Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James

Fifty Shades of Grey


About the Book (from The Writer’s Coffee Shop):


When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating.  Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind – until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.

The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him.  Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her – but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success – his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving adoptive family – Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a passionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as the Christian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny.

Can their relationship transcend physical passion? Will Ana find it in herself to submit to the self-indulgent Master?  And if she does, will she still love what she finds?

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

 Find out more about E. L. James

 About the Author (from Writer’s Coffee Shop):

E L James is a TV executive, wife, and mother of two, based in West London. Since early childhood, she dreamt of writing stories that readers would fall in love with, but put those dreams on hold to focus on her family and her career. She finally plucked up the courage to put pen to paper with her first novel, Fifty Shades of Grey.

E L James is currently working on the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey and a new romantic thriller with a supernatural twist.

Author profile
Twitter @E_L_James

An interview with the Author:

Have you written long? What age did you first begin writing?

I used to write stories when I was at school. I remember my teacher – I was about eleven at the time – would often read them out to the class, because I used to include all my school friends in them.

I have always yearned to write for an audience. I tried a couple of times, but never got very far. Then in January 2009, I started writing and I couldn’t stop. I wrote my first novel, then a second, then a third – none of which have been published. (Yet!)

I love the way the characters correspond by email and texting. It was really sexy. How did the idea come to you to use that in the book?

As most people correspond through text and email these days, it felt appropriate. I’m a terrible flirt, so the emails are like the ones I write, even at work. I enjoy that kind of banter, and so does my husband…the less said about that the better. I think, I also found that Ana is much more forthright in print than when she’s speaking. She’s braver and less intimidated when Christian is in another part of town, or another part of the country.

How did you develop the characters?

That’s a very difficult question to answer. I write instinctively. I don’t analyze what I do. I just go for it. I knew there were depths to Christian and he wouldn’t be all he seemed, but I wanted to reveal him slowly. We’ve only got a taste of that in the first novel, but more will be revealed later. Ana goes on an extraordinary journey with him, and personally, I admire her. She’s much braver and stronger than I am.

Is there a message you want the reader to come away with?

I think the only message I want to give is that situations are often much more complex than they seem. Life isn’t black and white, at all – it’s fine shades of grey. It’s easier, I know, to see the world in black and white – it lets you sit there and judge. But, I think my motto would be, don’t judge too hastily what you don’t know or don’t understand.

When you sit down to relax and pick up a book, what might you read?

I’ll be honest – I’ve been so consumed by Christian and Ana over the last year or so, I’ve had very little time to read. The last book I finished was The Hunger Games. That was good – but jeez, was it grim. A society that murders its own children for sport! I mean…that’s tough. I haven’t braved the second installment, but I will.

How long before the second and third books will be out for all of us who are biting our nails?

The second part is called: Fifty Shades Darker and will be on pre-sale mid-August. The third book…you’ll have to wait and see.

My Review:

Let me say right off the bat what I didn’t like about the book. I read and I read and my heart was breaking, but in the end, I knew that everything was going to turn out all right. I kept thinking this as I watched the percentage grow at the bottom of my Kindle. I kept watching and reading and waiting as it reached 95%, 98%, and then it hit 100% and at the end, it said, “end of Part 1”. I won’t tell you how much or how loud I wanted to scream. I am stomping my feet and jumping up and down, having a hissy fit because I don’t have Part 2 in my hands at this very second!

Christian, with his piercing grey eyes, was cold and aloof, that is, until he saw Ana tumbling through his office door. And, as their worlds collide, they will be forever changed. I loved the characters. Christian has so much depth for a book character. The author made him come alive and you just wanted to hold him close and help him heal. I fell in love with the innocent Anastasia because I am a lot like her. When I see someone I love in pain, I want to do anything I can to help them. This book constantly tore at my heart’s strings.

I have never read a book with this much extracurricular sexual activity (okay, I’m a Prissy – figure it out – erotica,) but the beautiful love story being told was very much in the forefront of this book. The parental relationships, the best friend relationships, and professional relationships in the book were very well crafted and have a strong presence throughout the book. The book is well written, and I have to admit, my vocabulary increased while reading the book, but I liked that challenging aspect of it. The book is aptly named as the author depicts the many shades grey in the storyline. And, as you come to realize, we all have Fifty Shades of Grey woven throughout our lives.

If you are naïve, (like the Prissy here, raising my hand,) you might want to cover your eyes through some of the scenes. I really enjoyed this book (education aside) and I highly recommend it. The sex is hot, and the love, an inferno. NOW, where is Part 2?!


Well, I have great news for everyone! The gracious and generous publisher of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ promised to give 5 E-book copies away to 5 lucky followers of this blog!

This is open INTERNATIONALLY, so everyone can have a chance! All you have to do is follow this blog publicly and give your comments down below! Please include a valid email address so I can contact you.

Tweets about this give away are greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance for Tweeting!

To enter – please visit my primary blog by clicking on the My Life. Button on the right. Thanks.

Where to buy

Amazon (ebook)
The Writer’s Coffee Shop (paperback & ebook) (paperback)


Other stops on the tour (I encourage you to read their reviews):

June 21 Journey with Books
June 23 Roaming through Romance
June 25 Live to Read
June 27 The Write to Make a Living
June 28 Middle of the Road Reviews
June 29 Better read than dead
June 30 My Life. One Story at a Time


My Weekly Musings – Beginning June 23 – The Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s

            Today, we finally, or should I say my husband was finally home long enough to do a little work in the yard today. He trimmed (or should I say bushwhacked, the Crepe Myrtles. Steve Bender from Southern Living would have a coronary. He writes an article almost every year about people who bushwhack Crepe Myrtles. I have to say, Hubby didn’t do too bad a job this year (in my opinion – I love giving MY opinion.)

Not too many branches down.

            He hooked the little trailer to my four-wheeler (the lawn mower) and Ryka hopped in (to my surprise) and off she and I went. We rode around the yard and finally made it to the first stop on the tour (otherwise Hubby would have strung us both up in a tree.) I expected Ryka to hop out of the wagon, but instead, she hunkered down for the duration. We piled tree branches in, around, and on top of her. This didn’t bother her in the least.

Ryka - ready to roll.
The branches are getting higher.

Once the wagon was full, she and I headed to the north forty (as we refer to the acreage behind the house.) We dumped our load and headed back to the front yard. We are breezing along at a little clip (use your imagination here – it’s a lawn mower) when the mower begins to sputter. We ran out of gas. This is why cell phones were invented. Hubby met me about half way back to the house with a can of gas. Ryka stayed in the wagon just watching. I guess she truly is a “watch dog”. I emptied the can of gas into the mower and headed back to the house to tank up. As you can see by the pictures, Ryka did not budge. It took about an hour to haul the tree branches back to the burn pile and she never left the wagon. I finished the last drop off and headed to the barn, parked the mower, and hosed it off, and she still did not get out of the wagon. She actually spent another half an hour just sitting there; this time, watching me pick figs.

Ryka - waiting for gas.

I guess I’ll be giving doggie rides in the wagon this summer! We aim to please down here on the farm.

Enjoying solitude from Calypso.
Didn't want to get out.

After that task, I helped Hubby make a rolling plywood wall. He literally attached a piece of plywood to my old wagon. Why you ask? Sadly enough, it’s to protect my dogs from food poisoning. Long story short, my best friend used to live next door. Then, she divorced her husband and moved. She got me in the divorce and the rest of the family (who live next door) declared war (only we are not participating.) One member of the family began placing their garbage can up against the fence, fine, no problem. Then, they began throwing plastic bags of week old food against the fence. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a puppy is going to chew and pull as much garbage and food through the cyclone fence as possible, and then proceed to eat said food. This happened twice, with my dog getting sick (evidence by back door) twice. So, for the safety of my dogs, Hubby came up with the idea to put a piece of plywood against the fence where the garbage can is located. This idea works great; or did, until they moved the garbage can. Well…we moved the plywood. After much moving of the heavy plywood up and down the fence line, usually by me, Hubby came up with the idea to screw it to the side of my little wagon (my favorite wagon, which I can no longer use, that wagon) so I could just roll it up and down the property fence line.

Calypso preferred the swing.

Right now, it is sitting against my little garden house/kennel. The neighbors temporarily moved the garbage can away from the fence, so we moved the plywood. If they proceed with the garbage game again, we will just roll the moving wall back to the fence. The ball is in their court, one can only hope it stays there. Meanwhile, the dogs are safe from food poisoning for the moment. It is a sad situation. Welcome to Country Life folks. Gotta love it. The Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s, re-incarnated. You have now heard of two games that I play at my house; Scoop the Poop and Rolling Wall. Life is the country is great! (she says sarcastically.)

I'll just hang out here.

Maybe it’s that way in the city too, who knows. After just being there, I doubt it. My daughter told me not to be offended when I got on the elevator and no one said hello. Katie-Beth said everyone keeps their head down to avoid making eye contact. They do not want to know you and they do not want you to know them. That was true until this visit. This trip, there was an elderly gentleman who bid me adieu on one day, and a very friendly woman who conversed on another day. I was happy about this because being unfriendly can drive a Southerner crazy. We just want to smile and tell everyone, “Hi!” but we want a response back.

Friday afternoon there was a break in the rain. Since the grass was temporarily dry, I decided to mow the yard. I normally put the dogs in the kennel before I start, but this time Calypso was under the front porch, so I left her. I know that she is afraid of the mower and any time she sees me pull it out, she immediately runs into the kennel and into her house and stays there. Since Calypso was on the loose, I decided to see if Ryka would stay away from the mower. For some reason, she likes to follow me on the grass throwing side. It didn’t take long to see that was her intention once again. She had just had a bath; there was no way I was going to let her do this so into the kennel she went.

I made a round of the front yard and for some strange reason; Calypso decided to venture out and ended up at the front gate. As I came around on the mower, she ran to the flowerbed in the corner and tried to make herself disappear behind the flowers. I finally had to stop the mower, calm her down (she kept wanting to jump in my arms) and take her to the kennel where she immediately ran into her house. Lesson learned. Put the dogs in the kennel to start with.

Saturday morning, after being woken up at 3 am by Hubby leaving for his last trawling outing for the season (I know this because the season closed Saturday at midnight), I was again woken up by the dogs at 4:15 am. They were holding a HUGE monstrous rat captive underneath the a/c compressor on the patio. I nearly freaked out. Things like this only happen when Hubby is not home. Why is this? The dogs, who do not need a flashlight, and me, with the flashlight, were trying to figure out how to get that little sucker (excuse me, HUGE sucker) out from under the unit. I had a brilliant idea (as close as you can come at 4:15 in the morning) to use hot water from the sink (that has a hose hooked up to it) located three feet away. I was thinking that I would flush him out and hope the dogs didn’t catch him. They are waiting around with baited anticipation while I am getting the water started and putting the flow under the unit. I am standing there running scalding hot water under the a/c compressor and NOTHING! In the two seconds it took for me to do this, the little (HUGE) sucker must have taken his leave. Using the flashlight to give the dogs some help, we all realized that stinker was gone. They searched all over my flower garden and then followed the trail through the gate into the front yard – nothing. I hope that he is long gone. Let me just add here that if it’s not light outside, I do not see any point in getting out of bed. 4 am in the morning is for SLEEPING, not chasing monstrous rats.

I went out (at a more reasonable time) to feed the dogs breakfast. Calypso ate most of hers and settled down behind me on the step stoop. I looked at her and the side of her mouth was red. I thought she had food hanging from her lip. Upon closer examination, I realized that it was part of her lip hanging and I had a handful of blood. This is normally when I would go crying to Hubby that someone was wrong with my dog and he would handle the situation (he’s a good Hubby.) With tears in my eyes, I gently turned her face to examine her mouth. That damn animal (which had to be a rat) had attacked her. That was the yelping that I heard that morning that pulled me from bed to check out the barking.

I guess when Calypso tried to put her face under the a/c compressor (I KNOW my dog), the animal bit her. The barking, I can tune out, but when my dog cried out, I got up. We live in the country and Sentry had cornered a possum one night. I could hear the hissing from inside the house. It wasn’t pretty. Hubby was home and took care of the situation. He also took care of the situation with the cat. He wasn’t here for the rat. He was out trawling.

Things always seem to happen when Hubby is away from the house. I am the one who has to shoot the snakes, hack them to death, spray the roaches, etc. I am the biggest chicken that ever walked the earth! That snake story is a story all on its own. Let’s just say, thank heavens I am an excellent shot with a pistol. My lesson – do not use soaker hoses in the country. There may come a day when YOU mistake it for a 10 (TEN) foot water moccasin. Once you realize that you almost grabbed and adjusted a water moccasin, have a heart attack, revive yourself, gain your senses and scream only to realize there are no men at home in the surrounding area to help, you back away slowly and run for the gun. Hubby was on the tractor in the back forty and didn’t answer his phone. I was forced to take matters into my own hands. I got my pistol, walked back to the offending object (the snake), and took aim from fifteen feet. I peppered his ass. I mutilated him. You should have seen the pieces flying (that’s kind of gross – but true.) I thought, surely he’s dead. He was practically torn up to pieces.

When Hubby finally made it back to the front yard, I couldn’t tell the story fast enough. I gave him the extra magazine (the Trooper says it’s not a CLIP, it’s a magazine) and he set out for the front yard. Of course, I was at his heels, and the dog at mine. That was the day I found out you have to shoot the head completely off if you want to kill the snake. Hubby acts like a hero, stands over the snake, and severs the head with one shot. Ump! I did all the work. Did you know that some snakes can charge at you in the air? Fortunately, I found out that piece of information from a story someone else was telling and not by experience! Never roll over the snake with a tractor or a lawn mower in an attempt to kill it. You will only irritate the hell out of it and you had better be faster than it is. Folks, we have some (excuse my language) mean-ass snakes here in Bayou land.

I know I’ve said this before, but where is my husband? The dogs are in the garage again today. Sprawled out, sound asleep and enjoying every hot minute of it. And, HE let them in. Who is this strange man and where did they take my husband?

Last night (Saturday), my dogs, and every dog in the country neighborhood (up and down the highway) barked most of the night. After the rat incident, I wasn’t sleeping too well, worrying that I would hear another pain bark. Just when they settled down, and I was able to fall asleep, my sister started texting me. My dad was having chest pains and she had driven my parents to the emergency room to check it out. Thank goodness I have two sisters who are Nurse Practitioners’ and can handle these types of situations. We texted back and forth until 2:30 am when she finally arrived back at her house. The hospital is forty miles away and I was not awake enough to make that long of a drive. I was exhausted. I texted one sister at 9 a.m. to get an update and received no answer. I texted another sister at 9:15 am, and again, received no answer. I started to panic. I finally called one of them at 9:20 am (I am NOT known for my patience.) Finally, one answered. She had had a long day and then night and was barely coherent but I managed to get a, “if something were wrong, I’m sure I’d hear”, from her. Then, about five minutes later, another sister texted that she was feeding the dog and then calling for an update. The Sunday morning phone chain ain’t what it’s cracked up to be sometimes! Anyway, he had many tests run, a heart attack was ruled out (which was good because he has a heart history), and he is back home and doing fine.

This afternoon I took a four-hour nap. I may not sleep tonight but I am feeling rested now. Hubby says I would have been great on the Gilligan’s Island show – remember the three-hour tour? They don’t call it a nap for nothing. That is the name Hubby has given my “power naps”. By contrast, his power nap lasts about 15 minutes. How anyone can feel refreshed after 15 minutes has me baffled. A fifteen-minute nap would give me one thing – a rotten attitude!

I know it’s only Sunday, but it seems as though I’ve had a full week already. With that being said, I’m posting this tonight. Enjoy!

Ya’ll come back now!

My Weekly Musings – Beginning June 16, 2011 – “I screamed, he screamed, we all screamed, and it WASN’T for ice cream!”

             On Friday, my husband decided he wanted fried soft-shell crab, fish, shrimp, and squash for lunch (this is the South, and bayou country, folks.) He decided to take advantage of my last day before I start my diet. Not wanting to fry seafood in the house, we turned the a/c on in the garage while we were cooking. Our garage is like an apartment, not your typical garage. I went into the house for eggs and when I came back, I could not believe my eyes. My husband had let the dogs in. My immediate thought was who is this man, because he is definitely NOT my husband. Where is he and what did you do to him? He let them in on purpose! Anyone who knows my husband would think he had lost his mind. He does NOT like the dogs to be inside the garage, much less the house. I, on the other hand, let them in every time he leaves (it’s no secret. I’ve been caught enough times.)

            My other dogs knew that when Papa left, they could come inside. As soon as Jeffery cleared the gate, they were sitting at the back door waiting. Sentry got to where she just sat and watched him drive down the driveway. She didn’t even bother to hide the fact that she was waiting to come in!

            Then, after lunch, he left to run errands and left the dogs inside (the garage AND his man cave.) When he returned a couple of hours later, he comes into the house and asks me if they are ready to go out. God, please forgive the look that came over my face and the thoughts that went ever so BRIEFLY through my head. I rolled my eyes and asked him if he had asked Ryka and Calypso if they were ready to go out. You gotta love this man. He thinks my dogs talk to me. If the sprawled out positions they had adopted, were any indication, they were in la-la land and NOT ready to go outside in the 90+ degree heat and thousands of percent humidity (the South).

Later in the day, I did manage to coerce Calypso outside. I had plans to mow the yard (a lawn is small, we have a YARD) and I needed to play “scoop the poop”. She loves to follow me around and I’m attempting to teach her to poop next to the trees so I don’t have to use the shovel to put it there (I know, yeah, right! One never knows what they will succeed with.) I shovel the poop and dump it by the trees. I tell her that is where she should do her business. So far, it’s not working. One can always wish.

I do not think (in fact, I KNOW) hubby did not waste any time scooping the poop the week I was in New York. I could have filled a dump truck! I have TWO German shepherds the size of Texas (ok, not quite, but almost.) I’m beginning to think they are in competition with each other to see who can make the biggest pile of business (poop!) Was that a little too much information? Probably so!

I was visiting different blogs the other day and I came across a story about two sisters, one of which is expecting and hates revolving doors. I laughed when I read the story because after my recent trip to New York (more stories I afraid) I can so relate. I am always afraid that I will get trapped in one and just keep going round and round and round. Please tell me someone else has had this same nightmare!? Has anyone ever tried to go the wrong way through one? Yes, I tried, many times. Seems, if there is no one ahead of me, I cannot tell which way to go and inevitably end up pushing the wrong way before I figure it out.

It became a joke between my son-in-law and I this past trip. He went through a door and was headed on to our destination when he looked back to see if we were following him (my daughter, Jessica, and me.) I gave him the most pathetic look I could muster up and the saddest voice I could use and I told him, “Son-in-law, do not leave mother-in-law behind because I almost got lost in the revolving door and couldn’t get out”.

There was one incident when we were walking into a restaurant and I got to the door first and stopped. Son-in-law walked up and looked at me to see what was wrong. I just looked back at him, waiting. It took prompting, but after I said, “Jeffery is not here to open the door for me, so it is up to you.” He shrugged his shoulders, chuckled, and opened the door (I will succeed with him.) I let him know that as long as there was a man around, I would never open the door. I would wait. Katie is one of these modern girls who like to open their own door and not wait for a man to open it for her. I am failing miserably to keep her trained in this Southern tradition, but I still keep trying.

On our last trip to New York in October (husband and I) there was a little incident with the bathroom. I cannot believe I am going to post this, but it was and continues to be a funny story. It is one of those stories that every time you tell it, it is embellished a little more.

I found out the hard way that if the bathroom door is closed and the light is out, it generally means it’s empty. It makes sense NOW, but when you do not know the rules…strange things happen. Let me start at the beginning. Most folks in New York do not have air conditioners. They live with the windows wide open, including the bathroom window, which, in their apartment, is huge and located so when you sit on the toilet, you can have a conversation with several different floors of residents in the next building. Fortunately, the bathroom side of the building faces the bathroom side of the neighboring building. This means that you don’t have many visitors. I have yet to see one, but there is always the possibility.

It was dark outside and I was going to shower. I did want to take the time to lower the window (it is quite heavy and awkward, it’s an old building) so I closed the bathroom doors (there is a hall door and a bedroom door) and left the light off, knowing that no one could see in (I am Princess Modest so you can only imagine what was going through my mind.) What was NOT going through my mind was that son-in-law would come barreling through the door! I screamed, he screamed, we all screamed, and it WASN’T for ice cream! Fortunately, I had a towel wrapped up tight around me (Princess Modesty.) He went one way; I went the other.

This trip, I wanted to make sure there was no repeat so whenever I went into the bathroom, I hollered out, “son-in-law, mother-in-law’s in the bathroom”, and he would respond with, “okay”. Then, when he went in, he thought it was only natural to let me know. It worked out beautifully. I’m sure you are asking; why not just lock the door. My answer would be, “I don’t know”. When there are four people in the apartment and one goes missing, in my mind, it is not too hard to figure out they are in the bathroom. Closed door – knock?

During the retelling of this story, (you know that there HAS to be many retellings) it came to light that my poor little sweet daughter had a similar experience with her father-in-law, only it was worse. Her mother-in-law told her to put something in the bathroom. Katie asked if anyone was in there and she said no. Katie walked into the bathroom and her father-in-law walked out of the shower at the same time. Let’s just say at least I had a towel on and it was dark! My daughter will be forever traumatized by the event.

Life is never dull for Lucy Jr. either.

On another note, on Monday we had rain! Yeah rain! The birds were singing, the trees were dancing, the flowers were blooming, and the grass was growing. Okay, I admit that I could only hear the birds singing, but we desperately needed rain. We have had drought conditions for almost three months. The surrounding areas have gotten rain, but for some reason, here in Valentine, we miss it. We sit on the porch and watch it go by to the north and watch it go by to the south, but not over us.

We have had rain everyday this week so far! It is so exciting. I gave the dogs a bath. Calypso loves the water. She loves the soaking and then she loves the scrubbing. She sits and licks me the entire time. I love it. I stand there and just talk and talk to her (she sits on top of the picnic table – easier on my back) and she just looks at me as if to say, “I love you too, Mommy.” Ryka is a different story, although this time she was much easier to bathe than normal. She hopped up on the picnic table, sat, and let me soak her. I guess it helps to be using warm water. I had to put Calypso in the kennel because she is so jealous. I think Ryka was enjoying the one on one with me without having Calypso nipping at her legs (this is Calypso’s new thing – try to get under Ryka and bite her on the leg.)

Ryka, for some reason (maybe my trip last week,) was very amendable to a bath. She sat there while I soaked and scrubbed her. Of course, there was lots of licking going on since I was face level with her (her licking, not me.) I was able to talk and talk with her as well. Calypso, as punishment, had to sit in the kennel and watch Ryka get the attention for a change. Needless to say, I was soaking wet, but there were two squeaky clean dogs!

That’s about all for my week. See ya next week!


Diary of an Emotional Prostitute by Beatrice McClearn

Diaries of an Emotional Prostitute


            “Diary Confession 1. My past wasn’t haunted by drugs, pimps, ‘Johns,” or violence, but rather by something more detrimental to the spirit. It was a force that ate me up and broke me from within. It was a force that most people feared. Unfortunately I was one of the unlucky few that had to endure such a pain; thus giving me a name. A name I was ashamed to bear; one that kept me branded to the essence of his scent. By the end of this journey, you will know why I am called “An Emotional Prostitute.”

About the Book (from the book):

The Story Behind the Book

            “The novel began as a poem entitled Addiction which depicts Beatrice McClern’s personal feelings toward her first love in 2006. Soon after writing the poem, McClearn decided to write a private autobiography – never intended to be published.

The first two drafts were based on McClearn’s diary entries. As she read, she realized that she craved love more than she craved anything else in the world. Thurs, she called herself an ‘emotional prostitute’.

As a former educator, McClearn mentored a lot of her students that were going through traumatic ordeals at home. She wanted to give them a voice, so she took out her story and merged their stories with the main character. Thus McClearn’s memoir turned into a fictional tale about a young lady whose circumstances led her to become an ‘emotional prostitute’.

One might believe that the term “emotional prostitute” relates to a provocative act. In reality, emotional prostitutes seek emotional fulfillment through loving another. While the pursued may be victim for a while, the pursuer is often a lifetime victim of their own circumstances.”

About the Author (from the book jacket):

            Beatrice McClearn is the first author to shed light on emotional prostitution in an effort to end the cycle, and regain a sense of morality. The intimate diary format brings readers closer to the main character, and recognize their own inner struggles. McClearn obtained her degree in broadcast journalism from Bowie State University. A few years later, she received her certificate in creative writing from Prince George’s Community College. Her experience as a former educator with Prince George’s County Public Schools helped shape the notion that if gone unspoken, teenagers will continue the growing phenomenon.

You can find the author at:




My Review:

            First, for some strange reason, I thought the book was a memoir. Hence, I was dumbfounded when I got to the last two pages. My heart almost stopped beating.

Reading the book as a memoir, I was left thinking how absolutely candid and brave the author was in revealing her story. Even as I came to the realization that the book was fiction, my thoughts did not change.

The book’s back cover states: “By the end of the novel, you will discover one of two facts: 1) You KNOW an emotional prostitute; or 2) You ARE an emotional prostitute.” The epiphany for me was I am an Emotional Prostitute.

My very being, my deep happiness comes from loving someone. My happiness comes from making my husband happy. My fulfillment is in knowing my children are happy. My contentment comes from my dogs’ reactions to me. When my friends are happy, I am happy. In doing this, we walk a fine line between loving too much, liking too much, looking to others to fulfill us to the point of depleting the recipients of air. I do not think I am a person meant to be alone; however, I am comfortable being alone.

In the book, Lilah uses love and sex to fulfill her inner void. This may be the cycle the author speaks of conquering. So many people have a void in their life and they attempt to fill it with false love, sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping, and many other vices. We need to teach our children (and each other) to be confident in who they are, to fulfill their destiny, and to be strong, to teach them not to pimp themselves in an effort to fill a void.

Lilah’s story progresses from a painful childhood to a young woman that hits rock bottom. From there, the book takes us through Lilah’s realization that she controls her happiness and then, her taking charge of her life. The ending of the book brings us full circle. This book is an example of how we do not have to let the hand of cards we’ve been dealt define who we are. We are free to, at any time, gather up the cards, shuffle the deck, and re-deal the cards. Our life can be anything we want it to be.

Lilah was a wonderful person who had so much to offer. I have no thoughts on the shocking ending of the book as I write this review. My mind has yet to piece it together. These thoughts may stem of my thinking it was a memoir for most of the book.

This book contains sexual scenes that personally I would not want my teen reading, but let’s face it. I live in a somewhat sheltered world of my own making. The story, however, is a story that teens and adults should read. I highly recommend this book. Beatrice McClearn has a powerful message for all of us.

Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation – monetary or in kind – has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the author, publisher, or PR firm.

Interview with Beatrice McClearn:

How much of the book is fiction and how much is autobiographical?

Approximately 25% of the book is autobiographical. The rest is a facet of my imagination based off those experiences, or experiences of others. For example, I’ve never been raped, and my parents have been happily married for 30 years. On the flip side, my first love really did begin a life without me in the manner I describe in the story. We entertained getting back together but it never really worked out that way (so far).

What made you decide that the main character would commit suicide?

In terms of having the character commit suicide, it was something that I would’ve done myself at the time of writing the book. I wasn’t shooting for an overly dramatic ending as much as I wanted to expose my true desire to commit suicide if I walked in her shoes during the time I wrote it.

What do you want the reader to come away with?

I would hope that readers begin to notice how emotional prostitution affects them or those around them. Almost as if an addict learns and admits to being an addict. Once they do, they can find ways to overcome the addiction. Not all emotional prostitution is bad – but I believe it should be presented in moderation.

Do you still consider yourself an Emotional Prostitute or do you think people can change?

I believe I am a work in progress. I am still an emotional prostitute to an extent; meaning I have my weak moments, but once I realize that I’m emotionally relying on others for fulfillment, I reacess the situation and find an alternative method which would create balance. Once I identify the cause I can change the effect.

What is your next project?

Right now, I have no pending book projects. I’m taking this year to market Diaries of an Emotional Prostitute. In the interim I have a talk show with Journei the Poet on Youtube called Uncover 2 Discover. Next year, I will look into writing another book…this time non-fiction.

The author has graciously agreed to provide me with a book for

a give away.  To enter please visit my Primary Blog at

(or you may click on the button on the side of this blog.)

You will find this review on My Life. One Story at a Time.

Please enter the give away there.

The drawing will be on June 25, 2011.

Winner will be posted on June 26, 2011

This book is available for purchase at the following locations:


Barnes and Noble
Library Thing
Sixth Sense Publishing

My Weekly Musings – Beginning June 9 2011 – Part 2

My second installment on my New York trip (Monday – Wednesday)

            On Monday, Jessica and I took the downtown tour, which included a visit to the Empire State Building, downtown Manhattan and a trip out to Brooklyn. It was my second trip to the top of the ESB and Jessica’s first. I am always surprised that the Statue of Liberty seems so small. For some reason I was expecting it to loom over the horizon, and while it is huge, it is not the towering inferno I thought it to be. I have also become convinced that there is NOT a tour guide that is NOT sassy. Some have truly gotten on my nerves and I have to admit taking a tour with someone that speaks with a foreign accent (literally from another country) is a little disconcerting (to us from the south, everyone else has a strange accent.) Case in point, I called several places that my daughter enjoys frequenting to surprise her with gift certificates for her birthday, and although I speak perfect English, for some reason a northerner could not understand a southerner over the phone (and visa versa.) Another tour guide thought he was the next Robin Williams.

            Getting back to our tour guides, we had a Broadway wanna be as our guide to Brooklyn. He actually acted with Hugh Brenner on Broadway. He was also hoping to get more work on Broadway. He treated us to many songs along the way, making our bus the spectacle at many stoplights. It was interesting. For any of you who live in New York, if you have never taken the Brooklyn tour, you must. There is so much history and it is very intriguing.
Picnicking by the Hudson River.

Tuesday afternoon, we again explored New York via the tour bus, this time, uptown. It was partly cloudy and threatening rain when we boarded. Jessica was murmuring about it raining on us and I was ever the optimist claiming it was going to wait until the end of the tour. About half way through the tour, we felt drops of rain, but still the weather held. The rain held off through the tour of Harlem. As we began our trek around Central Park on the way back to Times Square, the rain came down in earnest (the one day I left the umbrella home.)
Central Park
Church at Ground Zero

The people who were boarding the tour bus about this time were given rain ponchos (or Garbage Bag Couture as I refer to them.) Jessica and I actually had to ask for them. Before we garnered up enough courage to ask for the “Garbage Couture”, an elderly gentlemen (and there are some left in this world, and this was one of them) turned around and offered us his poncho. Who says chivalry is dead? It may be in New York, but this gentleman was from Arizona. Not only did this kind gentleman give us his rain poncho (and proceeded to get drenched himself) but when we acquired an additional poncho, he opened them up and guided us into them. He made sure our heads found the hoods and our arms found the armholes (such as they were.) He then tied the little drawstring under our chins so our hoods would not blow off.

            This was not an easily accomplished task. I was definitely having a “Lucy” moment and had tears streaming down my face along with the rain because I was laughing so hard. Jessica was not pleased about this adventure and attempted to disappear completely into the poncho. She just needs to loosen up a bit and enjoy the childish moments when they come our way.
            This trip I got to see the Manhattan School of Music where my son-in-law, Jude, graduated from last year. That’s Jude!
Manhattan School of Music
             This adventure was only the icing on the cake, the finish to an odd day for us. Earlier in the day, we made a trip out to the Statue of Liberty. We boarded the downtown subway and made our way to our exchange station. This is where we caught the “express train” as my daughter keeps correcting me. I seem determined to remember it as the “fast train” and she is mortified when I voice this term in public. By the end of this trip, I was remembering to call it the express train and she was happy about that (I’ll probably forget by the next trip. It goes super duper fast. It’s a fast train.)
Lady Liberty
Battery Park
Liberty Park

            Anyway, we made our way to Battery Park to catch the ferry out to Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty. In October, my husband and I stood in line for the longest, but this time, Jessica and I breezed right through security and onto the boat in no time. We were on the wharf at Liberty Island waiting on the ferry to take us to Ellis Island when the security guards started evacuating the wharf. We had to walk to the flagpole in the park, which is quite a distance away from the wharf. We then saw the Harbor Police and their German shepherd (yeah Shepherds!) board the ferry. After a thorough search, we were ushered back onto the wharf and onto the ferry. Talk was that there was a package left unattended.

            Wednesday, we headed for home. Even the trip to the airport was not without its drama. I am thankful just to be alive after the cab ride. Has anyone ever ridden in a New York City cab? I have one thing to say, at least on a roller coaster (no matter how thrilling the ride) you know the cars have a high probability of remaining on the track and not sideswiping or rear-ending each other. After a tour of Harlem (been there, done that on the tour) we finally made our way to the Robert F. Kennedy bridge and headed towards the airport. We were in the lane that would eventually take us to our drop-off point when someone cut in front of our cab driver. I was astounded as he began fussing the other driver for doing what he had been doing since we climbed into his cab and put our lives in his hands (no wonder there are seatbelts in cabs.) The thoughts were whirling through my head and I had a hard time wiping the grin off my face at the audacity of this driver. We finally made it to our terminal and exited what felt like a 45 minutes bumper car ride. I also did not know if the car or the road was falling apart. I was constantly looking for anything I could grab onto to hold on!

            Bags that weighed in at 32 and 35 pounds on check in at the New Orleans airport now weighed in at 49 and 47. I still haven’t figured out how that happened (yeah, right!) Next, on the agenda was security; off with the shoes, off with the jewelry, everything into the bin. Smooth sailing or so you would think. The man examining the bags as they went through the x-ray machine had this very intense look on his face. I looked at the front bins and the back bins and it suddenly dawned on me that he was deciphering the contents of my bag (not always a good thing.)

            As I was emptying my bag (purse) last night, I had to laugh. I kept thinking of that poor man looking at the x-ray of my bag. I pulled out memory sticks, fruit rollups, peanut butter and crackers, maps, coin purse, little black jewelry pouches, Kindle, container of plain crackers (I get motion sickness), flosser, my Princess thermos (water bottle) (which of course, I forgot to empty) various pens, various sized Band aids and wipes (Shout, Wet Ones), glass case, vitamins, medicines, nail emery board, phone, hand lotion, Dramamine, and zip locks for ice (I get motion sickness and need an ice bag on my neck.) (I confess that I no longer wonder why it was so heavy.) It must have been fascinating to try to figure how the eclectic mix made its way into my bag. My carry-on was just as fascinating (and heavy.)

            So, that gets us through security. We boarded the plane, taxied off and were on our way home. Jessica and I both had aisle seats, which meant, we both had two companions. While she was kept busy with a mom and daughter coming to New Orleans for orientation at Tulane University, I had my hands full with two young gentlemen coming to New Orleans for a bachelor’s weekend. Oh, but what a tangled web we weave! They were busy making a list of all the great Cajun dishes they wanted to try while they were visiting the city. What can I say? I am a Southerner and Southerners help. I helped them discover that Jumbalaya did not exist, but Jambalaya does. I told they needed to eat Gumbo, not Jumbo. I recommended Etoufee (crawfish) and alligator. I made sure to mention that a visit to New Orleans would not be complete with a trip to Café du Monde for beignets and coffee. Then, they asked me about “that other dish we eat. The one that we catch in the swamp and eat.” I finally realized they were speaking of Andouille (a sausage in Gumbo.) Believe me when I say that it does NOT swim in the swamp, it swims in Gumbo! How I managed to keep a straight face is beyond me.

            You might think that was the end of the conversation, but I assure you, it wasn’t. It was only the beginning of a memorable conversation. They asked if there were any restaurants that became famous because they survived Hurricane Katrina. I smiled gently and said no. I then gave him the names of a number of well-known restaurants that are well worth the visit. I also told him that the little mom and pop groceries on the corners were excellent establishments at which to find our “local” flavors.

            The conversation went on and as he quickly input all of the information I was imparting into his little gadget, he mentioned that they were going to take a swamp tour. Imagine my delight at hearing that comment (I am sooooooooo devious.) I asked him if they were taking a flat-bottom boat or an airboat tour. He answered that he didn’t know. He then inquired as to what they might expect to see. (It was too easy!) I smiled and told him probably the same things I see on my wharf each day. I told him I lived along a bayou and it was not uncommon to find an alligator sunning itself on the wharf. I just sort of dropped that in. For a moment, I thought he had swallowed his tongue! (Now, I must confess, I am not usually that bad.)

            Obviously, he had not had his fill of conversation, because he continued. He asked where the levees were and if they could see them. (I promise that I did NOT laugh at loud! This poor boy was from the north!) I explained that the levees ran along the Mississippi River and that if he told his cab driver to take them to River Road for their trip into the city, they could ride alongside the levees. I also told him to have his driver take them down St. Charles Avenue so they could see the Garden District. I recommended that they ride the streetcars before they left as well.

            Oh Chere’, the story ain’t over yet! They asked about the French Quarter. I told them they should see Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral and the River Walk. I told them that would be where they found Café Du Monde. Being a Southerner, I warned them against straying too far into some of the less desirable areas. They asked why and I told them they might find trouble. Their eyes got really big and they asked what kind of trouble (they were intrigued.) I looked them straight in the eye and told them the “same kind you have in New York”. They just made it too easy! I did tell them, however, that they should ask their consigner for a map once they were safely ensconced at the hotel.

            I know what all of you are thinking – and I am NOT a bad person! It fell into my lap. What was I supposed to do? Oh! One more thing. I told them they needed to go on a Cemetery Tour (with a guide, of course.) I have only one excuse for my behavior. I get motion sickness and I rode the entire trip back high on Dramamine and with an ice pack on my neck. The plane landed and we parted. I wished the guy well on his wedding and told them I hoped they enjoyed their visit to the great city of New Orleans.

            Next stop was the conveyor belt for luggage. Jessica’s luggage came through on the conveyor belt first and it was evident that the bag had been searched. I found the same evidence when I picked up my bag. Last night as I began to empty out my bag and began the process of organizing the different piles of laundry, I found some interesting things. I always pack my clothing in two gallon freezer Ziploc bags with dryer sheets to keep the clothes fresh smelling and I press the air out to compress the bags for neatness and organization (and to fit more of course. Knowing people are not touching my clothes is a bonus.) I was impressed with the lack of topsy-turvy in my bag. Books that I had packed between the bags to keep nice were carefully placed in a tote I packed in the bag and two little statues I purchased were inserted into one of the Ziploc bags.

            Other than the extremely warm (lots of licks) reception I received from Ryka and Calypso when I got home, that is the end of my story. Hope you enjoyed it.

“Ya’ll come back now!”

My Weekly Musings – Beginning June 9, 2011

          As I posted last week, I traveled this past week to New York City to spend a week with my daughter and son-in-law. My best friend, Jessica, traveled with me. This was her first trip to NYC and we had lots of plans, none of which included me getting motion sickness on the approach into LaGuardia. I haven’t flown in a couple of years and the last time I did, I got motion sickness. I attributed that incident to having been on a ship, and then trains for several days without a chance for my stomach to settle before boarding a plane from Fairbanks, Alaska to Seattle, Washington.

            I was fine this trip until five minutes into a 25 minute approach. The plane rocked and rolled, sped up and slowed down for twenty-five minutes. I was having a conversation with Jessica one minute and staring straight ahead barely moving the next. My only thoughts were find an airport, any airport, and set this sucker down, NOW! To make things worse, the person in front of me reclined their seat. Please, if you are reading this, DO NOT do that to the person sitting behind you. Airplanes are not luxury cars. When you recline your seat, you invade the little, tiny, minute space of the person behind you. RUDE, RUDE, RUDE. She is lucky I did not barf on her. Think of that the next time you recline your seat! That sounds like a public service announcement.

            The New York City cab ride was next. Do I really need to elaborate on that one? I didn’t think so. For those of you, who have never experienced a New York City cab ride, imagine your worst nightmare – twice.

            I spent Friday at school with my daughter, Katie-Beth. She is the music teacher at P.S. 51 Elias Howe School in Times Square. That is always a treat for me. If you had the opportunity to watch her in action, you would say the same. Our day was relatively uneventful until after lunch. The two of us walked about three blocks and ate at the Shake Shack, which she claims has the BEST burgers in all of NYC. We then walked the three blocks back to school and hiked up five flights of stairs only to take part in a school fire drill!

            You might be wondering why it was such a big deal. Well, let me explain. Did you catch that I said we walked three city blocks to the restaurant? This chick is no longer twenty-seven, I am fifty-three (did I just admit that?) Climbing the steep stairs at school after climbing several little hills and street curbs (don’t laugh) and walking three (six) blocks is no picnic for someone who lives where the ground is flat.

            As I said before, I do love watching my daughter teach, especially when she fusses! “Now my friends, you are good but your behavior is not…..” The children at her school are just delightful and asked me at least 100 times if I was Mrs. Traxler’s mom (ya gotta love it.)

            On Saturday, my daughter and son-in-law teach music lessons so Jessica and I set off for the Museum of Natural History. The architecture of the building just makes you want to sit on a bench and gaze. It is beautiful. If you haven’t noticed, I am an architecture buff. I would rather gaze at the outside of a building than I would like to go inside. Since Jessica actually wanted to go into the museum, I tore myself away with the promise that on my next trip to New York, I would walk around the outside.

            Katie-Beth told us there was no way that we would be able to see the entire museum in a day, so we should choose what we wanted to see. Do not ever say this cannot be done. Jessica and I did what I refer to as the “drive-by at the museum”. We stopped and spent time in the sections where we had a deep interest, but we literally left no sight unseen.

            It was captivating to visit the different countries and to observe the families in each exhibit. The parents, usually the father, explained to the children (in their native language) about the pictures and exhibit. From the look on many of their faces, I would imagine that they were sharing their own memories as well. I don’t know if most people take the time to notice all that happens around them, but I am a people observer. I found the exchange between the parent and child more fascinating than the exhibit itself. I have family who have traveled the world and as I perused the different exhibits, I could hear my aunt telling the stories of their travels. The museum is a wonderful place to visit and everyone should go at least once.

            Saturday night we had tickets for the Broadway production of Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre.  It was fabulous! Katie could hardly contain herself. She spent the entire day singing the songs so she could get it out of her system and not break into song during the performance. The performers did a wonderful job and I would love to see the show a second time.

            Sunday resembled the Sex in the City series. There were four of us women having brunch at a trendy little café called Sara Beth’s. We sat around the table enjoying a leisurely brunch and talking about our lives (okay – what stores we were going to after brunch.) In the afternoon, we visited a cute little tea shop called “Alice’s Teacup,” and Tiffany’s (for all of us), The American Girl Doll Shop (for Jessica), Ann Taylor, Dylan’s Candy Shop (for son –in-law), the drug store (for Band-Aids for me – the extent of my shopping), and ended up at Serendipity for dessert. This was after Katie walked us completely around Carnegie Hall searching for the poster that had her name and picture on it. The poster had been on the billboard for a year and just because we wanted to see it, it was gone. My daughter had her picture on one of the billboards at Carnegie Hall!

            I’m not finished, but I’ll conclude this portion here. There were adventures aplenty on my trip, so please stay tuned!

The Mistress’s Revenge by Tamar Cohen

Never have an affair with someone who has less to lose than you do.

The Mistress's Revenge: A Novel


            “Let me start by explaining. I know you might see this as incendiary, malicious, even creepy. Call it what you will. But believe me, nothing is further from the truth. The fact is I’ve been to see a therapist, just as you advised me. so thoughtful of you to think of it. ‘I know you think it’s mumbo jumbo, so did I, but believe me you’ll see the benefits,’ you urged me in your most concerned voice…And how right you were. I’m seeing the benefits already… (the therapist) told me that getting it all “out there” would be a vital part of my recovery process.”

“That’s exactly how she said it: ‘a vital part of your recovery process.’ So what can I do? I don’t want to impede my recovery process…Now, I’m aware you will worry about the risk of other people reading this and it all becoming public, and believe me if I can get this out there without risking exposure and all the problems that will bring, of course I will do it. I have only your best interests at heart. You know that. But I’m sure you understand, having experienced the benefits of therapy yourself, that one has to be totally honest (no, what’s that word they use instead these days? “Transparent.” Totally transparent) no matter how painful. So that’s what I shall be. As part of my recovery process. I can feel it working already. Thank you so much for suggesting it…”

“…turning yourself into whoever you needed to be. What’s that they call it nowadays in recruitment terms? A transferable skill. That’s what it is, being able to parcel up all the separate bits of your life into distinct sections and keep them from touching one another like a TV dinner. There’s a lot to be said for a talent like that…”

About the Book (taken in part from Free Press News):

There’s a fine line between love and hate.

            For five years, Sally and Clive have been lost in a passionate affair. Now he has dumped her to devote himself to his wife and family, and Sally is left in free fall.

It starts with a casual stroll past his house, and popping into the brasserie where his son works. Then Sally starts following Clive’s wife and daughter on Facebook. But that’s all right, isn’t it? These are perfectly normal things to do. Aren’t they?

After the breakup, Sally Islip decides to take stock of their lives. She is left reeling; but with Sally, Clive has made one fundamental mistake: he has chosen someone who has less to lose than he has, and Sally will have her revenge-no matter what the cost to the people around them.

The cat-and-mouse tale that follows is told through the journals Sally’s therapist has told her to keep. Sally, whose mental state is gradually unraveling, stalks Clive online and off, keeping him on an agonizing knife-edge of fear of exposure.

Not since Fatal Attraction has the fallout from an illicit affair been exposed in such a sharp, darkly funny, and disturbing way: The Mistress’s Revenge is a truly exciting fiction debut. After all, who doesn’t know an otherwise sane woman who has gone a little crazy when her heart was broken?

About the Author:

            Tamar Cohen was born in Nigeria in 1963 during one her anthropologist father’s regular sabbaticals abroad, but she grew up mostly in Harrow, England. She has a been a freelance journalist for over twenty years. Over the past four years, she has written eight non-fiction books: The Day I Died, Deadly Divorces, Killer Couples, and 5 more. The Mistress’s Revenge is her first novel. For more information or to post your own anonymous revenge secret, visit

About the website:

            She got her revenge. How would you get yours? not only provides more information about the book and the author, but also includes a place where readers can anonymously post their own revenge secrets. It also has resources for book clubs that include book related drink recipes as well as resources for booksellers.

My Review:

            When a book begins the way this one did, you begin to feel the suspense on the very first page. By the end of the first page, (see quotes above) I could hear eerie music playing in my mind and the beating of my heart in my ears. I was starting to hear the voice of Glenn Close as Sally and Kirk Douglas as Clive. In fact, the more I read, the more I could hear the matter of fact voice of Glenn Close speaking to me. I found myself holding my breath as I was reading so I did not miss anything.

I am going to be overusing the word “wicked” in this review. This book was wicked, wicked, wicked! I only watched Fatal Attraction one time (believe me, that was enough for my VERY active imagination) and it scared me witless. This book did the same thing. It is scary to think of all the ways we can stalk a person today.It used to be if you were stalking someone, you would just follow him or her around and hope they didn’t turn around and see you. Now, we have Face book and Twitter, there are book review sites and blogs, the list is endless. Someone could stalk you and unless the peson reached out and threatened you, you may never find out.

I love to read memoirs and although this book is fiction, it could be a memoir. Sally tells her story in first person as though she were having a conversation with Clive. The story derives from the journals her therapist suggests she start to help her overcome her feelings and put the past to rest. Instead of propelling Sally down the path to recovery, the journals accelerate her voyage into depression and obsession. She becomes consumed with anger and love for Clive. She channels her obsession with him into friendship with his wife and daughter, involving herself in their lives as much as possible, while ignoring her own family.

Sally is so distracted by her obsession and grief that she is blind to the destruction and havoc she is wreaking on her own children and life-partner. Her selfishness is uncanny.

While we rarely hear of a woman breaking off an affair, men suddenly seem to have a need to clear their conscience and appear to have no problem ending an affair. Maybe it is the need to clear their lives of clutter to be free to engage in other affairs. This seems to be Clive’s pattern. The question of does the person breaking off the relationship ever take the time to think of how it will affect the other person who has invested so much of themselves? This book brings to light not only the “upside” if you will, but also the downside of affairs.

I loved that the characters and their spouses were friends. This little tidbit led to the enjoyment of making Clive squirm when forced to attend functions with Siiiillllllyyyyy Saaalllllyyyy, as Sally refers to herself throughout the book. It is eerie to follow Sally’s slip from reality as we see how far she goes to justify her actions to remain in Clive’s life.

It is frightening to see a normally clever and intelligent woman loose her grip on reality. It leaves you wondering if you would react in the same way if you were in her position. Would you lose your grip on reality like Sally does or are you stronger? The mind is a precarious thing and sometimes our actions astonish us.

The book’s ending was a complete surprise and I have to admit that I jumped to the end at one point. I am ashamed to admit I did that (I had finally broken the habit) but after doing so, I had to finish the book to see how the ending came about.

I have toyed with the idea of writing my memoir but I am not good at dialogue. This book has given me an idea of how to write it. Sally journals her thoughts and her stories and therefore does not need actual dialogue; and this is the way I write. I think it is time for me to finish this review and begin my own story. Thanks Tamar for not only a tantalizing book but for the writing lesson it revealed to me.

Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation – monetary or in kind – has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the author, publisher, or PR firm.

The book is available for purchase at the following locations:
The Book Depository
Barnes and Noble

My Weekly Musings – Beginning June 1, 2011

            Wednesday/Thursday: My day began with trying to find someone to help me sort out a Quickbooks problem. There used to not be one, and then there was (thanks, Lucy.) One day my monthly profit and loss sheets were running and the next day they were not. I am an introvert. I do not like calling people on the phone (especially if I do not know them.) I did not actually make a phone call – yet. I was able to email someone in the area that I found on the Quickbooks webpage that is a certified Quickbooks instructor. I hope that they will email back. That will ease the pain while easing me into a conversation with a complete stranger.

It is the end of the school year and it seems as though everyone is having some type of graduation: high schools, kindergarten, pre-schools, pre-K, and junior high. What happened to the days where there was ONE graduation and it really meant something; well sometimes two, high school, and college? And, with graduation, come the requisite pictures and comments in the local newspaper. (Thank goodness for graduations!)

Keep in mind that I live way down in South Louisiana and then again, in South Lafourche (parish.) The last little school at the southern tip of the parish had Pre-K graduation. Of course, the local newspaper covered it. The reporter wrote about how long a journey these little graduates have in front of them until they finally reach what will be for some of them, their last graduation (from high school.) She even interviewed several of them to find out what they wanted to be after completing this educational journey.

One child told her he wanted to sell some stuff like his dad does. Another child stated that he did not want to be nothing like his dad (a good start to this article.) I think any smart person would have stopped asking questions at this point; but on the brave soul went. One little girl wanted to be an author and write about family life. Another little girl wanted to be an artist and a princess and draw magical things about being a princess (what little girl doesn’t have this dream?) A little boy said he wanted to be an astronaut and a paleontologist, who searches for skeletal remains of dinosaurs. Another little boy said he wanted to be a computer guy. All of these children were mentioned by name (you will realize where I’m going in a second.) I don’t know about everyone else, but I thought these little four-year-olds had some notable ambitions.

The best answer of all came from a little girl whose mother, I am sure, paid the newspaper lots of money not to print her name (I would have taken out a loan if needed.) This little girl said, “I tink I wanna be-uh…mmm…uuh…a lady dat cun dance at da bar. I saw movie and I liked it.” Now, how much money is too much money to keep your (not your child’s) identity a secret?! That’s what I thought!!

Although that was hard to top, my life went back to being mundane. Our parish is hiring a company to do a Comprehensive Plan and as a Planning Commission member, I attended the interview process; three companies are vying for the position. Our parish president was there, a couple of Planning Commission members were there and the interviewing board along with about five concerned citizens (the proceedings were open to the public.) My question is where were all of our Parish Council members? You would think that this would be a priority. Obviously not.

The process was quite interesting. All three companies vying for the position gave detailed plans of how they would help us (the parish) set up a comprehensive plan and on how to implement said plan. It was like watching adult college students give classroom presentations. Some were more prepared than others were (as you might expect.) Some had more of a handle on the diversity of our parish than others. I, who have an attention deficit, actually sat there and listened (and paid attention) so they must have been doing something right.

I made a trip to the bookstore. That was an adventure. I was looking for an Eyewitness Travel book on New York City and Nova Scotia. The clerk helping me, bless her little dumb heart, asked me in what country was Nova Scotia located. I hope she didn’t notice the look that I could not keep off my face. Now, there are some countries that I may have a little difficulty in pinpointing off the top of my head, but Canada? I couldn’t help myself. By the time that I left, she not only knew where Nova Scotia was located, but most of the states as well. I also helped three customers. Maybe I should have asked for a commission or at least a discount.

By the way, if you are looking for a good travel book, try the Eyewitness Travel series. There are books for countries and states and cities, etc. and they all contain maps.

I actually went to the bookstore first. It is hot here in South Louisiana already. It was over 90 degrees with humidity in the thousands (look-when you hit a certain percent, it just doesn’t compute anymore!) I was sitting at a traffic light desperately waiting for my suburban to cool off (this would be the time to have a little cooper) and finally I had to start peeling off the clothes (that’s what everyone around me seemed to thinking too, but they were still gawking.) I thought I would run errands on my way to the meeting and didn’t realize how unbearably hot a jacket can be. I stopped at shedding the jacket. I don’t know why all the looks were coming my way. Compared to most of the people I onserved walking around, I was still fully clothed. I could have taken off a lot more and still had more clothes left on than they did.

All of that and I still did not get the house mopped or dusted! That may not happen today either because my husband asked me to make cookies for Saturday (tomorrow.) I make sugar cookies and decorate them. He wants boat cookies. I have a sailboat cookie cutter so that is what he is getting, not a trawl boat, but a sailboat. Sometimes, you just have to compromise.

It is so hot and we have not had rain in so long that if you sneeze, the grass thanks you.

Monday: Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…my whole week has been turned around and is now unorganized. I spent an hour with my calendar scheduling my week (that’s how I like it.) I like a picture of my week and all the events. Hubby was inspecting a house where the tennant was a forced vacate (eviction, asked to leave.) When he did the exit walk-thru with the ex-tenant, he noticed that the refrigerator was off. Important lesson- when a tenant, who is normally smart mouth and never at a loss for words, suddenly starts stuttering, it’s a good sign they are lying. Second important lesson – read the previous line again.

Hubby went back in the house later and started making a detail list of repairs needed before another tenant could move in. He was curious about the refrigerator and checked it again. It was still off so he went to check the breaker box. He found the tenant had flipped the breaker to the fridge. Conclusion – refrigerator was not working and you cannot trust a sneaky tenant.

What does this have to do with my week? I am the one who has to look up serial numbers and model numbers and call repair services and schedule said repairs; which reminds me, I forgot to call the repair person! If my head wasn’t attached! Then, the hood went out in one of the houses and the garbage men have not picked up the garbage. Having rental properties is not all it’s cracked up to be. I just want to be a princess!

Tuesday: I may have to get one of those awful keyboards that are all one piece that make it impossible to type on or not drink milk at the computer anymore. I just knocked over my bottle of milk Then, I couldn’t figure out how to get the milk out of the keyboard. I finally thought about paper towel being absorbent and thought that would work. It did some, but then, I got the ingenious idea to use the letter opener to scoot it between the keys to absorb the milk just sitting there mocking me. It worked, thank goodness, but what a mess!

Well, today is Wednesday and I leave for New York tomorrow. Am I packed? No. Am I anywhere near getting to that stage? No. So, why am I still sitting here writing? I dunno. Actually, I do. I just had to sit and write to put something down on paper. All you writers out there know what I mean. You have to write, even if it is the grocery list.

I am a very organized person so packing will only take me about a half an hour. We like to hop in the car and leave at a moment’s notice so I keep the necessities packed and just have to add clothes. I guess I am procrastinating a bit because the airport search thing has me a little concerned. I do not like anyone in my space that has not been invited and the thought of someone patting me down has me more than a little freaked out. I would rather do that x-ray thing rather than someone even think of touching me. I’ve thought about doing a month of novenas so it doesn’t happen, but starting today is a little too late.

I am going to miss my dogs terribly. I can call my husband so while I’ll miss him too, at least I can talk to him. I wonder if he’ll put the phone on speaker so I can talk to my dogs. Probably not. I have sisters who will do that for me, but they live pretty far from me. Wonder if I could pay some neighborhood kid?

There was a lot more that happened during my week, but do you really want to hear how I called the Board of Health on the person who opened up a meat market down the street next door and who likes to leave the dumpster of rotting, stinking, smelly, foul-smelling, reeking, putrid, rank, malodorous, fetid, nauseating smelling left over pieces right across from my house? I didn’t think so. I am sure you would not want to hear how many times I have called over the last three years either. I think the person I spoke with this time is actually going to make things happen. Especially since another neighbor is also complaining.

I hope everyone had a wonderful past week and will have a wonderful coming week. I’ll be in New York City visiting with my daughter. She asked me to bake some of my choco-chocolate chip cookies for her so I need to stop writing, post, and get busy!

My Weekly Musings – Beginning May 26, 2011

Things around our house have pretty much been the same since trawling season began. My husband gets up at 2 a.m. (yeah – ya got that right) and heads out to the boat to load up ice chests for the catch during the day. Unfortunately, I am woken up at that time as well because he has a habit of not setting his alarm correctly and I have to set mine as a backup. I am beginning to resemble an old hag with the bags under my eyes from interrupted sleep. Did I mention that I don’t do interrupted sleep very well? I am talking about alligator bags and not the pretty ones you buy in the store!

Hubby took what he refers to as the “geriatric” group (a group of older men he is friends with) trawling! What’s that movie? Grumpy Old Men! To be a fish in the sea today! He’s letting a blind friend drive the boat. Mr. Nick is cool. We’ve picked him up on foggy mornings and offered to let him drive because no one else could see either.  He may take us up on our offer one day. Ummmmmmmm.

My husband loves trawling season. He is bone tired by the end of the day, but happy as a clam so I guess I can’t complain. Fortunately, at this point in the season, our freezers are full so he gives most of the catch away. He has been keeping the small shrimp, boiling, and drying it. I’ve mentioned this before and have concluded I may need to explain it a little further (for you Northerners and Easterners and Westerners.) I do not want anyone to have the idea that I have a pantry full of dried shrimp.

First of all, it would stink (in my opinion) to high heaven as they say; and second, well, I don’t know a second other than it stinks (in my opinion.) I hate coconut but definitely prefer a coconut kiss as opposed to a dried shrimp kiss. That’s how bad it smells. To digress a little (well, a lot) we went on vacation and I got a whiff of something VERY yucky and I could not for the life of me figure out what it was. I should have looked at my husband to begin with. He had this stupid little grin on his face and I knew that something was up (he knows I hate the smell, especially in a closed car!)

First of all, (yes, another first) he snuck the bag on vacation, and second (this time there is a second) he quietly opened his little ziplock of putrid smell and put it in his mouth. That particular trip we were on our way to pick up our daughter in Georgia. The first stop we made was at a candy shop for him to load up on hard candy. He was on a sugar high for the rest of the trip and a little crazy (everyone in the car agreed, AND in my opinion.)

Back to the present (well, last week). My husband loves his dried shrimp. He also loves to give it away (yep – lots of people love that stuff around here.) He is also very proud of his little establishment on the back patio where he has set himself up for drying shrimp. He loves spending time on the back patio playing in his shrimp. He is so funny. The dogs just sit there waiting for accidental (and I mean accidental) drops of shrimp. Tongues hanging out and tails a waggin’.

I got sidetracked (an annoying habit or so I’m told) and forgot to explain dried shrimp. This is not the shrimp we freeze (fresh) and the two are not to be confused. To dry shrimp, you first boil them in crab boil seasonings with lots of salt. Hubby has this thing down to a science (and he’s a proud Cajun.) Once the shrimp are cooked, he spreads them out in the sun (high up so the dogs cannot reach) and lets them dry. They become all dried and shriveled. Then, he puts them in a little sack (my sewing contribution) and beats the hell out of them (or pretends it is someone he is aggravated with.) Once the beating (slapping around on a hard surface) is complete, he transfers it to a sifter he made with screen. The screen is just large enough that the dried shell falls through leaving the shrimp behind. He looks like someone panning for gold (which he considers dried shrimp to be) when he does this task. He then bags the shrimp, labels it, and sits back and smiles at his accomplishment. Oh! He also brags again, about how he has it down to a science.

I hosted a giveaway of the book, “Cruelty to Innocents: The 911 Abductions” which by the way, is a great suspense book. The authors even posted on my blog.

My blog received three different awards. That was an honor. It is always nice to know that someone appreciates the work you put into writing the blog. The only thing is I received all three within one week’s time; so that probably means my blog may go unnoticed for a long time. Actually, that may be good. I had a difficult time coming up with seven facts I wanted to share. I even used the same seven each time. Any more awards and I may have to really dig deep and start revealing things I do not want to reveal.

I am on our parish’s (I live in Louisiana) Planning Commission. We had a meeting this past Thursday night. Thought we’d have to referee a little (big) misunderstanding (maybe not so misunderstood) between a few people. The meeting ended peacefully.

Next week (the 9th) Jessica (BFF) and I fly out to New York to visit with Katie-Beth (daughter) and Jude (son-in-law) for a week. Jessica has been planning her wardrobe for two months now! It is so funny. I am just going to throw seven pairs of identical jeans and seven white shirts (not identical. (Although why people cannot see the difference is beyond me) in a bag along with shampoo and makeup and be good to go.) I may even live dangerously and throw in a couple of shirts of color! I just love my jeans and white ironed shirts. I am always in the mood to wear white. She laughs at me for doing that. I promise you that each shirt is different. They are just all white.

We were talking the other day about what we were packing and when I started to tell her my list, and actually said that I might pack a couple of colored shirts, the smartass ended my sentence with “and seven white shirts!” Some people know me too well. At least if I get lost, she’ll remember what I was wearing in order to give the police a description! There is some logic to my madness (just because no one else sees it doesn’t make it not so.)

When I relayed the conversation to another good friend, as she always does, she made me feel perfectly normal. She told me (and I quote) “Gene Pressman, the head of Barney’s in New York, wears only black jeans or slacks and pressed white shirts. Everything identical. When I asked what was up with that, he said that he can’t be bothered with trying to figure out his clothes every day. He found something he liked. That’s it. End of story. Time saving. And now a signature look. I cracked up. He’s one of the smartest guys I know. And you are in that league too!” And you can take it to the bank, if B says it, it’s true (that’s all I’m saying.)

I have also been practicing wearing shoes all day long (yep, that’s what I say.) I never went barefoot in my life, and then I moved to the country. Now, I rarely put shoes on my feet. I knew there is no way I could walk the streets of New York City barefoot so I had no choice.

Then, I had myself a little chuckle today. Hurricane predictions came out. We are having hurricanes this year. A meteorologist genius told us so. My question is, “Ya think?” We have hurricanes every year. We know there are going to be hurricanes. They predict the number of hurricanes every year; and when the predictions do not live up to or exceed their expectations they change their predictions. I don’t know about everyone else, but that sounds a little strange in my world. I have an idea. Let’s just predict that this hurricane season will no doubt follow the preceding years and there is always the chance that one or two of these will be Cat 3-4. That is a pretty accurate prediction and one that will not have to be revisted. And, that’s the weather according to Lucy.

Next on this agenda are my dogs. What is up with them? If you follow my blog, you know that I have German Shepherds, a 4 month old and a 3 year old. We only need one bone or one ball or one fill-in-the-blank here because they only want what the other has, even their food. When my husband feeds them, he locks Ryka in the kennel with her food (because she is more likely to leave and chase something) and he puts Calypso outside the gate with her bowl. He then turns and walks away and they eat.

Now, it’s not that easy for me. I like to sit there with them while they eat and visit (just call me the dog lady. There’s a cat lady so why not?) I decided (after hubby reminded me enough times that when we go on vacation, the person coming to feed them just might not want to sit and visit) that I would try his method. I think he’s fibbing (my opinion) because Calypso turned and walked away with me while Ryka sat on the steps watching me from inside the kennel. They did not start eating. See what I mean?

Therefore, this afternoon, I was back to visiting with them while they ate. I guess I digressed again there, my apologies. The two stinkers looked at their bowls, then looked at each other, and then looked at me. Then, as if by some unspoken telepathy going on between them, they walked over to the other’s bowl and started eating. This would not be a bad thing (because they ate) except that Calypso is eating puppy food and Ryka is eating big girl food. I have tried every combination I can think of to remedy this and nothing works. I have mixed Ryka’s food half-and-half. I have sprinkled big girl food on Calypso’s food. I have given Ryka her own bowl of puppy chow in the mornings. I have tried switching the bowls part way through feeding. This works sometimes but it is not the answer. I guess if that is the only dilemma I have, I’m doing pretty good.

I did come up with a semi-solution to Calypso’s tail chasing escapades. I have started making her sit in the swing with me. It works for a while, then the temptation is too great and she wants down. That damn tail just keeps following her and she doesn’t know what to do with it. Maybe if I hang a bell on it………….