Sunday, June 23, 2019

Ten Years Ago This Week

Since the year began, I've been dreading hearing the inevitable 10-year anniversary of the great celebrity death streak in late June 2009. This, as most will remember, was when Michael Jackson died. But others who died  during that were Ed McMahon, two days earlier, and Farrah Fawcett, the same day. But the King of Pop got all the hype, naturally. And three days after MJ was Billy Mays, the TV pitchman who promoted products such as Oxi Clean. A little-known fact about Mays is that he was the same age as Jackson.

Here is what I wrote on the five-year anniversary in 2014 (click to read more):


This week will mark five years since the celebrity death streak that occurred in late June/early July 2009.   As all of you remember it was the week of Michael Jackson's death. But it started on June 23, 2009, with the death of Ed McMahon. He was best known as Johnny Carson's sidekick on The Tonight Show from 1962 to 1992,  as well as a pitchman for Publishers Clearing House, host of Star Search (the American Idol of the 1980s), and co-host with  Dick Clark of  TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes.   Next came the death of Farrah Fawcett, a first-season cast member of Charlie's Angels,  just several hours before (and several miles away from where Fawcett had died) the world learned of Jackson going into a coma. His death naturally overshadowed that of Fawcett, and 80s music fans were devastated.  His records began to sell out on Internet sites and at used record stores and other store that sell CDs and DVDs.  His death was the most hyped out of the three. 

I remember exactly what I was doing that day.  It was a Thursday and I had just come home from work and was on Facebook and Twitter.  Naturally Jackson's death was all over both sites.  And on the even news I happened to watch that night.  After work the following day, I passed by the USA Today kiosk near CVS Pharmacy and I'm sure you can guess what was on the front page. The next day I stopped at Barnes and Noble and as I entered the movies and music section there was a display of Jackson's work, naturally. His death was still on everyone's mind, but it didn't stop the media from covering other celebrity deaths that followed.

The following Sunday, June 28,  I looked on Twitter and saw OxiClean as a trending topic. I wondered why that was, and a click on the link revealed why.   My mom then called and I suddenly I asked the following:

"Did you hear who just died?"
"Yes. Michael Jackson."
"No, I mean just now."
"No, who?"
"The man who did the commercials for OxiClean."

That man was Billy Mays.  I did not know his name at first, and I still refer to him as "the OxiClean guy."  I then posted this as my Facebook status that day,  saying that "Now the OxiClean pitchman has died. Three deaths last week, will there be two more this week?"  One friend responded "I loved Billy Mays!  His commercials always made me want to buy his stuff."  I then pointed out that the OxiClean guy was the same age was Michael Jackson, a fact that no one seems to have known.  I've asked many people if they knew that fact and every one of them has said no, they did not  know that fact.   Mays was a little over a month older than Jackson.  An obit for the OxiClean guy appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle the following day along with that for another celebrity I did not had died that weekend as well. (I kept and still have this section of that edition of the paper) And one the day after that, yet another I didn't know about either.   Unfortunately, the two celebrities in this case were not high-profile ones like McMahon, Fawcett, Jackson or Mays, and thus their deaths were not Twitter-ed  about, limited only to obits in major metropolitan newspapers such as that one.  Those two were 50s actress and singer Gale Storm (star of the 1950s sitcom My Little Margie)  and impressionist/comedian Fred Travalena.   And as June turned to July, the death streak continued, with actor Karl Malden and NFL star Steve McNair.  Those two celebs got more hype than did Storm and Travalena.  Many will remember Malden's commercials for  American Express, urging viewers to "Don't leave home without it."....




Here is the famous commercial Mays did for Oxi Clean:



I remembered going out to get some Oxi Clean after Mays died, just as everyone else was buying MJ's records. I even blogged about it then. And I am currently working on a story based on then. It was the story I dictated on my phone. I began adding it to my Wattpad page yesterday. Click to read the first two parts. I will be adding the rest, so keep checking back.



I've been sure that most people will ignore Mays, McMahon and Fawcett, giving MJ all the hype once again. 


How many of you remember what you were doing that day?

Saturday, June 22, 2019

My Year In Reading So Far

I still can't believe it's near the end of June, meaning the year is almost half-over 🙂 And it doesn't quite feel like summer around her just yet, but more on that another time.

Every year around this time, I do a post on how my reading progress has been up to this point. Already I have completed six of the year-long reading challenges I signed up for this year:






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And for one challenge, I have just one book left, and deciding what to re-read has been hard. I'm not sure what I would consider one of my "Top 3" books. Not to mention that several other challenges have "re-read" as a prompt, including one that has two re-read categories. Such a hard decision right now🙂

Every year, it seems that some of the challenges I sign up for just disappear, whether it's the link on the blog or the blog itself. This year it was the blog for the Smutty Reads Challenge. That one was the closest I could come to finding a New Adult themed challenge. On the one hand, it came as a shock to learn the blog was deleted without any warning, but on the other hand, it's one fewer challenge to worry about.

Around September or so, I have to start making decisions what challenges I want to host next year. I'll have to take a look at how many participants I got for each one this year, though I most likely  will keep the memoir and mental health ones going, since both topics are very close to me. 

So far this year, I have read 118 books, with one currently in progress.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

What Books Can You See Becoming a Movie?

I saw this on Sandra's blog today:



In recent years, I have been trying to read the book before watching the movie. But years ago, there were many times when I saw a movie not knowing it was based on a book. In many of those instances, I have subsequently sought out the book after the fact. 

I hurriedly read The Sun is Also a Star when I learned a movie was being made and was being released in May. I did not hear about the movie until about two weeks before it was released, during the previews for another movie. I had been meaning to read the book for some time and now felt pressured to do so!

Every so often now, I find myself reading books that I think should be made into movies, including books by this author, none of which (as far as I can see) have been made into movies. The plot of such book screams movie in many cases. I could see the following books as movies:





This isn't the first time I have blogged on this idea. Read here for another take.

I try not to think too much like this, however, when reading.  But every so often, there comes a book that screams movie. Just about an YA fantasy or "chick-lit" seems especially fit for a movie. 

And if a movie is based on a self-help book, do you feel  need to read the book at all, especially if you do not think the book would be necessary for you to read? I've watched several such movies and in most cases didn't read the book, especially this book for this one, since this was not necessary for me.

When you're writing a book, do you immediately wonder if it might someday be commissioned for a movie? I have tried not to think this way since I have not yet published anything. And this is definitely thinking too far ahead. When I was working on my memoir, I got a little into this mode, since I initially did not use any names in my story. I knew I was thinking too far ahead, but did wonder if there has ever been any book with unnamed characters that has been turned into a film. This seemed like something to look into, though I have yet to do so.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Beginning of the Apocalypse?

I saw this on Sandra's blog this morning and had to share:



Will this be the start of the zombie apocalypse some people think will come?

Monday, June 10, 2019

Does Writing Have to Be Your Top Priority to Be Successful?



One of the top pieces of writing advice that seems to crop up time and time again is that if you want to be good at writing, if you're going to get that novel finished, and if you desire satisfaction and success then you need to write. It may seem pretty obvious, but often, it can be easy for writers to struggle with the one thing that needs to happen to get anywhere at all.
Now the second piece of advice that goes hand in hand with this is that if we want to make sure we write, we need to make sure that writing is a top priority in our lives.
But is this true? Does it take massive sacrifices of time, money, and our relationships to ensure that we stay on top of our writing game? Is it possible to complete a novel while keeping up other hobbies and social engagements at the same time?
There seems to be a perpetuating myth that writers need to be writers first and foremost, and it seems unfathomable that a writer could possibly have interests, commitments, and dare I say, even other priorities that come before their writing. But writers are many things. They are husbands and wives; they are parents, they are homemakers, chefs, golf and knitting enthusiasts, they like to go out for walks, for dinner, to dance.
Sometimes writers are made to feel guilty if they'd rather have a night on the town or a movie night at home and their writing takes a hit because of it. It's all 'well you can't possibly call yourself a writer,' or you clearly aren't 'committed' enough to your writing or 'passionate' enough about it if you don't spend every waking minute dedicated to your craft. If you'd, I don't know, rather hang out with your kids of an afternoon then lock yourself away in your tiny windowless office for five hours ignoring their chubby little hands banging on the door imploring you to come outside then you're not a real writer at all.
But perhaps there can be a happy medium. It's essential to make time for your writing, of course it is. It's important to write regularly and frequently if you want to make steady progress and stay in the writing 'zone.' However, just because you don't get up at 5 am to do it, or sometimes make choices to do other things it doesn't mean that you aren't a writer or that you don't deserve writing success, should it come your way.
It is not so much about how you decide to prioritize your writing, but how to ensure that you are totally focused and productive when you do decide to write. Also that you are making enough time for it so that you feel comfortable with the pace you are going at so that you are in line with your writing goals, and above all else so that you enjoy writing and all the other things that are going on in your life as well!
If you can do that, if you can make writing as much of a priority as fits in with your busy, lovely, demanding life, then you are far more likely to commit to it, to stick with it and to take pleasure in it. This will be all the more rewarding and satisfying when you do come to an end, not burnt out and sick and with no friends and fractured family relationships, but feeling positive, happy and fulfilled with your proud loved ones by your side.

Upon seeing this piece, I began to feel like I wasn't doing enough writing lately. So I have tried to do some brief writing at night, just to have some done. I will be having my class at work each Monday this month because the mentor who was doing the meditation class that altered week with my class has decided not to do hers anymore (she will be planning a new class to start in July). So I will be getting some writing done that way. Last week, we did retellings of tales and those who participated came up with some very good retellings. These included Frankenstein being told from the monster's viewpoint and several different retellings of Cinderella from other characters' POVs, as well as one from the character herself in the first person. Later on that same week, I tried doing some of these on my own at home, albeit brief ones, but it's something and perhaps some of them can be expanded on later. One thing I wrote was The Three Bears told by the bears themselves. 
Do any of you ever find yourself going back and forth between writing that you are working on? Just yesterday, I found myself working on my diary novel yet again. I had found some things I wanted to change and discovered a few typos. I didn't get through all of it yesterday, but plan to do more the rest of the week. I think that is what I'll try to concentrate on for the time coming up. I still haven't added to the sequel yet and am taking  break from the dictated story I began last month. The dictated story is a reference to an event that occurred 10 years ago this month (more on that to come).  
I especially want to try to do more work like this since the local writers' lab will out for the summer. My class at work will be one way and now I'm going to try do as much as I can each week. Often I find myself doing no writing at all, and begin to feel a little guilty, but decided I can go without it for a day.  I tend to get tired in the hot weather and it's starting again where I live. But I'll do my best to active in this weather, taking a break when too tired.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Chapter Break Bingo – June 2019

Here is the card for June.


June Bookish Bingo


Click on the card to download (or right click here and save-as).
Mark up the card however you wish to claim the squares.
Here’s a recap for clarity (with specific dates for example):
June 3 – new bingo card available
July 2 – Julie and I will post our June completed bingo cards. You can link up your bingo cards in this post
July 3 – new bingo card available
Aug 2 – Julie and I will post our July completed bingo cards. You can link up your bingo cards in this post. We will also be posting the June winner of the most squares in this post.
My Books:
  1. Blameless--Gail Carrier (5 squares): Physical Book, Landscape on the Cover, Bride, In a Series, Library Book
  2. On a Sunbeam--Tillie Walden (3 squares): Hell, Fire, Secret Crush
  3. Unto Us a Son is Given--Donna Leon (3 squares): Father, Accent, Free Space
  4. Do This For Me--Eliza Kennedy (5 squares): Audiobook, Twins, Not in a Series, Steamy Romance, Moving/Relocating
  5. The Joy Luck Club--Amy Tan (1 square): Not a New Release
  6. Rebel--Beverly Jenkins (2 squares): Free Book, Book Gifted to You
  7. Bloodrose--Andrea Cremer (2 squares): Garden, Beard
  8. She Wanted It All--Kathryn Casey (3 squares): Nonfiction, True Crime, Small Town
  9. Letters From Madelyn--Elaine K. Sanchez (1 square): Shelf Love
25 squares completed on June 20

Saturday, June 1, 2019