father

365 Challenge: Day 286 – Break

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Break: interruption (in continuity, sequence, or course) — as ‘Father Figure’ was sent to beta readers

break

 

I submitted the second draft of ‘Father Figure’ to the beta reader team last night. I asked for feedback in three (3) weeks by January 11, 2018, which gives me a break from writing and editing. It is much needed, as my head is a pile of goo right now. I plan to take the week off between the holidays, only to write the 365 Daily Challenge posts, and to read a few books. I will start drafting the 2018 marketing plan for Watching Glass Shatter right after the new year, then dive into the short story collection, beginning with Ethan.

I’ve updated the draft/tentative book summary for Father Figure below. My second novel has ~115K words (20% longer than Glass) and stands at 318 pages, which is funny, as that’s my birth date. It’s broken into 32 chapters with two primary characters and timelines. It’s contemporary fiction, centered around family drama, with a few elements of romance, mystery and suspense. It also has a relatively sizable diversity theme, and potentially geared towards young adults, but that’s not the primary focus. I’m still deciding how I feel about it… some moments, I think it’s 90% done and just requires a bit of input on a few open items. Other times, I am curious if it should be two separate books with more intensity added to separate the two story-lines. I look forward to the break and hearing all the beta reader thoughts. Hopefully it sounds intriguing! Many thanks to the team reading this draft.

Summary of Father Figure (UPDATED)

Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town, and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly. Struggling to survive in a claustrophobic, unforgiving world, they embark on a journey to overcome all the pain, disappointment, and horror of their experiences. Through alternating chapters set two decades apart, each girl’s plight unfolds revealing the parallels between their lives and the unavoidable collision that is bound to happen. In an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense, fate intervenes forcing someone to make a dreadful decision that will leave permanent scars.

Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown, connect with others, and fall in love. Contemplating an impending loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia suffers devastating, life-altering tragedies. No matter where she turns, someone or something always steals her hope of finding happiness and protection.

Brianna Porter, a sassy yet angst-ridden NYC teenager, yearns to determine her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. All the confusion stems from desperately needing to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, but an unexpected discovery of a journal leads Brianna to a shocking revelation about her missing parent. Unfortunately, by casting the net to find him, she’s unleashed a tragic history that was meant to stay buried and might now completely change everyone’s futures.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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My Novel: Father Figure (Week 5 – Friday, August 4th, 2017)

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Shock accompanied my mouth as it dropped to the floor today when realizing it was Friday and another week had passed since our last Father Figure update. Are we seriously finishing the fifth week since I began writing this new novel? It must be true or I wouldn’t be writing up this post, so here we go with the weekly status:

writer

Status:  Friday, August 5, 2017 – Week #5

  • Research
    • I unfortunately avoided this again because I was heavily involved in editing and writing. It’s being pushed out another week. No real impact to the overall schedule.
  • Chapters 1 thru 3
    • I edited these chapters, cleaning up grammatical issues, passive voice, repetitions and missing dialogue tags.
    • It reads well, but I am not ready to share with with any beta readers at this point. I believe some of it might move to a later chapter and/or be pulled as background simply for me to know while writing future content.
    • Contains 23K words on 70 pages (way too long)
  • Chapters 4 thru 6
    • I wrote all 3 chapters this week, as per the plan and the outline.
    • I edited all three chapters on Friday afternoon similarly to the first few chapters, as noted above. They are in decent condition, but I’m not thoroughly happy with where they ended up. It needs a few days to idle before I re-read them and decide on the appropriate alterations.
    • Contains 13K words on 45 pages (about right)

 

 Next Steps: Plan for Week #6

  • Complete the research for setting locations and character personalities to incorporate very specific facts into the detailed descriptions and scenes
  • Write chapters 7 thru 9 with a target to end up in total at ~ 135 pages & 36K words
    • At this point, I’ll be 1/3 complete with a first draft
    • At that rate, with 7 more weeks to finish the remaining 2/3, a first draft will be ready by early October. I’m thinking I might have to pull this forward as I leave mid-September for a two-week vacation. I’d like a full draft completed beforehand, which means I need to start writing 4 chapters per week.
  • Edit Chapter 4 thru 6 to match tone and voice of earlier chapters

 

What’s on the author’s mind?

  • Who will beta read the first 3 chapters in late August? I’m searching for 4 people, as I have someone who beta read the first book and is formidable when calling me out for less than stellar writing.
  • Chapters 1 thru 3 are too long for the story I am telling. It’s important to capture readers’ attention by getting to the conflict and drama by ~ 15% into the book. My outline planned for that to happen in Chapter 5 and 6, which I’ve just completed; however, at this rate, the book would be 25% longer than planned due to my extra-wordiness. I’ve got a few options to mull over, but I think it will require a little bit of each of these items:
    • Do nothing except increase the planned total page and word count
    • Determine what needs to be cut as it was only initially included to help me flush out characters and relationships
    • Move a few small scenes and content to later chapters as I write future conflicts
  • I love these characters more than I had last week. Amalia has so much more depth than I had originally felt inspired to create within her. I Brianna has a wicked charm and sass about her, but I think it will resonate with those who enjoy the tone in my 365 posts.
  • I’m still a child, as whenever I reread the intimate scenes, I giggle. I can’t help it when I say certain words that don’t ordinarily come up in conversation. I might not make it through this exercise if I have to talk about cleavage anymore…

Not that I am the smartest, but the clip was too funny!

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Summary of Father Figure (only read if you’re new to the book)

  • Amalia Graeme, sheltered and abused for most her life in Mississippi, longs to escape her difficult family and small hometown in 1984. When her older brother returns with his best friend, Amalia is tempted to have her first experience with a boy that summer. As they head off to college for her first year and his senior year, she begins to learn about life and love, battling her loss of innocence with the attraction she’s developed to an older professor. After she suffers a few personal tragedies, Amalia is forced to head back home, uncertain how to handle the permanent impacts on her life and future. No matter where she turns, someone or something always takes away her possibility of hope.
  • Brianna Porter is desperate to discover the purpose of her life, develop confidence in who she is, accept the consequences of who she has fallen in love with, and discover her father’s identity. Set twenty years in the future in New York City, there’s a connection between these two women’s stories that is about to be discovered. As Brianna stumbles upon her mother’s old journal, she learns a shocking secret about her father, rocked by a truth that could completely change the future. It may be too late to deal with the impacts of unleashing a history that was meant to stay buried for many reasons. When it leads to someone’s death, Brianna must come to terms with the choices she’s made and what is left of her own future.

 

About Me
I am a writer. I am currently searching for an agent and looking at independent publishing options for my first book, Watching a Glass Shatter. To see more, please check out the website for this novel where you will find the first 3 chapters, character bios and sample quotes.

I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to finish it in December, 2017. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

My Novel: Father Figure (Week 4 – Friday, July 28th, 2017)

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Last time we chatted, I’d just finished week #3’s update for Father Figure, the new novel I began writing earlier this month. For a summary of the novel, scroll to the bottom of the post. We have now arrived at the end of week #4 – and I cannot believe almost an entire month has occurred since I began this book; status follows below:

writer

Status:  Friday, July 28, 2017 – Week #4

  • Research Noted Last Week
    • Epic Fail! But that’s OK. I researched a few facts to keep myself pacing properly in the first few chapters, but I put off the remainder until next week because…
  • Writing Chapters 1 thru 3
    • Actually happened… well, 1 thru 2.75. I’m debating the end of the chapter.
    • 17K words, 53 pages
    • It’s too long, there’s a bit of fluff, and some will probably move to another chapter. But I expected 3500 words on average per chapter, which means I should have ended up at roughly 10K words this week. I’m 7k words ahead, which makes up for missing the research portions.

 

 

Next Steps: Plan for Week #5

  • Complete the research for the setting locations and character personalities to incorporate very specific facts into the detailed descriptions and scenes
  • Write chapters 4 thru 6 with a target to end up at about 85 pages and 25K words.
  • Edit Chapter 1 thru 3 to determine what stays, what goes and what moves to another chapter

 

 

What’s on the author’s mind?

  • In the last book, and a few other short stories, I included a few brief romantic scenes. Nothing too extensive, as it was mostly just closing out a chapter or an arc, referencing how someone met, etc. In this book, both the main characters have multiple love interests and there’s a critical story arc about the different men with whom the mother had a relationship and whom could be the girl’s father. I have to create very different seductive, romantic and passionate scenes and connections within each distinct relationship. That’s a challenge for me, as I haven’t done a lot of that type of writing previously.
    • I wrote two of them so far, one brief and one extensive. I have some editing to do, but I think I need to share those with a few people to see if hit the right balance between hot-n-bothered and falling-in-love; or not getting to R-rated!
    • I got all squirmy re-reading it, thinking to myself… “oh man, I’m like a voyeur right now in a dark room giggling at those two…”

  • I’m debating how ‘bad’ to make a certain character. (S)he is definitely not likable, but I’m experimenting with a range of “readers will want to kill her” versus “she’ll cause a few expletives from time to time, but otherwise, she’s typical for her role.” I can’t say much as I don’t want to reveal the story, but there’s something to be said for both angles… more thought needed here. For now, (s)he’s as bad as can be.
  • Who will beta read the first 3 chapters in late August? I’m searching for 4 people, as I have someone who beta read the first book and is formidable when calling me out for less than stellar writing.

 

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Summary of Father Figure (only read if you’re new to the book)

  • Amalia Graeme, sheltered and abused for most her life in Mississippi, longs to escape her difficult family and small hometown in 1984. When her older brother returns with his best friend, Amalia is tempted to have her first experience with a boy that summer. As they head off to college for her first year and his senior year, she begins to learn about life and love, battling her loss of innocence with the attraction she’s developed to an older professor. After she suffers a few personal tragedies, Amalia is forced to head back home, uncertain how to handle the permanent impacts on her life and future. No matter where she turns, someone or something always takes away her possibility of hope.
  • Brianna Porter is desperate to discover the purpose of her life, develop confidence in who she is, accept the consequences of who she has fallen in love with, and discover her father’s identity. Set twenty years in the future in New York City, there’s a connection between these two women’s stories that is about to be discovered. As Brianna stumbles upon her mother’s old journal, she learns a shocking secret about her father, rocked by a truth that could completely change the future. It may be too late to deal with the impacts of unleashing a history that was meant to stay buried for many reasons. When it leads to someone’s death, Brianna must come to terms with the choices she’s made and what is left of her own future.

 

About Me
I am a writer. I am currently searching for an agent and looking at independent publishing options for my first book, Watching a Glass Shatter. To see more, please check out the website for this novel where you will find the first 3 chapters, character bios and sample quotes.

I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to finish it in December, 2017. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

My Novel: Father Figure (Week 3 – Friday, July 21st, 2017)

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Last time we chatted, I’d just finished week #2’s update for Father Figure, the new novel I began writing earlier this month. For a summary of the novel, scroll to the bottom of the post. We have arrived at the end of week #3, which has been another productive one; status follows below:

writer

Status:  Friday, July 21, 2017 – Week #3

  • 30-page outline has been completed, containing:
    • Overview
    • Character biographies
      • Physical descriptions
      • Relationships
      • Key emotions
      • Voice and perspective
    • Setting/Location descriptions
    • Timeline
      • By year and month
      • Major events for all characters included
      • Includes before the book starts / takes place so references to history exist
    • Chapter descriptions
      • List of scenes and locations
      • Minimum five bullets per scene
      • Goal specified for each chapter
  • High-Level Writing Timeline
    • Prepared approximate page count by chapter (based on goals and scenes)
    • Noted expected # of writing and editing days by chapter
    • Estimated 12 weeks of solid writing and first round editing with beta reader feedback included

Outline Complete!

 

Next Steps: Plan for Week #4

  • Research the setting locations and character personalities to incorporate very specific facts into the detailed descriptions and scenes
  • Write chapters 1 thru 3 (Note: I am prepared one whole week earlier than targeted!)

 

What’s on the author’s mind?

  • It was a productive week as far as outlining a lot of the details going into this book. I am very clear on the motivations of both primary characters, but I know it’s not complete. I will adjust as I go, but I have a good enough focus to start writing.
  • Diversity will be very important in this story. It’s not a story about the struggles of people who come from a diverse background, but a story of two women who handle situations in very different manners. And, oh yeah, they just happened to come from a diverse background. The central theme is discovering who you are, how you achieve your goals and where you draw your strength from.
  • I need to begin thinking about how to publish this novel. Will I look towards a traditional publisher through a literary agent? Will I consider self-publishing through Amazon or Lulu.com? Or is there an ideal in-between method?
  • When do I want to create a website for the book and start drumming up some hype?
  • Who will beta read the first 3 chapters in mid to late August?

 

Summary of Father Figure (only read if you’re new to the book)

  • Amalia Graeme, sheltered and abused for most her life in Mississippi, longs to escape her difficult family and small hometown in 1984. When her older brother returns with his best friend, Amalia is tempted to have her first experience with a boy that summer. As they head off to college for her first year and his senior year, she begins to learn about life and love, battling her loss of innocence with the attraction she’s developed to an older professor. After she suffers a few personal tragedies, Amalia is forced to head back home, uncertain how to handle the permanent impacts on her life and future. No matter where she turns, someone or something always takes away her possibility of hope.
  • Brianna Porter is desperate to discover the purpose of her life, develop confidence in who she is, accept the consequences of who she has fallen in love with, and discover her father’s identity. Set twenty years in the future in New York City, there’s a connection between these two women’s stories that is about to be discovered. As Brianna stumbles upon her mother’s old journal, she learns a shocking secret about her father, rocked by a truth that could completely change the future. It may be too late to deal with the impacts of unleashing a history that was meant to stay buried for many reasons. When it leads to someone’s death, Brianna must come to terms with the choices she’s made and what is left of her own future.

 

About Me
I am a writer. I am currently searching for an agent and looking at independent publishing options for my first book, Watching a Glass Shatter. To see more, please check out the website for this novel where you will find the first 3 chapters, character bios and sample quotes.

I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to finish it in December, 2017. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Review: Oedipus Rex

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Oedipus Rex
Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Book Review


4 out of 5 stars to Oedipus Rex, the first of “The Theban Plays,” written by Sophocles around 430 BC. If you are unfamiliar with Greek tragedies, the thing you need to know most is that the authors often played with the concept of fate: not just that some things are meant to be or to come back and haunt you, but that there is always more going on than you realize at the time. This is one of the plays you should absolutely read. Although borderline spoiler, it’s important to know 1 fact about the play, as it plays into the mind of so many psychologists today when they speak about an Oedipal Complex, as in all young boys (kids?) fall in love with their mothers at some point. Essentially, Oedipus kills the King and marries the King’s wife. Little does he know…. that was his father and she is his mother. Whaaaaattttt? How does that happen? Seriously… well, the plot is intricate, the history is insane… and it’s only the first of three in this trilogy. Find a translation and read it. It’s a little convoluted, and the language may be a bit metaphorical in too many places, but the characters and the plot is amazing!



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

365 Challenge: Day 67 – Pet-Dad

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Pet-Dad: male caregiver and parent to a pet

I woke up this morning in the most uncomfortable position, with the covers trapped around me, feeling like I had a heavy weight atop me in a coffin. No… I wasn’t dreaming. Ryder pulled one of his little tricks again last night and basically locked me into such a position by laying exactly between my legs with this head on my knee.

dad

For those that many not have read a post where I’ve previously mentioned Ryder, here’s the scoop: Ryder is my 9 and a half year old shiba inu (dog). Like many, I had no idea what a shiba was ten years ago, when my ex said “let’s get a dog” and proceeded to send me pictures of various breeds.  We eventually settled on getting a shiba, which comes from the mountains of Japan. My ex and I split up shortly afterwards, which eventually led to me meeting my current better half many years ago. Six years later… Ryder’s quite happy with the situation.

Shibas come in 3 or 4 “colors” — red, sesame, black & tan and cream. Ryder is a red shiba and came from a small town in Pennsylvania. We picked him up in a pet store while visiting my parents in Carlisle on Thanksgiving weekend. Below is a picture of him at about 3 months… yes, I’m in it too, but that’s the only one I could easily find:

baby

He was adorable. Male shibas get to be about 25 pounds. Ryder tops out around 20 pounds and is a bit small for the breed. He’s just a little too big to be a lap dog, and although he is deeply attached to me, doesn’t like to be held for very long. He much prefers throwing himself against me on the couch or in bed, so he’s pushed right up against my thigh or leg. And then he can get angry with me if/when I have to move for any reason; he enjoys playing mind games with me. He also gets moody when he doesn’t get what he wants, and then he ignores me. He once got his paw caught in the blanket I had thrown over me on the couch. He yelped and was obviously hurt for a few seconds, but it went away. His attitude towards me did not. For 3 days, I couldn’t pick him up, pet him or talk to him. I got such a cold shoulder attitude. I gave up after 24 hours, telling my better half to deal with Ryder or I was leaving, until Ryder’s attitude changed. It took two more days, but we let it go. I caved first and humbly apologized, tho I did nothing wrong. He thinks he’s perfect.

They say dogs develop personalities like their “owners.” There is no better example than Ryder. He is my twin, but as a dog. Not so much in looks, but in attitude and behavior. He is obsessed with food and must constantly have something off my plate at any meal. It’s gotten so bad that he often gets his own plate, and sometimes gets put out on the terrace, so that I have have at least 15 minutes to finish my own meal. Below is a picture of him outside the dining room, trying to figure out why I won’t let him in… he knows I just made brisket and wants another plate.

food

Ryder is quite spoiled. He has tons of stuffed animal toys and loves to rip out the stuffing from inside them.  A few months ago, I came home from a lunch meeting to find he took every toy out of his toy box (yes, he has his own… it’s like he’s my kid sometimes)… and threw them all about the dining room, as if to tell me he didn’t appreciate being alone. Who needs that many toys all at once? This dog has some personality… but then again, look at where he’s likely learned the behavior from.

toys

I’ve had pets most of my life, and I was usually very close with them. Cats, dogs, ferrets, fish, hamsters, you name it. But Ryder’s been with me for almost ten years now… and thought I’m tempted to adopt another one, we haven’t done it yet. Ryder, like me, seems to enjoy being the spoiled only child. Although, I’m sure he’d grow to love a sibling and playmate for when we’re both out working or socializing.

Thought it would be a nice break today to show a different side of me… a different characteristic… that probably says a lot more about me than I could say with just 1 new word. And that’s why today is all about Pet Parents.

Are you a pet parent? Do you have a dog or cat or something else that drives you crazy, takes up all your time, but you’d never give up and will be heartbroken over when something happens to him or her? Tell me all about your favorite 4-legged (or other kinds) friend…

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.