MJ’s Musings: Book Bingo-Self Published Author

I live under a rock when it comes to popular culture. A total and complete rock.  I freely admit I don’t watch a lot of TV and I rarely read outside of my comfort zone. That’s why my RWA chapter’s Book Bingo is good for me.  My competitive nature loves a challenge.

I failed this year. Miserably.  I read many category squares but didn’t achieve even a single bingo.  Part of my lack was from being busy writing. Three books coming out in less than a year is challenging. No excuses. I agreed to the schedule. And it hasn’t kept me from reading. According to my Goodreads challenge, I’ve read over 100 books this year. I’m not ashamed of that number.

I did read a self-published author. Actually, I’m sure I’ve read many. My reading is really random. When the #copypastecris scandal broke out–a major plagiarism case–and Nora Roberts got involved, I checked out the list of authors whose work was stolen.  Many favorites were included, but there were other names on the list with whom I was not familiar. I settled on the author whose fan was the first to discover and report the plagiarism: Courtney Milan.

Now, I don’t know if she is exclusively self-published (and this is one of frustrations I have with Book Bingo–the time spent trying to locate books that qualify for the square), but I decided The Duchess War (the plagiarized book) would fit the bill.

I loved it! I loved it so much, I read the rest of the series. (Thank goodness for my local library and Kindle downloads.) Milan’s heroines are so different than the usual historical heroine. As much as I love historical romances, sometimes they get tiresome. Not so with the ones in this series.

Five stars.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Music-Aida Soundtrack

Y-Chromo was in his high school production of Aida. To this day, it remains my favorite of his school play (including the role of Tony in West Side Story, which he rocked!) The story is based on the opera, with music and lyrics by Tim Rice and Elton John.

I’ve heard people say the only good song in the play is “My Strongest Suit.” They would be wrong. There are many wonderful tunes.  There’s a CD of covers,  including such artists as The Spice Girls, James Taylor, Sting, Tina Turner, Boyz II Men, Shania Twain, Lenny Kravitz, and others. It’s a good CD, although I still prefer the original Broadway sound track.

When the show came to our city, almost everyone from the high school cast went, even though it was several years after the fact. The consensus was our kids were better in their roles than some of the professionals we saw that night.

While I was researching this blog, I learned that my favorite Monkee, Mickey Dolenz, played the same role on Broadway my son played in high school.

How cool is that?

 

MJ’s Musings: Early Bird or Night Owl?

I am what is known as an early bird. I get up early. It’s my best time to think because the distractions of the day haven’t yet attacked.

But I often wonder if I am naturally an early bird or was my circadian rhythm warped by my upbringing. When I was a child, even a teenager who often babysat until the wee hours of the morning, my mother made sure I was out of bed by 9AM every morning. People who lingered in bed were lazy and slothful.

Part of this could be my dad having to get up at 4AM to work in a factory every day. So naturally bedtimes at our house were early.  I get that.

But since being an adult and with my children adults, too, when I’m not bound by the alarm for the day job, I do tend to stay up later at night–and to write and write well.  So perhaps my natural cycle is that of a night owl.

Maybe when I retire I’ll find out.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies-Network

NETWORK  is a classic.  “A television network cynically exploits a deranged former anchor’s ravings and revelations about the news media for its own profit,” is how IMDB describes the film. Many of us who worked in TV in the late 1970’s and early 80’s found the realism unnerving.  Some consider the movie satire. Others know better.

Written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet, the film won four Oscars and garnered a slew of other nominations and awards.

The film is from 1976, but many parts are still relevant today.

Here’s a trailer that sums it up.

And here is seven minutes of something that should make you think about the world today.

 

MJ’s Musings: SEP-Match Me If You Can

MATCH ME IF YOU CAN is one of the Chicago Stars series. I have to admit, I’m not that fond of it. I enjoy it while I’m reading it, but there was nothing about the story or the characters that compel me to compulsively reread the book. In fact, I didn’t own a copy until a couple of years ago.

The premise is great: a professional matchmaker vs. a professional sports agent. Two tenacious characters. But I don’t know them. I don’t understand their foibles. I don’t love them. Maybe I need to read the  book a couple of more times in order to plumb their souls. I had to do that with Natural Born Charmer, and it worked.

Here’s the thing: I don’t hate the characters. They don’t make me uncomfortable (something I’ll explore next month). I’m merely indifferent to them.

Can you convince me to care?