New things in 2018 and ideas for the future – starting a YouTube channel and working out the kinks

I’d been talking about starting a YouTube channel for about six months, but I was also putting it off because I didn’t know much about how to do it.

Of course, anyone young will laugh at my procrastination (and they did!) because it isn’t hard to set up a channel. The hard part is getting used to seeing yourself as others see you. Do I really look like that? Is my voice really that twangy?

So starting a YouTube channel has not been a technical challenge, although I’m still learning how to edit, enter good tags and share my links. And for some reason, I’m in YouTube’s comedy category which may actually be the right place for me at the moment!

The end of 2018 was a time to get the channel going and now I have a lot of ideas for 2019, including taking more field trips and splicing in some guest appearances, if I can figure that out. I hope you will tune in.

Thank you to those who have supported me as I enter the unknown! If you’re interested in watching my flawed and bumpy YouTube launch, here are the links to my 2018 videos:

Something new for Book Club Mom – Book Talk on YouTube!

Book Club Mom’s Power Rankings – Top 10 Favorite Books!

My Kindle and other technology

Books I own but haven’t read

I climbed a “mountain” to tell you this!

College books, are you still hanging on to them?

Do you have a YouTube channel? What has been your biggest challenge? Add your link in the comments and I will follow.

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Grammar check – a year of trying to get it right!

Image: Pixabay

Whether we’re speaking or writing, we sometimes need a little help. Here are a few of the rules that trip me up:

he/she?  his/her?  or they/their?

Have you ever been stuck in an awkward sentence, not knowing which pronoun to use?  Do you feel forced to use the clunky “he/she” or “his/her” option when all you really want to do is replace it with a “they or their” and  move on?

assure/ensure/insure, further/farther and a little punctuation

A few tricks to help you pick the correct word.

the lowdown on lay and lie

Go lie down, lay that on the table, let sleeping dogs lie. I’m not going to lie, the rules for using lay and lie are very complicated. It’s easy to get them wrong, so let’s lay down the law and get it right!

bad or badly?

Do you feel bad or badly? Here’s the rule to help you remember!

Are you using those Latin phrases correctly?

Have you ever used a Latin phrase and wondered if you were using it correctly? I have. I don’t think I’m the only one to be a little off with my usage.

Don’t make these embarrassing mistakes!

Many common phrases have morphed into something else. Here are a few that will make you laugh!

Image: Pixabay

These rules are just the tip of my grammar and writing ignorance. But sometimes it’s okay to break the rules. In fact, deliberately saying or writing something the wrong way often makes a bigger impact. More to come on that in 2019!

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Who’s That Indie Author? 2018 Profiles

Whether you’re looking for inspiration or for your next great read, consider these indie authors and the books they have published. The indie and self-published market is loaded with talent and these authors are often busy working full-time and writing at night and on weekends. In addition, they face the time-consuming challenge of promoting their books in person, on their websites and on social media. So say hello to these hard-working writers, click on the links and pay them a visit – they will be glad to meet you!

2018 Indie Authors
(in order of appearance)


G.M. Barlean
mainstream fiction, suspense, cozy mystery, short fiction



Brysen Mann
psychological thrillers, mystery, suspense, science fiction


Annika Perry
contemporary fiction, short fiction


Diana Tarant Schmidt
speculative fiction


Connie Lacy
young adult, historical fiction, magical realism, climate fiction


K.C. Tansley
young adult time travel mysteries


Geoffrey M. Cooper
medical thriller


Martha Miller
travel memoir


Janice Spina
children’s, middle-grade, 18+, mysteries, thrillers, paranorm


Michelle Burke and Lilamani de Silva
nonfiction – motivational, self help


N.A. Granger
cozy mystery


Janice J. Richardson
nonfiction, fiction (mystery)


David Liscio
crime fiction


Michelle Scott
supernatural thriller and romance


Gigi Sedlmayer
children’s fiction


Alethea Kehas
fantasy and memoir


Robbie Cheadle
children’s fiction, poetry and supernatural/horror for adults


Karen Hugg
literary mystery

Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email for a bio template and other details.

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Blog views and other obsessions – realistic blogging goals during the holidays


If you’re frustrated about having no time to blog, read blogs, comment, tweet and post on Facebook during the holiday season, relax. Holidays and other busy times in our lives have to take precedence over writing a clever post or spending a lot of time on other social media.

I say that but do I feel it? Ha! Not exactly! I had good intentions about reading, commenting, sharing and posting more this past week, but they all went out the window when I faced the madness of holiday preparations. And, because I’m in the habit of checking my stats all the time, it was hard to watch. I got a little salty mid-week, thinking about it, but why? I can’t explain it fully, but…

Here’s my statement of denial: I think I have a good relationship with my blog and the fact that I’m checking on WordPress and other social media is more because of a desire to interact with my blogging and cyber friends. It’s also a way to de-stress, so being able to walk the line between the real world and the blogging world is a positive thing. People who blog know this. Other people may think we’re a little bit crazy!

Image: Piixabay

But time is limited, especially now. And, as for stats, I know there’s a lot of end-of-year data out there, but you just have to let it go for the next week and not worry about how you measure up.

What do you do with your blog during the holidays? Do you take a vacation from it?

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What’s That Book? The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

TitleThe Great Alone

Author:  Kristin Hannah

Genre: Popular fiction

Rating:  4 stars

What’s it about?  A story about a family of three who, in an effort to start fresh, move from Seattle to the open space of Kaneq, Alaska. Cora and Ernt Allbright had been happily married in the 1960s, but everything changed after Ernt returned from service in Vietnam. A prisoner of war for six years, Ernt came home with many demons. When Ernt learns he has inherited land in Kaneq from a war buddy who was killed in service, Alaska sounds like a perfect escape. A mish-mash of settlers in Kaneq form a divided community. Many are homesteaders from several generations back and many are there to escape, including the survivalist clan of Ernt’s buddy. The brief summer in Kaneq soon gives way to an unrelenting winter. And the shortened days reveal an even greater darkness inside the Allbright cabin.

It’s hard enough to adjust to Ernt’s depression and excessive drinking, but Cora has been hiding something much worse. The story is told from the perspective of their thirteen-year-old daughter, Leni, who tries to reconcile her love for her father with the man he is now.

The story starts in 1974 and finishes in the present, describing the many challenges and heart breaking decisions the Allbrights must make.

How did you hear about it?  My book club friend selected it for our December read.

Closing comments:  I enjoyed reading about Alaska and how people survive in such a difficult place. The author did a great job describing both the beauty and the danger of living in Kaneq. Survival is a full-time job there and the Allbrights meet many people who are willing to help.

Despite its 400 plus pages, this is a fast read. Although I enjoyed the story and descriptions, the characters are somewhat stereotypical, making the book a light version of an important time period. A perfectly tied-up finish will make some readers happy and will make others think the ending is unrealistic.

Contributor:  Ginette 😉


Have you read something good?  Want to talk about it?
Consider being a contributor to What’s That Book.

Email Book Club Mom at for information.

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Friday Fiction – A Man and His Phone – an update and a recap

I’ve been meaning to write a new chapter of A Man and His Phone, but this is a crazy time of the year and I haven’t had the proper time to make it happen. I want to see what’s going to happen to Jane, Chris and Adrienne as much as you do! 😉

Image: Wikimedia Commons

So instead of rushing, I am going to take a break for the next few weeks and start back up with new chapters in January. Who knows, maybe Chris will get a new iPhone for Christmas!

In the meantime, if you’d like to read some of the earlier chapters, you can check them out here.

Thank you to everyone who has been reading my little stories – they’re meant to be fun, a little cheesy and maybe they remind you of some of the minefields of your own dating years!

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Audiobook: Have a Nice Day by Billy Crystal and Quinton Peeples

Audiobook: Have a Nice Day
Billy Crystal and Quinton Peeples
with Annette Bening, Dick Cavett,
Billy Crystal and Kevin Kline

A live multi-cast script reading captured over two evenings in October of 2018
at Audible’s Minetta Lane Theatre in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village


With so much to do lately, it’s nice to find something fun and easy. Listening to this terrific Audible Audiobook made my day!

First I want to thank Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies for linking me up with this Audible audiobook. She has a great blog about books, DVDs and TV series and it’s one of my favorites. I saw her review of Have a Nice Day this week (take a look here) and knew it would be perfect for a car trip I was taking the next day.

Thank you again, Lisa – it was great!

Have a Nice Day is a play, but this version is a live script-reading that was held earlier this fall in New York. In addition to the headliners, the cast is full of stars, including Rachel Dratch and Darrell Hammond.

Dick Cavett is the narrator and Kevin Kline plays President David Murray, who has just received a visit from the Angel of Death, played by Billy Crystal. Murray learns that this is his day to die and he makes a deal with the Angel to give him until one second before midnight so he can finish strong. What to do? Will he go to his wife, Katherine, played by Annette Bening, his teenage daughter who’s about to graduate high school, or will he continue to lobby against a pipeline bill? In the rush to make sense of the day, Murray struggles with his decisions.

I wondered if this story would be loaded with political commentary. It is not – thank goodness!

Funny and moving, with a feel-good finish, Have a Nice Day is a great way to make a brief escape from the holiday season and the current world. It’s a quick listen and is currently available on Amazon Audible. You can check out how to download it here.

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On YouTube today – college books, are you still hanging on to them?

Hey Everybody!

Today on YouTube I’m talking about three college books I’ve been hanging onto since the 1980s. Take a look here:

Do you have any of your college books?

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Barry on HBO

I love when I find something great to watch and, when my work friend recommended Barry on HBO, I immediately checked it out from the library and watched the entire Season 1, in yes, I admit it, full binge-mode. There are eight thirty-minute episodes, so that’s totally doable.

Barry is a dark comedy about a depressed hitman from the Midwest, who flies to Los Angeles for his next “job.” When he follows his mark into an acting class, he discovers a new calling, but breaking free from the hitman profession is harder than he thought.

The series premiered in March 2018 and is written by Alec Berg and Bill Hader. Hader stars as Barry Berkman, Stephen Root as Fuches (his partner), Henry Winkler as Gene Cousineau (the acting teacher) and Sarah Goldberg as Sally Reed.

Barry won two Primetime Emmy Awards, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for Hader and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Winkler. All the actors do a fantastic job, especially these two. I especially liked Hader as Barry. The show isn’t all comedy and there are many scenes, especially later in the season, in which Hader realistically expresses Barry’s more complex and serious side. HBO has renewed the series for a second season and I can’t wait!

Click here to visit HBO to learn more about Barry and watch the first episode for free.

Have you watched anything binge-worthy lately? Leave a comment and tell me what other great shows are out there!

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Blue Monday by Nicci French

Blue Monday
Nicci French


Before I tell you why I loved this terrific book, I want to give you a little background about the novel and the authors. Published in 2011 and set in London, Blue Monday is the first in a series of eight mystery thrillers featuring Frieda Klein, a highly regarded psychoanalyst who, in this story, becomes entangled in a kidnapping investigation. Nicci French is the pseudonym for married suspense writers, Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. Together they have written over twenty books. You can find out more about Nicci French and the Frieda Klein series here.

Blue Monday’s story begins with Alan Dekker, one of Klein’s patients, who is tormented by disturbing recurring dreams of a young boy. Dekker is desperate to have a son of his own and the boy in his dreams eerily resembles recently kidnapped five-year-old Matthew Faraday. What’s the connection?

“This is the place where you’re allowed to say anything. There are no limits,” she tells Dekker. But is that really the case? In no time, Frieda finds herself in the middle of the investigation, led by Chief Inspector Malcolm Karlsson. He wonders if Matthew’s disappearance is related to a similar kidnapping twenty years earlier. A concrete evidence detective, he must then rely on Klein’s unconventional methods, and giving into her ideas may take them down the wrong path.

Getting to know Klein is not an easy task. Only happy when in control, professionally and personally, she relies on long late-night walks through deserted London neighborhoods to clear her head. Readers get to know her as she manages relationships with several secondary characters, including Sandy, a new love interest who wants a bigger commitment.

One of the things I enjoyed about Blue Monday is that it is a character-driven mystery. The authors’ characters are both interesting and complex, with their own sets of problems. They give the reader plenty to think about as they come into contact with what I’ll call the authors’ mood influencers: the dark London streets, deserted neighborhoods, gray fog and mist, all connected by the various rivers that run into and through the River Thames. In addition, I especially liked reading about Klein’s apartment, a safe spot she fiercely protects against intrusion.

I won’t spoil the story by revealing the authors’ clever and changing plot development. Twists and turns to the very last pages make Blue Monday a highly entertaining book. Some hanging details and a whopper development at the finish set the scene for the next book, Tuesday’s Gone. I’m looking forward to working my way through this series.

I recommend Blue Monday to readers who enjoy interesting characters and the challenge of unraveling a smart mystery.

And what’s the meaning behind the book’s title, Blue Monday? It “is about beginnings but also about the difficulty of beginning, its pains and regrets and fears. It also happens to be the title of two (very different) great songs—by Fats Domino and New Order,” explain the authors. (Read the full interview at

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