing Elizabeth Boyle Novels | Marianne H. Donley | A Slice of Orange

I lend books to just about anyone who wants them. Sometime even to people who don’t. I never worry about getting the books back because I have a handy-dandy book embosser. I stamp From The Library of MH Donley right on the title page. Most people returned embossed books.

Oddly, I never get back my Elizabeth Boyle novels.

It took a lot of detective work, but I think I’ve figured out why.

Many years ago, I volunteered to collect books from published authors for a charity function.  A few authors handed me books at our local writers’ meeting, but most mailed them.

Bertha, my mail lady, being kind and gentle instead of a soulless bureaucrat, walked the book bundles up to my door rather than leaving them stuffed inside my tiny mail box.  On the fourth day of lugging books, Bertha asked, “Why are you getting mail from people I know?”

I was startled. I had never been questioned by my mail carrier before.  Did receiving mail from friends of postal workers violated some obscure government code?  Curious, I asked, “Who do you . . .”

“Elizabeth Boyle,” Bertha interrupted.

“You know Elizabeth Boyle?” I asked.

“I love her books,” she said ignoring me. “I’ve read every one.”

“She’s an excellent storyteller,” I said, “I always enjoy her books.”

Bertha narrowed her eyes and handed me another parcel of books.  “But why is she sending YOU books? And all these other authors.  I recognize all of them.”

I explained about the charity function.  But she kept staring at the packages of books in my arms as if I were hiding some evil secret for getting, authors in general and  Elizabeth Boyle, in particular, to send me five copies of their latest book.  With a frown on her face, Bertha stepped down from my front porch and walked back to her mail truck.  Just before she got in, she turned back to me and asked, “So are you an author?”

“I’m working on it,” I answered.

“What exactly are you writing?”

“Right now, a murder mystery,” I said.

Bertha backed up so fast she bumped into her truck.  “Dead people?  You write about dead people?”

I laughed. “Not real dead people.  I do make them up.”

“How do you do that?  Are there research books on how to kill people?”

“Well,” I said, “I do have Deadly Doses: a writer’s guide to poisons.”

“What?” Bertha’s voice squeaked. “Do the poisons work?”

“Haven’t tried any . . .yet,” I said.  I thought she would laugh, but she hopped into her truck and zoomed off to the next set of mailboxes without even waving good bye. I lugged my armful of books through the front door and didn’t think much more about her until I caught her hugging my husband in front of our mailbox two days later.

Now seriously, Dennis gets hugged by everyone.  Checkers at the grocery store. Tellers at the bank.  The principal at a local school who turned out to be his mother’s Avon Lady’s second daughter.  So I didn’t think the hugging part was all that unusual.

“Hi, Bertha,” I said.   “Any more packages for me?”

She leaped into her vehicle, did a quick u-turn and took off down the street.

“That was weird,” Dennis said as he walked up the driveway to where I was standing.  “She jumped out, hugged me, said she was so glad to see I was still alive. Then started quizzing me about your cooking and a book on poison.”

“Hummm,” I said.

“You wouldn’t happen to know what she was talking about?” he asked when he put his arm around my shoulder and we strolled into the house together.

“Not a clue,” I said.

“If anything happens to me, Bertha will testify,” he said.

“Maybe,” I said.

“What do you mean by maybe?”

“I’m pretty sure Bertha could be bought for a few Elizabeth Boyle novels.”

“Indeed,” he said.

We have a new mail carrier these days, but I have noticed that Elizabeth’ novels seem to disappear from this house the second I finish reading them. No one I lend books to admits having them. And they are never in the returned book pile.


Marianne H. Donley | A Slice of Orange

Marianne H. Donley makes her home in Tennessee with her husband and son. She is a member of Bethlehem Writers Group, Romance Writers of America, OCC/RWA, and Music City Romance Writers. When Marianne isn’t working on A Slice of Orange, she might be writing short stories, funny romances, or quirky murder mysteries, but this could be a rumor.

No husbands, mail carriers, or authors were harmed in the writing of this blog.

You will find Marianne’s short romantic story “The Widow Next Door” in:

 


 

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Update on The Painted Queen

July 1, 2017 by in category Apples & Oranges tagged as , ,

The Painted Queen | Marianne H. Donley | A Slice of Orange I mention in May, that I won an ARC of The Painted Queen. (If you missed that post you can read about it here.)  I received my copy a few weeks ago, and I’m happy to report that Joan Hess did a fine job completing the manuscript. It has all the humor, all the mystery, and of course Egypt that were featured in all Amelia Peabody Novels.

If you’re a fan, you will absolutely enjoy the novel. If you’ve never read Amelia before, you will still appreciate the book, but you might miss some of the jokes.  (In addition to another shirt ruined there are titles of other books sprinkled about in conversation.)

My favorite quote: “A secret society??” Emerson exclaimed. (I assure the Reader that two interrogation point scarcely convey the vehemence of his question.) 

Wonder Book in Frederick, Maryland is holding a release party on July 25th.  They will have book plates signed by Joan Hess and a talk by Egyptologist, Dr. Ray Johnson. For more information .

On July 26th, Joan Hess will be talking and signing books at Mystery to Me in Madison, WI. For more information.

The Painted Queen will be released on July 25.  I hope you will let me know if you enjoyed it.

Marianne


Marianne H. Donley | A Slice of Orange

 

Marianne H. Donley makes her home in Tennessee with her husband and son. She is a member of Bethlehem Writers Group, Romance Writers of America, OCC/RWA, and Music City Romance Writers. When Marianne isn’t working on A Slice of Orange, she might be writing short stories, funny romances or quirky murder mysteries, but this could be a rumor.

You can find her short mystery, Tomato Blight, in ONCE AROUND THE SUN.

 

 


Featured Author of the Month: Meriam Wilhelm

 

Meriam WilhelmThe one thing I know, after all my years as an elementary school principal, is that there is magic everywhere and in everyone. While I miss those enchanting moments with kids, I have always wanted to let my imagination run wild as I seek out my own magic and write about it. When I retired, I started to write my first books, a series called The Witches of New Moon Beach and inspiration wasn’t hard to find. I have lived in Redondo Beach all my life and New Moon might have more than a passing resemblance to my hometown. Every day I walk on the path that runs along the beach, sometimes with my sisters, but most often with my thoughts as I plot my next book. I am long married and mom to three great grown kids. When I’m not writing or walking on the beach, you’ll find me sewing, reading or traveling and taking pictures.

SEA DREAMS

SEA DREAMS

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Can help from a lavender-eyed sea witch, a few enchanted cupcakes and a touch of New Moon magic really rescue a once famous now washed up artist from himself? More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
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Buy from Books-A-Million
Buy from Smashwords
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Dad Jokes: Part Two

June 18, 2017 by in category Apples & Oranges, Java Plots tagged as , , ,

Dad Jokes | Marianne H. Donley | A Slice of Orange

A few years ago (okay nine years ago) I wrote the following post for Father’s Day:

I collect Dad Jokes. These are not jokes about dads, but are jokes that dads everywhere tell little kids. Dad Jokes have three things in common:

1. They’re G-rated.
2. They’re lame.
3. You laugh anyway, even years later.

My own dad had a good supple of Dad Jokes starting with “What’s black and white and red all over?” His answer varied according to the age of audience, preschool or kindergarten aged kids got “newspaper” and older kids got “sunburned zebra.” Either way gales of laughter would follow, which fascinated me even as a little kid. Let’s face it, that joke is so old most children are probably born knowing it.

But that joke wasn’t the one that cracked me up. My favorite Dad Joke is (and this is really dating me):

“What”s black and blue, lays in the grass and goes ding-dong?”
“A wounded Avon lady.”

My bothers and sisters and I all went to Catholic school so a close second is:

“What’s black and white, black and white, black and white and black and blue?”
“A nun falling down stairs.”

I should note that we were under strict orders from our mom NOT to tell that joke at school. I am fairly certain that was an order my brother Michael just couldn’t follow, that joke spread though St. Ann’s like wild fire. This was well before the days of “zero tolerance” in our schools where everything a child says is examined for possible homicidal intent, so no one got expelled as a result. However, it has not escaped my notice that there is a more polite version floating around these days, but I can’t think “a penguin falling down stairs” would have the same humor impact on Catholic school children.

My husband has a pretty good supple of Dad Jokes as well. Our sons still laugh at both:

“Why does an elephant paint his toenails red?”
“To hide in a cherry tree.”

“How can you tell if there’s an elephant in the refrigerator?”
“There are footprints in the butter.”

Our daughter’s favorite Dad Joke was told to her by her Uncle Paul. I know if I just mention this joke she, at age 26, will start laughing. So:

“Want to hear a dirty joke?”
“A white horse fell in the mud.”

Why is this “Dad Jokes, Part two?”

Because now I have internet resources for you. I’ve listed my favorite joke (or two)  and then the link to the site where I found it.

What do you call a fake noodle?
An impasta!
From Baby Center’s  35 Silly Jokes for Kids 

What do you call an alligator in a vest?
An Investigator.

What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?
Frostbite.
From Jokes4US Kid’s Jokes

What do you call a tick on the moon?
A luna-tick

What kind of music do planets sing?
Neptunes!
From Funology’s Outerspace Jokes

What do you call security guards working outside Samsung shops?
Guardians of the Galaxy.

If April showers bring Mayflowers, what do Mayflowers bring?
Pilgrims.

From Mon Junctions 85 Silly Jokes for Kids (Which I guess proves that moms like dad jokes as much as dads do.)

 

Happy Father’s Day!

What’s your favorite dad joke?


Marianne H. Donley | A Slice of Orange

 

 

Marianne H. Donley makes her home in Tennessee with her husband and son. She is a member of Bethlehem Writers Group, Romance Writers of America, OCC/RWA, and Music City Romance Writers. When Marianne isn’t working on A Slice of Orange, she might be writing short stories, funny romances or quirky murder mysteries, but this could be a rumor.

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Helping Writers Become Authors

June 8, 2017 by in category Apples & Oranges, Writing tagged as , ,

Apples and Oranges three.png

The Internet hosts an amazing feast of website for writers. Some offer weird advice (it is the internet) and some offer good advice, but some offer excellent advice and provide step by step guidance—for free. One of those excellent and free sites is K. M. Weiland’s Helping Writers Become Authors.  The website was the winner of Writer’s Digest 10 Best Websites for Writers in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Helping Writers Become Authors is easy to navigate with a helpful menu across the top. On your first trip to HWBA, click on “Start Here” where K. M. Weiland has organized her “whopping big” website into quick steps to get you started. Two of my favorite articles is included here : How to Write Character Arcs and The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel.

Helping Writers Become Authors | Marianne H. Donley | A Slice of OrangeShe has free books Crafting Unforgettable Characters and 5 Secrets of Story Structure and for those of you who like to listen to craft she has a huge series of podcasts available both on her website or through iTunes. She also has a giant Story Structure Database where she deconstructs books and movies pointing out where the story structure is spot on and where it needs help. It can be very helpful to see the story structure bones of other authors. The database includes new movies like LOGAN and old ones like the 1959 BEN-HUR and books like WHITE FANG and GONE GIRL. The database also includes two short stories and a video game.Helping Writers Become Authors | Marianne H. Donley | A Slice of Orange

K.M. Weiland has several reasonably priced books about writing from Creating Character Arcs and Structuring Your Novel to Outlining Your Novel. Structuring Your Novel and Outlining Your Novel are also available as workbooks.

Just this week she also released Outlining Your Novel Workbook Computer Program (for PC and Mac) which I’m pretty sure is going to be a birthday present for me.  I am very interested in seeing how this program compares to Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Pro which I use and really like.

She also writes historical and speculative fiction. Her titles include the award winning Storming, Dreamlander and Behold the Dawn. (Dreamlander is a free ebook.) I’ve read Dreamlander and enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading her other novels especially Storming—because hello, 1920s Dieselpunk!

Check out Helping Writers Become Authors. Let me know what your favorite resource is.


 

Marianne H. Donley makes her home in Tennessee with her husband and son. She is a member of Bethlehem Writers Group, Romance Writers of America, OCC/RWA, and Music City Romance Writers. When Marianne isn’t working on A Slice of Orange, she might be writing short stories, funny romances or quirky murder mysteries, but this could be a rumor.

 

 



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