Thursday Thought: Multi-Tasking

While there is no such thing as multi-tasking (numerous studies indicate the brain can do only one thing at a time) a person can walk and chew gum at the same time. Those actions, as well as other “muscle memory” functions like typing  are the products of habit learning and are controlled by a different part of the brain.  Talking on the phone, reading email, listening to the news take place in the declarative memory learning area.

That said, a person can cook and listen to the radio at the same time, the same way a person can eat and watch television at the same time. Different parts of the brain are in use.

Maybe preparing dinner and listening to her family at the same time is a mommy skill.

In case you needed to know this. Because you missed a joke or the weather while stirring your eggs.



MJ Monday-Movies: Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2:  This is a must see double header. I saw the first one in a movie theater and loved it. When Vol 2 came out on DVD, we all trooped to my nephew’s home theater for a double header, as my sister hadn’t yet seen the first one. It was an amazing experience.

Flash forward several months. My critique partners and I were enroute to a retreat in the woods when we learned at least one of our group hadn’t seen either movie. Out came the cell phones as we searched every Barnes & Noble, Target, Wal-Mart, Red Box etc. between where we were on the highway and our final destination looking for copies of both movies. As luck would have it, the Wal-Mart very near our destination had both. I purchased them and had another double-header night with my besties. I laughed as hard as  I had the first time seeing the films.

Action films sometimes bore me because they depend too much on special effects and bang-bang-shoot-em-up instead of plot. Guardians brushed against that threshold for me. But just when I would start to squirm and yawn, the boring stuff ended.

Solid plot, solid acting, solid humor, solid action.

Book Review-Karen Robards: The Midnight Hour

Image credit: tieury / 123RF Stock Photo

The Midnight Hour  is one of my favorite Robards books. It takes place in autumn, which always makes for a great, spooky setting.

Single mother Grace Hart  is having a difficult time with her teenage daughter, who has been newly diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. Although Grace is a respected judge in her community, her life hasn’t always been comfortable. She dreads her daughter repeating the same mistakes of her own youth, especially now when some excesses could be deadly to a diabetic.

And of course, isn’t that when the consequences of Grace’s misspent youth comes around to haunt her and her daughter.

Enter police detective Tony Marino, a single father who lost his own daughter to a deadly disease and who finds himself attracted to the lady judge even though he’s not sure some of the “pranks” upsetting Grace are as serious as she wants him to take them.

Great romance, great suspense, and a twist at the end you’ll think you should have seen coming.

This book defines what romantic suspense should be.

MJ Monday-Meals: Pasta Salad Redo.

In an attempt to de-carb our meals, I experimented with my standard pasta salad recipe, substituting Quinoa for pasta.

The first thing I did was cook two envelops of Quinoa and let them cool overnight.

I dumped them into a large bowl and started adding my standard pasta salad ingredients:

  • black olives
  • artichoke hearts
  • peas
  • carrots
  • red onion
  • roasted red pepper
  • chopped yellow bell pepper

and for something a little different: sliced radishes.

Then I made my standard dressing, doctored up with additional garlic powder, dried basil, and dried parsley.

All the flavors and most of the textures of pasta salad without its heaviness. A keeper.

Thursday Thought-Self Help: Dear Writer, You Need to Quit

Dear Writer, You Need to Quit  by Becca Syme is not a book about writing. Instead, the book is a manual for writers. Syme, who is a Gallup certified Clifton Strengths coach, has focused her training on helping authors. The individuals creating the books.

The key word is individual.

One size fits all is a myth created because standardizing is easier than dealing with differences. The theory  doesn’t work for clothes, hats, or writing methods. Even standardized sizes are wishful thinking. Ask any woman who has ever purchased a bra. Why should writing style be different?

They’re not. Syme believes in alignment: creating an individual strategy based on how the author is wired. My own critique group is a microcosm of writing styles; from a woman who writes 30-page synopses, to someone who does some character work, some scene work, and has a rough outline, to someone who sits down to write by the seat of her pants.

Syme points out and repeats there is no right way to write, that we each not only need to accept our writing style–what works best for us–but also embrace it. Not only embrace our uniqueness, but work to strengthen our methods. Strategies for the organized writer will not work for an organic author.

A plus-sized woman dreaming of breast reduction surgery wouldn’t consider buying and wearing a 32A  bra. Why would an intuitive writer believe she should write a detailed outline of the book she’s writing? The fit won’t work.

Bob Dylan is a musical genius, but that doesn’t mean his Christmas album or covers of Sinatra standards were great. Or even good. Those styles aren’t his strength.

If you can imagine Stephen King writing category romance, you have a better imagination than I do.

The point is writers need to quit practices that don’t align with their strengths. Quit working against your wiring and work with it. You’ll be amazed at the results.