Category Archives: Humor

It’s a Brave New Amazonian World

No, we’re not doing this kind of painting, but isn’t this neat? And odd. (Gizmondo.com.au)

So, Tuesday I ordered a simple, hand-held paint sprayer. Nothing fancy or elegant, but serviceable and in keeping with our station in life. I, of course, ordered it from Amazon because … you know. Anyway, it was supposed to be delivered to an Amazon Locker yesterday. My husband would pick it up on the way home from work in the wee hours of the morning so we could begin the mistification of paint early this morning.

Not happening. If you haven’t heard, Amazon has decided to start it’s own, in-house delivery system. For nearly two decades UPS has been bringing my Amazon stuff and I was happy. There was that one Big Bang Theory DVD that got crushed in the teeth of a conveyor belt and UPS sent it along anyway, but I called Amazon, they sent a new one, relationship reestablished. Nary a hitch since.

I love a mystery so I have been clicking and checking all the info on my order. Here’s what I know: if you’re part of the brave new Amazonian experiment, you will see the code, AMZL US in the tracking code for your order. From all the reviews I’ve read, particularly on Reddit, beware.

All this is annoying because there is a gargantuan Amazon warehouse within spitting distance of the locker. (Disclaimer: Put down the hand sanitizer for there is no actual spitting involved.This is not a measurement recognized by the U. S. Weights and Measures types, but a dated expression that means close by.)

I’m betting if some enterprising troop were to fire up a delivery drone, the engine wouldn’t even get warmed up whizzing it over to said locker.

Photo of the new Amazon delivery fleet courtesy of WIKI COMMONS

So, I wait. If this is the direction that Amazon is going with customer service, I’m rethinking my dependence on them. Meanwhile, if you see this guy out and about, send him my way. Please.

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A Very Austen Christmas

Book Launch Tomorrow!

A Very Austen Christmas - 3DIn early June, Laura and I broached the idea of an anthology to include all the authors of Jane Started It, along with our lovely friend, JAFF author Wendi Sotis. Susan Kaye, Pamela Aiden, and Gayle Mills originally intended to be a part of the project, but real life threw several hitches in their plans. Laura Hile, Barbara Cornthwaite, Wendi Sotis, and I kept the dream alive.

Tomorrow, that dream will be realized with the book launch of A Very Austen Christmas, hosted by Claudine Pepe at JustJane1813.  We are very much looking forward to reading Claudine’s review (our first one!), as well as chatting with our readers.

The kindle version is already available for pre-order (to be delivered tomorrow) on Amazon, and the print copy is live, though they are not yet linked together.

Does this sound tempting, lovely readers?

Four favorite authors, four heartwarming stories set in Jane Austen’s Regency world.

Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, and Barbara Cornthwaite revisit Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Mansfield Park to deliver the uplifting holiday storytelling you’re looking for.

Her Christmas Gift by Robin Helm
Elizabeth Bennet finds herself snowbound at Rosings with two rejected, but highly eligible, suitors. Does either man have a chance? Will her childhood friend, Meryton’s golden boy, win her affection, or will she accept the master of Pemberley? Perhaps she will refuse them both a second time. Her Christmas Gift deftly combines tension and emotion with humor and romance.

The Christmas Matchmaker by Laura Hile
It’s raining; it’s pouring – and what could be better than a little Christmas matchmaking? So says Emma Woodhouse who is unexpectedly stranded at Netherfield Park. Mr. Darcy disagrees, for she has someone else in mind for adorable Elizabeth Bennet. Amid meddling, misunderstanding, and an unwelcome proposal or two, will True Love find a way?

No Better Gift by Wendi Sotis
On his way to Derbyshire to spend Christmas with his family, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy plans to retrieve an item he left behind during his rushed escape from Netherfield—and the country miss who touched his heart. Finding Meryton practically deserted, he fears the worst. What fate could have fallen upon this once-thriving village in only three weeks? More importantly, was Miss Elizabeth Bennet in danger?

Mistletoe at Thornton Lacey by Barbara Cornthwaite
When Edmund Bertram realizes that Fanny is the perfect wife for him, he wants to propose without delay. What better time than at Christmas? Ah, but the course of true love never does run smooth …

A Very Austen Christmas - jpeg

The stories are arranged according to length. Mine is really a novella of 30K words, and Laura’s is 24K words. We have decided that we can’t write short stories (insert laugh). Wendi’s is 17K words and Barbara’s is 7K words. Curl up in your PJs with a mug of hot cocoa and enjoy the writing of four friends with quite different styles and story lines.

We hope that Sue, Pamela, and Gayle will be able to join us in our next anthology. (Yes, I just said next anthology!)

Not so bad after all

 

We were watching Storage Wars the other day. Lots of odd topics come up in the course of a show like that.

MOM: You just know that one smells to high heaven.

ME: Yeah, it was the last load and everything got chucked in in a hurry. And then mice got into everything.

You  know that smell, the scent of human sadness.

♠♣♥♦

There was supposed to be a graphic of a storage unit spilling out its pitiable contents and the last line was supposed to be the pithy end of this post.

The VAST majority of photos available are either rusted scrape metal and outdoor junk, or tidy units that don’t serve my purpose at all. *sigh* Maybe the human race isn’t as sad as I thought!

Here’s nice summer pic instead:

Have a good one, people!

Ad Shadows

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me.

Shadows.  Photo: pwjamro (Creative Commons Flickr)

A polished hematite stone (Photo: Morguefile)

So wrote Robert Louis Stevenson (My Shadow), long before the information age.  He was referring to the noun: a dark shape caused by the sun or by candlelight.

To be shadowed is something different.

These days we find ourselves shadowed by on-line advertising.

For example, the other day I was telling my Ben about the magnetic stones we bought years ago at a national park gift shop.  I rescued them from his give-away box, and they have lived on my desk at school ever since–much to the delight of my students.

What is it about magnets? Students never tire of playing with them. But I could not think of the name.

Google to the rescue! Within seconds, I had my answer: hematite.

And if I want more, forget driving all the way to Crater Lake. Amazon will drop-ship a set right away.

Amazon’s “Remarketing” e-mail for Hypnotic Hematite

Of course you know what happened next. I acquired a shadow–or rather, my computer at school did. Advertising for hematite stones began to follow me.

This practice is called “remarketing.” My computer showed interest, so my computer will be shown more.  On Facebook and all around the web.

This morning, Amazon e-mails me. Just in case I wanted another look at Hypnotic Hematite.

As a consumer, I am dismayed. Can’t I just look at something without being followed?

Ah, but as an indie author? Perhaps this remarketing thing is not all bad. For what if potential readers are looking at my books?  “Want more Mr. Darcy? Click here.”

Aw, Mom, really? It’s a Bonnet Book!

Which brings me back to Ben. Poor fellow, he was so excited when Darcy By Any Other Name was released, and he was checking the listing on Amazon multiple times a day. Ah, but then remarketing caught up with him.

“Mom,” he complained, “what the heck? Ads for girly romance books are everywhere I go! Ew!”

I think his manly pride was offended.

Well then. Perhaps I should be thankful that I’m being shadowed by something harmless as hematite?

What kinds of ads have shadowed you?

Laura Hile (1)

The Plague has Moved On

or at least I hope so. We all have had the crud of various stripes and colors. My hope is that after a double dose of Nyquil tonight any lingering sludge will clear out.

vbpTo give life a lift after my near-death experience, I decided to watch Very British Problems on Netflix. Here’s a link to some of the episodes on Channel 4.

It’s clear that I could be dropped into any British city and go native without much ado.

That must be why I don’t fit.

Actually, this show just proves we are all misfits in whatever setting we may find ourselves.

A word of caution, Series 2 is a more willing discuss the occasional intimacy–which kinds of undoes some of the things said in Series 1. Series 1 is a tad vulgar in that randy Brit sort of way and pretty safe.

Pride & Precedence: Snow Woe

giovanniboldiniafternoonstroll-mm21

There is a song from your modern era called I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas. Seriously? Snow has become not my dream but my nightmare.

Granted, a dusting of snow would be charming at Christmastime—if it came and then went away. This year? Snow continues to fall and pile up. It’s like one of those annoying houseguests who will not go.

Our “White Christmas” became a “White New Year’s” and then a “White Epiphany.” If we stiil have snow on the ground at Candlemas, I will lose my mind.

The vulgar expression “Cabin Fever” describes the situation at Uppercross Cottage. We are housebound because of the snow, and let me tell you, it is Too Much.

trees-15For one thing, the cottage is always, always cold. Why not burn a forest of trees for heat? What are we saving them for? I know, posterity. Bless me, since the days of our courtship I’ve been told that the Musgrove wealth is found not in monetary assets but in land. Well then, we ought to plant acres of trees so that we can cut down what we need. Trees do nothing but stand there. Why not make them useful?

And then there is the smoke: from fires, from sputtering candles, and from cigars. I am continually coughing because my husband will not take his cigars out-of-doors as he ought. My father-in-law’s pipe? Insupportable! Smoke indoors is almost bad as the smell of damp wool, which is everywhere.

popula626We have the same dismal callers again and again, and Charles will invite them to stay. And then, of course, I must feed them. The ugly caps and wrappers they wear are painful to behold, not to mention their red noses and  chapped cheeks. Our conversations center around one thrilling subject: the weather.

Our darling boys are behaving like savages. They laugh and screech, and their footfalls pound along the hallways and up and down stairs until my head aches. The nurserymaid is no help. Her solution is to put them in the bath, allowing them to shout and splash water everywhere. Charles bundles them up and takes them to visit his parents at the Great House, but that is no better. The boys run wild there, while my in-laws discuss my shortcomings as a mother.

Next winter, I shall insist that Charles to take me to Bath. My father has a very fine house there; we would be in no one’s way. In Bath, no one minds the weather. There are card parties, concerts, and interesting people. Here we have the same musicians, the same dances, and the same people.

Thanks to “Old Man Winter” every one of our neighbors has a cold and sniffs—continually.  My poor nerves are worn to a frazzle. But do our neighbors care? They smile and wave and say, “Cheerio!” as if they are happy about the snow.

I’d like to give that Jack Frost a piece of my mind. And a good swift kick in the pants, too.

Most cordially,

Mary Elliot Musgrove
Daughter of Sir Walter Elliot
Future Mistress of Uppercross

New Release!
Sir Walter Elliot’s Marrying Well for Fun & Profit is now a Kindle e-book.
More about that tomorrow.

Mary’s “portrait” is Afternoon Stroll by Giovanni Boldini

The day I wore Pajama Pants to Walmart

Thanks to Marianne Hawthorne for this fun meme

Thanks to Marianne Hawthorne for the meme. Click the image to see her Pinterest collection.

When snow and freezing rain hit the Pacific Northwest, we kind of lose our minds.

Snowpocalapse!
Hunker down!
The end is near!

Okay, so we’re not quite that bad. Thing is, we get snow every two to three years in this part of Oregon. It really throws us for a loop.

I ought to add that we do not salt our roads. That’s right; we’re the only state that doesn’t. And I recently learned that the de-icing chemicals we use are not effective when temperatures drop below 28 degrees. Brilliant.

No salt, no plow, no problem. I live on the corner.

No salt, no snow plow? No … uh … problem.

We are all kinds of crazy, yeah.

Which brings me to Walmart, early Saturday morning, just as a snowstorm hit.  The day I wore my jammie pants to go shopping. I did.

The’re black, and they used to be workout pants, but the thing is, I slept in them the night before. I threw on my long down coat (also black), a somewhat-fashionable scarf, and shoes. I was good to go.

walmart-pajamaSo now I am one of the “People of Walmart.” Even though ours is the neighborhood grocery store kind. And everyone there, though harried by the falling snow, was fully dressed. Below-freezing temperatures are helpful that way.

Darcy-By-Any-Other-Name-blogsz-2In other news, a sale and an e-book giveaway.  Tomorrow check out Anna’s review at Diary of an Eccentric and enter to win the Kindle edition of Darcy By Any Other Name. Even if you own this book, you should enter. If you win, I’ll gladly send the prize to one of your friends.

To celebrate, I’ve reduced the Kindle price by $1.00. Because ice and snow season is reading season, right? So let’s get down to business.

Laura Hile (1)