Monday, August 28, 2017

Auntie Lenora's Tips for Writing Book Reviews


 Many Thanks to those of you who came to Inklings (a bodacious book store in Yakima), Eternal Wines (a wondrous wine store in Walla Walla, and Adventures Underground (an adventure in books and gaming store in Richland) to support we three poets as we tried to entertain you (and mayhaps sell you a book or two!) Many, many thanks. Now, if you're in the areas mentioned, drop in and support your local businesses.


At Inklings, getting ready to read, Lynn Knapp, Lenora Good (in the hat), and Thomas Hubbard (in the pineapple shirt). Photo by John Knapp. Used with permission.
And now, for our regularly scheduled programming:

Were you like me when you were in school – loved to read, hated to write book reports? Yeah, I'm still that way; however, since I've put a couple of books out there, I have come to realize how really and truly important book reviews are to authors.

When I was a kidlet, we didn't have computers, let alone Amazon, Goodreads, NetGalley, and et cetera. We had pencils, paper, and eventually, typewriters. At least we were past stones and clay tablets.

Anyhow, I am going to discuss the importance of reviewing a book you liked. It is important. It is very important; at least if you want the author to continue writing for your enjoyment. With few exceptions, writers don't make enough to live on, unless they have a spouse who has a good job. It's a labor of love. Love them. Write and post a review!

When you read a book you liked--write a review and post it. This doesn't have to be a college level critical review though you may write one if you so desire, you are not expected to find the hidden meanings, the deeply buried metaphors; all we who read reviews want to know is that you liked it, and why. Was the poetry easily accessible to you, as a reader? Did it speak to you? Did the novel entertain you? Did you laugh out loud? Did you sob with uncontrolled abandon? Was the nonfiction worth your time and trouble to purchase and read? Did you learn something? Would you recommend the book to others? Then tell those others!

If you are asked to read and review a book, and you start it, and just can't read it for whatever reason, return it, and explain that when you agreed to the read it, you had spare time, but are now too busy and don't want to keep the book for an as yet undetermined later time. Don't struggle with the book and write a negative review. However, if you enjoyed the book, by all means, write a glowing review and lead off with a Disclaimer that you received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. ADDENDUM 8Nov17: Amazon is now removing reviews with the phrase, 'in exchange...', so begin with the disclaimer that you received an ARC (advance reader copy). Or just don't mention it at all. 

Those of you who follow my book review blog, Rainy Day Reads at www.lenoragood.blogspot.com, have probably noticed most of my reviews are 4 & 5 stars, with a few 3 stars, and very, very few below that. That's because if I don't like a book, I don't finish it, and if I don't finish it, I don't review it. This is certainly a case where my cup of poison may be your cup of tea and I don't want to ruin your tea. ;-)

If your best friend for all your life has written a book, by all means buy it, read it, and when you review it, please, do not tell people that the author is your dear, sweet friend and BFF. That's the kiss of death. No matter what you write, it will not be taken seriously. Brag to your friends face-to-face about your friendship with the author, but not to those who may read your review.

Reviews don't have to be long, and when you write one, you can copy and paste it to several sites. The more positive reviews that are out there for any given book, the more people will buy the book; the more people who buy the book (and write reviews), the more money the author will make, and that, boys and girls is how you tell Author, "Thank you. I really enjoyed your book. Write more. And do it NOW!"

If you're curious, these are the sites where my reviews are posted:
and, when the computer gods smile upon me, www.barnesandnoble.com .
There are many other sites that welcome reviews. Why, you can even start your own book review blog.

PS. I don't know why I have such a hard time getting a review posted at B&N, but I do. Probably the squish ware--ya think?

PS2. Books are not the only things you can review online. Did you have a good experience at a local restaurant? Good service, good food, good prices? Review it on www.yelp.com. How about that shop you took your car to? Did they rip you off? Or treat you like a long lost relative. Again, go to Yelp. Be honest in your reviews. I put a negative review up on a restaurant I visited, I explained why it was negative, what I might have done differently if it was my restaurant, and what the positives were. Received a nice response from the manager, and assurance the problem has been taken care of. It is possible to put something negative up, and be nice about it.


Monday, August 21, 2017

The Salmon Are Running--Really!

Public Service Announcement

On Friday, 25 August 2017 at 7p.m. Inklings Book Store in
Yakima will host a poetry reading of: (drum roll, please!) the
world renown poets Lynn M. Knapp and Thomas A. Hubbard.
These two poets have graciously allowed me to read with them,
so if you're in the Yakima area, Come On Down! (or up or over or whatever). 
And a most Special Invite to any of you who were
published in WA129. Come read that poem, too.

On Saturday, 26 August 2017, we will be reading at Eternity
Wines in Walla Walla at 2 p.m., and then at 7 p.m. at Adventures
Underground in Richland. All three venues will offer an open mic
at the end of the reading, so grab your favorite poem and come join
us for an evening of fun, possible frivolity, and great poetry!

Oh, and bring money. Books will be available for purchase (and signing).

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.


This is a story I may have shared some time ago. It is a true lie. Well, read it again, and check out the photo I swiped from the web. It's not a salmon with feet; it's a Goosefish. Honest. Trust me. Would I lie to YOU?

THE SALMON ARE RUNNING
-- Lenora Rain-Lee Good
During the Vietnam War, I served in the Women’s Army Corps and married a fellow soldier. While my GI husband and I were stationed in Karlsruhe, Germany, my mother sent us frequent letters from home--Portland, Oregon.  These letters kept us up-to-date on family and local gossip. And, my family being avid fisher folk, Mom told us in great detail about the salmon she and my step-dad caught. It took a few letters from her, telling us “the salmon were running” and then telling us they caught one at “17#” or “42#” before my husband asked about her short-hand and phraseology.
            “Honey, what’s your mom mean by using the pound sign after a number?”
            “Pounds,” I answered, straight-faced and slightly dumfounded.
            “Pounds?  You mean a salmon weighs 17 pounds?  33 Pounds?  42 POUNDS?”  His voice raised a few decibels with each question.  Obviously, he didn’t believe me.  What he grew up calling “fish,” I grew up calling “bait.”
            “Yes,” I answered with an air of superiority.  Finally, I knew something he didn’t.  “Pounds. And those are the small ones.” He thought about that a few minutes before asking, “What does she mean by ‘the salmon are running’?”
            With great difficulty, I managed to keep a very straight face and replied, “Do you know anything of the life-cycle of salmon?”  He, of course, answered in the negative.  So I explained that, depending on the breed of salmon, every few years and on whatever cycle nature decreed for that particular breed, the salmon would fight their way upriver to return to their original hatching grounds, spawn their eggs, and die.  As the eggs hatched and grew, they made their way downstream into ever deeper water until eventually they were in the Pacific Ocean where they lived until time to repeat the journey of their parents up the same rivers and creeks to the exact same spot from which they came.  Once there, they would spawn and die.  I paused, and looked at him.  He nodded his understanding.
            “The rivers in the Pacific Northwest,” I continued, “are so fierce, so mighty – nothing like the ones in Alabama where we met and you grew up, or even here, in Germany.  When the salmon get this biological urge to return to their place of origin, they grow two little legs about two inches long, with webbed feet much like duck’s feet, which help them run up the river beds to the same spawning grounds from which they came.  That’s why it’s described as ‘the salmon are running.’  You will never hear the expression, ‘the salmon are swimming’.”
Goosefish. Image swiped from the NOAA site.
            Of course, he didn’t believe me.  No matter how innocent I looked.  Oh, did I mention he also worked part-time at the Non-Commissioned Officer’s club, and that I often spent evenings at the bar while he worked? Many GIs passed through Karlsruhe en route to their new duty stations.  My bartending husband always asked the newcomer where he was from and where he was headed.  Those who mentioned they were from the Pacific Northwest were soon on their way to help perpetuate a legend.  Always, my husband would say to them, “My wife is from Portland, Oregon, and she tells me....”  He would then repeat my story of the migrating salmon and their little legs and feet.  The GIs always backed me up.  Until the night a soldier from Idaho sat next to me.
            “Naw,” said the Idahoan, “the feet are like chicken’s feet.  No webs at all.  Your wife’s been pulling your leg!”   
            Oops!  It was time for damage control.  “Do you fish on the Snake river?” I asked.
            “Yep.  Best fishing around,” he replied.
            Well, we spent several minutes discussing fishing holes, and salmon, and their feet.  I finally convinced him that the feet are webbed when they come in from the ocean, and we decided that by the time they’ve run so long and so far up the river beds as to reach the Snake River, that the webs had just naturally worn away until only the main foot bones remained, covered with scar tissue.
            My little story held up for two years.  Then my beloved received orders to return to Vietnam.  On his way, he stopped off to visit my folks.  As it happened, the salmon were running, and they took him fishing.  And luck was further with him—he caught a fish.  It put up a gallant fight, but lost.  My step-dad got the net and pulled it into the boat.  My husband stood looking down at his fish and asked, “What kind of fish is it?”
            “Why, it’s a salmon,” my dad replied.
            My husband carefully examined it.  “Are you sure?  There aren’t any legs or webbed feet.”
THE END
(A slightly different version of this story was told, with my permission, at the Washington State Fair Liars Contest in or about 1970.  It took first place. Or, so I was told.)


Monday, August 14, 2017

Weather Thou Goest in Portland, Seattle, or....


Public Service Announcement

On Friday, 25 August 2017 at 7p.m. Inklings Book Store in
Yakima will host a poetry reading of: (drum roll, please!) the
world renown poets Lynn M. Knapp and Thomas A. Hubbard.
These two poets have graciously allowed me to read with them,
so if you're in the Yakima area, Come On Down! (or up or over or whatever).

On Saturday, 26 August 2017, we will be reading at Eternity
Wines in Walla Walla at 2 p.m., and then at 7 p.m. at Adventures
Underground in Richland. All three venues will offer an open mic
at the end of the reading, so grab your favorite poem and come join
us for an evening of fun, possible frivolity, and great poetry!

Oh, and bring money. Books will be available for purchase (and signing).

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.


Hoo boy! We finally have blue sky and considerably cooler temps. It's been a long couple of weeks of 24/7 smoke and haze, and triple digit, or near triple digit, weather. Sunday morning we had a bit of wet fall from the sky, and then a nice breeze came along and moved all the smoke, haze, and or clouds somewhere else. Our highs for the next few days will be in the 80s. At the moment ( 0600 Monday morning) it is 55F outside.

Years ago, on a first date, the gentleman asked me what my favorite season was. I had to think about that for a bit. Did I have a favorite season? I decided that no, I did not; I smiled and told him my favorite season was whatever one I was in.

It's true. I find things to like about each season, and try not to complain (at least not too much) about the heat of summer or the chill of winter. Or my electric bill for either. ;-)

When I was a kidlet, my Grandpa Skipper spoiled me pretty rotten, except when the news and weather came on the radio. Then woe unto whoever made noise of any kind. Even, perhaps especially, spoiled granddaughter. Years later, when I lived in Portland, Oregon, I remember my favorite DJ, Barney Keep, explain how to accurately forecast our weather. No one else could, so I paid attention. He said words to the effect, "Look out your window. If you can see Mt. Hood, carry your raincoat. If you can't see Mt. Hood, wear your raincoat." It was funny—but true. Our temperatures were temperate, with few major swings either up or down.

Portland, Oregon is one of the most difficult places to accurately forecast the weather. Or was before satellites. Portland Town gets weather systems from the Columbia Gorge, the Willamette Valley, and the Pacific Ocean all converging in that one location. NOAA & Co has come a long way in the predicting business since I was a kidlet ;-).

Many years after that, while I was still married to my Dearly Beloved Ex, he had the same attitude about the radio news & weather, and woe unto anyone, child or spouse, who dared to speak or make noise during those few minutes. We didn't live in Portland, and couldn't see the mountain, but we were close to Seattle, and had the same basic weather. One day, I smiled sweetly (damn near broke my face on that one!), and asked him why he had to hear the weather so religiously. He explained he needed to know how to dress for the day/evening/whatever. Still smiling, I told him to look out the living room window. If he could see the house across the street he should carry his raincoat. If he couldn't see the house across the street he should wear it. And if he really wanted total silence during the weather, to go listen to it in the car, the kids and I were not going to stop whatever we were doing to be quiet. Hmmm, do you suppose that's why he's my Dearly Beloved Ex?

Anyhow, I thought I'd pass along those words of wisdom in case you could use them. In the meantime, I use the NOAA site for the weather predictions in Kennewick. http://www.weather.gov Got into that habit of checking NOAA when I lived in Florida. We had those pesky things called Hurricanes down there. Much more important to know what's going on. This is an image of Hurricane Charley, just before the wall slammed into my home. I was home. Lemme tell ya, it was one heck of a ride!


This image blew in from the www.