Is anyone watching #MyBrilliantFriend?

I feel like I have to decompress after last night's episode. Holy, that was excruciating to watch. Anyone out there watching it? I will just say I'm glad I haven't read the books and now, I don't know if I can stand to.

If you're not watching, the show on HBO is based on the books by Elena Ferrante, an Italian author. It's the story of two friends. One, Lenu, is a bookish, nerdy student who is so smart she's attending school when most Italian girls just got married. The other friend, Lila is supposedly more brilliant, but she is a looker and manipulative as all get-out.

The characterization of these stories is absolutely incredible and I see every archetype I saw growing up in my extended Italian family. Some of it, a lot of it, is not pretty. Anyway, if anyone watched, feel free to comment and tell me what you think about Lenu's decision last night. I'm still reeling!


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#RoomAtTheTop cover reveal coming soon! #Novel #ChickLit #WomensFiction

I have six beautiful choices for my new cover. Colleen Coble hooked me up with my old cover designer from Harper Collins Christian, so I'm pretty stoked.

As excited as one can be when confined to the house without espresso. I'm an introvert and I like being home, but I have to say, this just sucks. I hate the world being closed. It's creepy and dystopian, which only makes me want to write happy stories. My friend told me she was reading a dystopian novel and had to put it down. Ya think?

We need to keep our spirits up so we can stay strong and help those who need it. Silicon Valley is a mess with this virus so it's hard to be here and hear about what's happening there. I hate what tech did to my home, I really do. Everything became about who was the richest, who had the most elite Tesla and whose mansion had more pools, bowling alleys, etc. What a waste of life. I hope this virus shows us all that money is not what matters. Being unable to gather with family members, unable to attend church or go out to dinner with friends...that's what matters: Connection.

My daughter is here with me, and I'm grateful for her company, but we really want to go explore and we're just stuck. We did get some plants at Wal-Mart and she planted in the back before the lockdown started. What are you doing to keep busy?

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As a little ray of hope, the cactus blossomed today.


Emma's star: Miranda Hart

Okay, it's no secret that I'm not an Emma fan. This version even less so than normal. In the book, I find Emma less than brilliant. Essentially, she's not winning any Nobel Prizes for physics. But in this version, she comes off as a queen bee mean girl who is smart enough to know better. Austen knew what she was doing by making Emma more "Lydia" than "Elizabeth." I feel as if this version did not get that and so it's very hard to root for the "You can't sit with us!" character in finding love.

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I don't know who the actress was that played her, but Miranda Hart, who plays Miss Bates really redeemed the movie for me. I do love that we get new versions of Austen for each generation -- and granted, I am not of this generation or even the marketing target of 18 to 49-year-olds, and while the costumes and scenery were gorgeous, I didn't care enough about any of the characters to stay focused.


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I'm harder on the Austen adaptations, but the cast was pretty wonderful, so I think it was the script. Anyone see it?


The New #Emma

Emma is my least favorite of all Jane Austen's novels. Yes, I like it less than Northanger Abbey. Emma as a character just annoys me. But I will still go see it. I hope artsy movies play here in Phoenix. Now that I'm out of Silicon Valley, I'm a little worried about my arthouse films.



The supporting cast of this movie looks fantastic. Bill Nighy. I mean, who doesn't love him? Josh O'Conner from "The Crown" and "The Durrells in Corfu." I saw the gal who plays Emma on a morning show. Found her kind of annoying, but for me, that fits the character.

Anyway, I'll be there like the slave I am to any costume drama.



#TheDutchHouse by Ann Patchett


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I bought this book because Tom Hanks reads the Audible version and I wanted to hear my beloved "Toy Story" favorite read a book. But I'm not an audible lover. I want to see the words. Slowly devour them and read them again when I love a sentence, so I needed to read it first. Tom had to wait.

It took me forever to read this book. I left my Kindle in my son's truck in San Diego. I don't think any of my kids know what a post office is -- besides a place you send mom when you need something mailed -- so I was without a Kindle for a good, long while. I found my old Kindles -- but one is a Kindle Fire and the other is an old black and white one with missing pixels. I couldn't get the book loaded on the older one so I had to do the Fire. I abhor reading on the Fire. But I was desperate.

Okay, enough of my Kindle drama. The book. Ann Patchett is an amazing writer, much like Anne Tyler. She takes the mundane of everyday occurrences and ensures that you will not be able to put it down. That being said, I can't really explain the plot. Other than to say it's the story of a boy who grows into a man and all that happens with his childhood home.

If you're looking for a suspense-filled page-turner, this isn't the book for you. But if you enjoy entering a different world that is painted so creatively by an expert, "The Dutch House" might be for you.

Currently reading: Maybe You Should Talk To Someone

This is another book that sounds uninteresting, but in the hands of this author, it's a fun-filled, hilarious ride. Primarily because the writer (a therapist herself) is the most neurotic character in the book and she throws it all out there. Brutal honesty and self-reflection is the key to any bestselling biography/autobiography. The other thing that's great about this book is it has short chapters so it's easy reading, but it's also very hard to put down after those short chapters.


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I'd like to talk more about Jane Austen's Sanditon, but Cox Cable's DVR doesn't actually tape, so I haven't been able to watch the last two episodes. Just when Sidney was starting to grow on me.



#TheBachelor Peter & #SanditonPBS

Without my daughter and our weekly cake date, The Bachelor doesn't hold the same thrill for me, but I watch it still because we discuss it and I want to be educated. The same reason I will probably watch "The Mandalorian." My son is a huge "Guardians of the Galaxy" fan and he told me he'd use baby Groot as firewood to keep Baby Yoda warm, so I know there is some serious affection there.


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Back to Peter. I wasn't a fan of Peter's. I was less a fan of Hannah Brown, but I thought the whole fantasy suite thing was gross. Too much kiss and tell. Bringing Hannah back to troll this season's contestants made me like both of them less. It's early in the season so I can't tell one contestant from the next. No one really stands out except the new Hannah -- who annoys me for some unknown reason. I generally watch with a book in my hand so I can't tell you if this season is worth watching. I can't really see Peter being the type to settle down even though he acts like his parents are what he aspires to. If he does propose, I'd predict he backs out before the wedding. Thoughts?

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Onto #Sanditon, which is worth watching. This is an unfinished novel of Jane Austen's brought to life by the amazing BBC and Andrew Davies. There are lots of Austen-like qualities here, but it's much darker. The Darcy character Sydney is not likable. He takes proud to a darker, unlikable level. There's a creepy incenstuous-type of relationship in the background and certainly, more sex scenes than Austen was probably capable of thinking up. For example, the Darcy pond scene that was added to "Pride and Prejudice" has received an "upgrade" and Sydney comes out of the ocean buck naked. We are supposed to believe that our heroine Charlotte is not shocked by this to see her as a strong, contemporary woman. But on the good side...it's a costume drama. It has a lot of great lines and characters that you will recognize from earlier Austen works and it's got Kris Marshall, who always manages to bring a smile. (Sex god Colin in "Love Actually.") So I'm in.


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Hydro Hotties & Other Extrovert Moves

This week when my son was here we checked out the beautiful community center in my neighborhood. It has an incredible gym with lots of classes and clubs to join. Seth suggested I join the "Hydro Hotties" which I assume is a swimming class. To be honest, I haven't checked out all the classes/clubs yet because I'd rather read and/or get my latest book finished. But when starting a new adventure, one actually has to make some extrovert moves.

So far, everyone I've met in my neighborhood is completely sweet and wonderful. My Starbucks is very friendly. My pedicure place is warm and inviting. I am really loving it here, but joining is not my thing. The churches here are also great. I've been with my friend Colleen and her daughter a few times and the one closest to me, twice. This weekend we're going to a local writers' group. So the world is essentially my oyster. But I'm still an introvert to the extreme, so this week -- after the conference and a few more chapters, I am going to take a class or join a club.


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My hikes have become a little scary as there was a mountain lion on the trail where I take my dog. Then, I heard the coyotes howling close the other night and most recently, javelinas were seen. I didn't even know what that WAS. I had to Google it. It's a brand new world out there...


ADD & Self-publishing #Finishthebook

I've been saying I'm going to start self-publishing for...awhile now. The trouble is, without a contract, I don't have the outside push to finish a book. I know how to finish a book. I have finished 40 books and had them all published. But now? Now I must act alone and it requires organization, which is not my strong suit.

Luckily, I have surrounded myself with strong organizers. One of whom took me to task this morning. For now, she shall remain nameless but she asked me, "How many books do you have partially done?"

"Um, a lot."

"Why don't you finish one?"

"Because I don't know which one I want to finish. Which one my readers want to read."

Well, let's be honest, they're not reading any while I work on five half-finished books. So, my friend had me send her all my partially-finished books. I'm embarrassed to say how many I sent her -- but she is going to read them and organize me so that I finish something. Because no one is reading anything if I don't finish a book.

I also bought Martha's new book. Because she is Martha and I know she has no half-finished projects ANYWHERE. So maybe I can learn something late in life. One never knows. I have been organized at one time in life. I wrote forty books and raised four kids, so it's in there somewhere. It's just stifled at the moment.


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If Martha can't bring it back, I know my organized friend can. I mean, I offer new writers this advice all the time, "JUST FINISH THE BOOK!"


What's your quirk?

I believe I have a few. One, I dance in grocery stores -- I mean, if you feel the music, you feel the music, am I right? My son taped me dancing in the grocery store and posted it to Snapchat with the caption, "Italian moms be like..."


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My son sent me this yesterday. This is another one of my quirks. I love to argue for fun. Even when I'm completely wrong and I know it? I will be laughing and grinning, but I keep going. It makes my kids laugh, but they keep baiting me, so I go on. My dad and I are the worst at this. We're both bad. We know we're wrong, but we dig those heels in and try to add new "facts" until someone brings out Google. Then we let them know why Google is wrong on this particular subject we are professing to be experts in. Anyway, that meme makes me laugh because I would totally take the 25 cards and then play the martyr because "Google doesn't know."

Got a quirk?