Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Good Read and a Writing Tip on Swifties

A Chilling Summer Read
by Elizabeth Eagan-Cox
Shannon Delaney Series, Vol. 1

Shannon Delaney's writing assignment in San Diego opens new doors for her young career. She has no idea that her temporary home, the Victorian-era Blackthorne House mansion is a portal to a century-old mystery. On her first night a ghostly encounter entagles her in the spectral mission of the mansion's original owner-Eric Blackthorne, master magician. Complicating matters is Alex Blackthorne, handsome and charming descendent of the ghostly magician. Also, there's Zach Zavala, who has guy-next-door good looks and a straightforward manner. Plus, Zach's grandfather Francisco is a retired detective and a kindred spirit who appreciates Shannon's apprehension about her paranormal experiences.

Question from the e-mail:  Our reading group chose a myster by a new-to-me writer this month. The style seemed a bit old-fashioned. And someone in the group mentioned "all the Swifties."  Any idea awhat a "Swiftie" is?

Answer:  Tom Swift was a hero of a series of boys' adventures featuring scientific accomplishment. A literary character whose author chose the shortest and easiest kind of dialogue attribution --- a said, followed by an adverb.

You won't find any in the book above. According to Wikipedia, a Tom Swifty (Swiftly, or Tom Swiftie) is a phrase in which a quoted sentence is linked by a pun to the manner in which it is attributed. The most common example is from TOM SWIFT AND HIS ELECTRIC MACHINE.  "That's the spark!" Tom said, electricly.

This was a common dialogue construction back in the 20s and 30s, but is now considered by most writing teachers as "lazy writing" with or without puns.

Here are a few examples:


  • "I'll have a martini," said Tom, drily (dryly).
  • "Who left the toilet seat down?" Tom asked peevishly.
  • "Pass me the shellfish," said Tom crabbily.
  • "That's the last time I'll stick my arm in a lion's mouth," the lion-tamer said off-handedly.
  • "Can I go looking for the Grail again?" Tom re-quested.
  • "I unclogged the drain with a vacuum cleaner," said Tom succinctly.
  • "I might as well be dead," Tom croaked.
  • "We just struck oil!" Tom gushed.
  • "It's freezing," Tom muttered icily.
  • "They had to amputate them both at the ankles," said Tom defeatedly.
  • "I wonder if this radium is radioactive?" asked Marie curiously.
  • "The Battle of the Nile? A lot of fun!" said Lord Nelson disarmingly.
  • "Hurry up and get to the back of the ship!" Tom said sternly.
  • "We could have made a fortune canning pineapples," Tom groaned dolefully.
  • "I wish I drove a Scandinavian car," Tom sobbed (Saabed).
  • "Careful with that chainsaw," Tom said offhandedly.
  • "I'm here," Tom said presently.
  • "Happy Birthday," Tom said presently.
  • "Walk this way," Tom said stridently.
  • "I stole the gold," Tom confessed guiltily (giltily).
  • "Bingo," Tom exclaimed winningly.
  • "Where did all the carpet on the steps go?" asked Tom with a blank stare (stair).
  • "I used to be a criminal pilot," he ex-plained con-descendingly.
  • "I have no flowers," Tom said lackadaisically.
  • "I know not which groceries to purchase," Tom said listlessly.
  • "I decided to come back to the group," Tom rejoined.
  • "Did you say to zip up my sleeping bag or the door?" Tom asked inattentively.
  • "This pizza place is great!" Tom exclaimed saucily.
  • "I dropped my toothpaste," Tom said crestfallenly.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Good Read and a Recipe

Nudist Series, Vol. 3
Byron and Kay McAllister

Age and marriage haven’t impaired the brains of Carola Szegy and Ned Nackero, crime solvers of Runaway Nudist and Undercover Nudist. In this adventure, in the middle of a mountain pass snowstorm, they encounter a fellow nudist being stalked by a crooked lawman and his corrupt boss; they lock horns with a well-meaning but sick-minded anti-government “militia”; and, of course, while the cold and snow settle in, they also determine who killed whom, and how, and why.

Shrimp and Angel Hair Pasta


Original recipe makes 4 servings Change Servings
  • PREP
    10 mins
  • COOK
    25 mins
    35 mins


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add 1 tablespoon oil. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Place pasta in a colander, and give it a quick rinse with cold water.
  2. Heat remaining olive oil in a 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring constantly, until the garlic is tender, about 1 minute. Do not let the garlic burn. Add shrimp, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove shrimp from the skillet, and set aside.
  3. Stir tomatoes, wine, parsley, and basil into the skillet. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half, 8 to 12 minutes. Add shrimp, and continue cooking until the shrimp are heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve the shrimp mixture over the pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Catching UP!


Books that went to press or back to press this week: 

WHITE TAIL: A Collection of Poetry by Bobbi Sinha-Morey

   Bobbi Sinha-Morey displays a wide breadth in her latest collection of poetry. You'll see nature, love, fantasy, religion, paranormal romance, spirituality, and darkness. She explores the beauty in life, the lives of others she's known, even imaginary characters who will enlighten you and move you. She also has a love for trying new things, and some of what she does will surprise you.  
Galleys went out or went out again, this week:

 BOOTS AND THE BRANCH BOYS, by Marjorie K. Doughty.
   Eleanor Hadley, better known as “Boots,” welcomes the “Branch Boys,” veterans from her Maryland home town, back from WW II. All of them have changed and many use alcohol to dull the pain from the devastation they’ve experienced. She falls in love with one, but thinks that marriage to him might be unwise.


Work began or Continued on the following books: 

THE MURDER OF SECRETARY ASA KANE: Adventures on Capital Hill Series, Vol. 2, by Christine Rose, Mariotti
   Second in the popular political thriller series.

IRIS DESTINY, Iris Series, vol. 1, by Daniel Carr

   Colin Craft is an average kid in the ninth grade. With his normal life, he has a somewhat normal love; a hidden love. Jessica Waters...
   Perfect was the only way to describe her. Colin is her math tutor, and that one hour each day of his life is the best. However one day, his one hour gets better when he is dared to kiss her. At the touch of their lips, something happens. Looking into her eyes, Colin realizes a unique design... His design!

BLEEDING HEARTS: Killian Kendall Mystery Series, Vol. 1
   Winner of the Stonewall Society's 2002 Pride in the Arts Literary Award in the Whodunit Category!

REAP THE WHIRLWIND: Killian Kendall Mystery Series, Vol. 2,  by Josh Aterovis.
   Suicide, or murder? That's the question in the second Killian Kendall mystery. Will Smith suspects murder when an old childhood pal drowns, and asks his friend Killian for help in solving the mystery.

TRUTH OF YESTERDAY,  by Josh Aterovis

ALL LOST THINGS, by Josh Aterovis

CHANGE  OF WORLDS, by Josh Aterovis

REVEREND CASTLE'S CRISIS, Rev. Castle series, Vol. 2 by Celine Rose Mariotti
   Rev. Castle is back in another cozy mystery.  

Jack's News!
  by your bookstore cat, 
and gossip columnist!
Heard some good news from my Canadian friend this week:

To Jack:
From: Virginia Winters

My piece of flash fiction, “The Gulls Soared,” placed third in the Winchester Writers Festival competition in the UK. You can learn all about it at: http://writersfestival.co.uk

All the best,


Here at home, Arline has been revamping old files at Smashwords as their formatting software needs must have changed, because some of the  previously formatted books no longer pass painlessly through their "Meatgrinder." They will sell any legible file on their site, but to distribute to the many, sites they market to, the files must flow through the meatgrinder without a snag.

Getting files to be accepted there make  her gnash her teeth (and confidentially they aren't in great shape. All squared off with an occassional gap. No nice pointy, sharp ones... Too much soft food when she was a kitten, perhaps?), but it's always worth the extra work, as SW passes files along to many other stores including Nook, iBook, iPhone, and Apple tablets.

My sister, Spunky, got a postcard from the vet. She needs shots! Awww, too bad.  I didn't get one. Hee, hee, hee.

Roger is cutting grass non-stop so he hasn't had time to play music for me lately. I miss that.

Storms and thundershowers with high winds did some damage to the playhouse in the Little Angles's yard next door. We have had some bad winds and lightening, too.

Please don't forget to let me know 
what you are all up to! 
Just send Arline an e-mail with 

 "News for Jack" 

in the subject line, and
I'll make sure it shows up right here. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Good Read and a Short Story Writing Tip!

The Writers Bloc Anthology II

Eastern Shore Life and Lure is the second anthology from the members of the Writers Bloc, an Eastern Shore Writers Group. Eastern Shore Life and Lure is a panorama of both fact and fiction, much like the Eastern Shore’s past.

Heroes and villains, rich and poor, all have their parts to play in this sampling of tales from the Writers Bloc of the Eastern Shore.

Question from the e-mail:  I took a short story course from you some time back, Arline. Wish I could take it again, but they said you aren't teaching anymore. Any advice?

Answer: Sure.

Twelve Tips  for Writng Short Stories

            1. A short story should be short. The longer your story is the more difficult it will be to place.

            2. A short story should be fast-paced and never boring. A short story needs to move quickly and take place in a short length of time.

            3. A short story should be written in scenes and all scenes should be from a single character’s  viewpoint.

            4. A story plot should contain an Objective (the main character’s goal), Obstacles that stand in the main character’s way, and a clearly defined Outcome, that results from the characters actions (not from coincidence).

            5. A short story is about a main character who wants something and whether they get it or not. If there’s no problem getting what they want, there’s no story.  Some central problem should face the central character and how the main character solves that problem is what the story is about.

            6. A short story should have a theme, some universal truth that becomes the central theme of the short story.

            7. The Protagonist (main character) should be someone whose motives the reader will understand, whose mistakes the reader will forgive, and whom the reader will identify with and root for.

            8. Action and dialogue should rise as the story progresses. Scenes should build upon one another to increase the reader’s involvement. Action should be believable.

            9. A short story should have a bleak moment, just before the crisis, when it looks as if the main character will never get what he or she wants.

            10. The crisis should be realistic and the reader should be experiencing both tension and suspense as to the outcome.

            11. The resolution should explain everything, and tie up all the loose ends. It should be satisfying to the reader, even if it is not a “happy ending.”

            12. Dialogue in a short story should always move forward and be about the point of the scene. Small talk has no place in dialogue.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Good Read and a recipe

A Thrilling Adventure

Jude St. Onge is a man on the run. He is an addict who has stolen a large cache of drugs from Detroit drug kingpin Mitchell Parson, who is determined to retrieve the drugs and take his revenge on Jude. After the torture slaying of Jude’s wife, and the kidnapping of Jude’s daughter, Angelina, the last thing Mitchell Parson expected to hear when he picked up the phone was: “I have your sons.”

June Peas Supreme

Original recipe makes 6 servings Change Servings
  • PREP
    15 mins
  • COOK
    30 mins
    45 mins


  1. Pour peas in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until peas are hot and tender, 5 to 7 minutes; drain.
  2. Cook and stir bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the fat renders and the bacon is crisp, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir onion into the bacon dripping; cook and stir with the bacon until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Pour cream over the bacon mixture; cook and stir until the cream thickens, about 5 minutes. Season thickened cream with salt, and pepper. Pour sherry into the thickened cream. Add drained peas and mushrooms to the skillet; gently stir to coat.