Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Where'd You Come Up With That? ~ Wednesdays: Starvin' Marvin

Starvin' Marvin is a rhyming children's story about a poor hungry little ghost having trouble finding food that'll stay in his tummy. 

I wrote this story because my grandson and I read my other children's books, and he asked me if I would write another one. 

I said I would, and asked him what he wanted it to be about. And he said, "A ghost!"

So, I took some time to think about a unique story about a ghost that would interest a 4-year-old. 
Since ghosts can walk through walls, then how do they eat? I sat down at my computer and began writing about Starvin' Marvin. It took some trial and error to get it right, but Waylon loved it. 

We drew the pictures together, and we had fun working on the project and laughing at our mistakes and weird drawing. Eventually, we got them to look the way we wanted.

That is how Marvin came into existence!

After publishing, a LitPick reviewer gave the book a 5-star book review award. You can read it here. 

As of this morning, Starvin' Marvin had two 5-star reviews on Amazon.

Now a note about a bad review on Goodreads today. I want to paste this review into this post for a few reasons. 

One, I rarely get on Goodreads, but I thought I would get on and ask if anyone wanted to review for a free copy of the book. I knew in my heart this was a mistake because of past bad experiences with some reviewers on the site. 

Two, this reviewer didn't like the book, and that's okay. She's entitled to her opinion, but she makes some bizarre and untrue accusations.  

Three, her review is so far from what this book is about that it makes little sense. 

Here is the review:

I understand kids' books are meant to be silly, but this is kind of ridiculous. If I had kids, I'd pick out books for them that helped them actually learn something. If I myself read a book, it's to get something of value out of it, such as a moral or lesson of some sort, or to feel an emotion. Writing for children should not be any different. Children are young and susceptible to the media they take in, whether it be TV or what their parents read to them. This book is entirely about (view spoiler) What message does this send to children? The author has indirectly preached to children that eating junk food all the time is perfectly acceptable. Do you really want your malleable kids growing up reading stuff like this? What is this putting in a young child's mind? That eating candy and stealing from others is okay?
Another reason this book did not impress me: having your kid illustrate your book for you. Either the artwork is drawn by a young child, or it's drawn by an adult who took as little time as humanly possible to illustrate using a cheap program. If this was drawn by your kid, don't let your kid draw the rest of your books. First of all, this is a cop out. Some people are not going to be honest about what they think about the artwork (which, by the way, is most of the material in a kid's book) because they will be afraid to critique a little kid's work. If an adult drew this, put more effort into the work. How do you expect someone to spend money they worked hard for on something that appears to have had no effort put into it? I could make something of this exact caliber on Google Docs right now.
As for writing, there were no spelling mistakes that I could tell. The sentences rhymed (which is surprisingly lacking in some supposed "rhyming" books).

Now, what I think of this review. Children's books can be funny and silly and just written to bring smiles to children's faces, and this book does that. No, children's books do not always have to teach a lesson.

It's a fiction story about a ghost, and it does not teach children it's okay to steal and eat only junk food. I honestly don't know where that came from.

I will be the first to admit that I'm not an artist, but where is there a rule that children's picture book illustrations can't be simple and fun? Sometimes simple is better with both writing and in illustrations.

Yes, I drew some of the pictures, and Waylon drew some of them. He was so proud of the picture he added to the book. We're actually working on another book together because we enjoy the time spent together.

I think the reviewer missed the point of the book, and that's okay she's entitled to her opinion.

So, Starvin' Marvin is a fun rhyming picture book written to make kids laugh and have fun. It's okay to buy it and read it to your children. I promise it won't turn them into junk food eating thieves. LOL!

You can find Starvin' Marvin on Amazon.

Happy Reading!

Monday, August 10, 2020

Classic Movie Mondays ~ "The Mad Miss Manton"


If you've read my previous blog posts, you know how much I love Bette Davis movies. And while she is my all-time favorite, my second is the dramatic Barbara Stanwyck. 

Turner Classic Movies showed a string of Stanwyck's movies, so I put the DVR to work and recorded some I hadn't seen. 

The Mad Miss Manton was the first one I watched, and I loved it! Even though I like Stanwyck for her dramatic acting, she also nails this comedy role. 

The movie is a romantic comedy/ murder mystery. Stanwyck's character Melsa Manton a quirky lady with a group of ride or die friends that work together trying to solve a murder.

Melsa is out walking her dogs when she someone she knows come running from an empty home. She calls to him as he runs from the house, but he doesn't answer and jumps in his car and drives away.

Curious, Melsa enters the house and finds a dead body lying on the floor. She rushes out to call the police and when they show up; the body is gone.

Now, the police don't believe Melsa. Why? Because she's a quirky lady, and she calls police for trivial matters, like helping her sick dog. And she's known as a prankster. 

The police lieutenant doesn't believe her and scolds her for calling and wasting his time.

So, what does Melsa do? She calls in her "ride or die" group of ladies, and they get to work solving the mystery. 
The Mad Miss Manton (1938) / AvaxHome

This leads to many comical situations and her run-in with her love interest and editor of the newspaper, Peter Ames, played by Henry Fonda. 
Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda in Leigh Jasons The Mad #1248088
The love/hate relationship between the two moves the story forward and also creates some funny scenes. 

In the end, with the help of her friends and Peter, Melsa solves the mystery. I won't spoil the ending by revealing the murderer. 

But, I will share one of my favorite scenes. 

Melsa and her friends find another dead body. She calls the police, but again, they don't believe her. so, what does this group of ladies do? Drop the dead body off the newspaper editor's office- Peter Ames.

The crazy antics and fun characters in the movie had me laughing out loud at times. I recommend watching this one, and I'd watch it again. 

Next week, don't be surprised if my post is another Barabar Stanwyck movie! 

Winking face emoji. | Premium Vector

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Where'd You Come Up With That?!~ Wednesdays - Give It a Few Days

Image from

It's almost the first anniversary of my short story "Give It A Few Days" at Bewildering Stories. This story is one of my favorites because of the subject. It deals with how well our minds try to protect us from the things that scare us, make us sad, or a reality we just don't want to face. 

I've suffered from anxiety my entire life, so I know first-hand how well our brains can control our thoughts, feelings and just general well-being. And, my family has suffered a great deal of over the past few years, and dealing with grief is a personal journey, and no two people grieve in the same way. 

That's where I came up with this story. I lost my mother and father in 2013 and 2014, respectively. In my mind I picture my parents still alive and well, sitting on their front porch. My dad with his cigar and my mom relaxing on the porch swing. Somewhere deep in my subconscious, I know this isn't true, but it helps me so much to deal with the loss. If I sat down every day and thought about how much I miss them—their voice, laughter and hugs, and just a simple conversation, I'd breakdown and drown in my grief. I do the same with other loved ones I've lost and miss. I picture them alive and happy. 

The main character in this short story, Cheryl, has to deal with an unexpected event in her life she can't accept. So, she processes and deals with it the only way she can. Her mind protects her from reality. 

I hope this story resonates with anyone who has been forced to face an unexpected and tragic life event. 

Here is the link to "Give It A Few Days" at Bewildering Stories.

I welcome any feedback, so if you'd like to contact feel free! Contact Me

Happy Reading!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Classic Movie Monday~ Our Town

Our Town is a play written by Thorton Wilder, and it's a Pulitzer Prize Winner. I have to be fair and say I haven't read the play, but the movie I didn't really get into. Here's why...

It's mundane and boring. Maybe it's meant to be that way because it is about a little ordinary town, Grover's Corners, and the daily lives of the residents over a span of twelve years. Nothing exciting happens to the characters and I'm assuming that's the point of the story.

The movie narrator appears and talks to the audience (I'm assuming it's similar to the play) but with him popping up and giving information, the movie felt like Christmas cartoons--You know, like Rudolph etc. In my opinion, at least for the movie, the narrator should have been left out. 

For me, he was intrusive and didn't add anything to the story. Maybe if he just introduced the movie at the beginning and then allowed it to play out, it would be more enjoyable. 

I know the plays spans 12 years, but it skips quickly and the third skip ahead gets a little confusing. *A spoiler alert is coming!!**

Emily Webb appears to die in childbirth and has an entire scene where she looks back on life and realizes that no one really takes time to appreciate life while it's happening, but later she's in her bed with the baby and her husband it peeking in through the door at her, so I  was confused. Did she die? Maybe this is clear in the stage performance but in the movie, after she accepts death we see her lying there with a newborn baby in her arms.

While watching the movie, I thought she had a near death experience, but lived because of that scene. I was mistaken. 

I don't feel like the movie was a waste of time, but It's not something I'd watch again or a move I'd recommend to others. 

Happy Reading! (and watching) 

Publication News and a Review!

Got my first review of "The Sofa Monster" On LitPick! Here's the link!

Thank you, Anissa for your kind review!

I also have publication news. Several of my short stories are available to read in various online publications. 

"East of Omaha" is a short story about a rather unusual case of mistaken identity. You can read it here at Scarlet Leaf Review

"Hunting the Scullywiggins" is a mystery story, sprinkled with a little humor and a little twist at the end. You can read it in Penny Shorts.

"Maybe Tomorrow" is a 100-word story about anxiety that you can at The Drabble.

These sites also allow comments, so feel free to leave any comments you may have. 

Upcoming: "Give It A Few Days" is a short story about a woman who refuses to accept the truth...even after it assaults her nostrils! It's dark humor, and it's coming to Bewildering Stories on August 5th! 

I hope you have time to stop by and if you like any of these stories, you're sure to enjoy the short stories in my Flashes of Fiction books on Kindle.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Giveaway!! Woot!!

I'm having a giveaway for Alfred C. Bogeyman.
It's started yesterday and runs through March 11th at midnight. Click here to follow my Amazon page and have a chance to win. 
The book is a short story for Kindle. 

Book Blurb:
Three friends, Adrian, Sean, and Ralph, set out to find the boogieman and make him stop scaring Adrian's younger brother. With the help of Ralph's Dog, Socks, the boys track and battle the boogieman living behind the park.

Here are a few reviews:

From Author Jenny Twist via Goodreads:

Adrian is the man of the house now so it’s his job to protect his little brother. When the bogeyman starts coming to the house every night and frightening Sam to death he decides to deal with it. Together he, his two friends and Socks the dog set off to find the bogeyman and give him a taste of his own medicine.

A delightful story which takes you straight back to those dreadful childhood fears which had to be tackled alone because no grown-up ever believed you. 

Ms Allman has once again come up with a new twist on an old theme – and done it in an entertaining and superbly well-written way. Very satisfying.

Jocelyn Sanchez via Goodreads:
This was a very cute and fun story. I really enjoyed reading it and having a few laughs with Ralph, Sean, and Adrian. 

This short story is about three children named Ralph, Sean, and Adrian who believe that the boogieman is scaring Adrian's little brother Sam. Adrian is the brave one in the group, Ralph is the brains, while Sean is afraid of everything. Feeling the need to protect his little brother Adrian and the boys go on a mission to find the boogieman and teach him a lesson. They come up with a plan to use Sean's dog Socks to track down the boogieman and scare him. I don't want to give too much away but I'll say I really liked the ending of the story and really enjoyed reading about Sean, Adrian, and Ralph. It was a really good read!

Here is the link to reviews via students reviews on LitPick

Go enter to win! and Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Where'd You Come Up With That?! Wednesdays~ The Sofa Monster

In this story, Sammy is scared when a creature emerges from the couch cushions. The monster is a hodge-podge of things lost down the sofa cushions, like loose change, candy, toothpicks, and old shoe strings. 

Sammy tries to tell his parents about the sofa monster, but they don't believe him. Later, the monster is hiding under the dinner table, and he helps Sammy get rid of his peas so he can have dessert. Then he finds the monster hiding under his bed. The monster is nice, so Sammy crawls under the bed with him and is surprised when he finds out what the Sofa Monster wants. Together they make a deal so that both he and Sofa Monster get what they want. 

This story came to me as I was cleaning underneath the couch cushions and in the cracks. I really don't know how all that stuff gets in there, but I never know what I'm going to find. That got me thinking about what happens to the "stuff" that gets lost in the cracks. There could be a whole different world in those sofa cushions!

I think anyone with kids can relate to finding "stuff"  in odd places. You never know what kids will do when you're not looking. 

And from there the Sofa Monster was born! 

You can find the book on Amazon and directly from the publisher Pen It! Publications.

The Sofa Monster is also listed on LitPick for student reviews. 

Happy Reading!