Always a Bridesmaid

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Being an unknown writer poses numerous challenges these days, chief among them is getting people to read your books. One way of doing that is to enter contests, some of which review the book you enter. That is something. That my books usually make the finalists lists for their categories feeds my optimism that one of them will eventually win something. Even making the cut as a finalist gets the book some exposure, if only to other contestants and the reviewers. And there is always the hope a reviewer is someone important who might see the genius in the book that other, lesser, minds have missed.

When an email from Beach Book Festival arrived in my in-basket, I perked up. My Tookie books would be perfect beach reads. So, I entered the first one, the one Midwest Book Review* raved about, Only Tim Sent Flowers. Selecting a genre is always a challenge, especially since these contests don’t standardize the choices. I picked General Fiction, mostly as a default, and shifted my focus to other things.

Outlook has a nasty habit of shunting emails off to the spam folder almost randomly. This “feature” caused me to miss several important messages before I became aware of it. Now, I make a habit of checking the spam folder for good messages—except when I’m overloaded. While making a routine scan early this week, I was pleasantly surprised to find a message informing me that my book had made the winners’ list, meaning that it was either a winner, runner-up or honorable mention. A quick check of the BeachBookFestival.com revealed that Only Tim Sent Flowers came in second. Seeing eight other books listed as honorable mention gave me some consolation: my book was at least in the top 20%.

Contest officials wouldn’t tell me how many books were entered in my category but did say only 5% place. I chose to ignore the horse racing meaning of the term and interpreted place as meaning “getting placed on their winners’ list somewhere. That makes me feel better.

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Banned by Facebook

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Banned by FacebookAfter posting my previous blog message on Facebook, complete with book cover image, I received a notification, to use Facebook jargon, to “boost” my message’s reach. I almost simultaneously received a ten-dollar bonus to be used toward my next Facebook ad. So, thinking it wasn’t going to cost me anything, I shot the entire wad on a 1-day ad to American women 30 or older.

Things were going swimmingly, as far as things can on Facebook, until $7.01 had been burned without an additional like. I then received another notification informing me that Facebook had blocked my ad for the following reasons:

Your ad wasn’t approved because it doesn’t follow our Advertising Policies by featuring an image containing excessive amounts of skin or suggestive content. Facebook does not allow images that depict people in explicit or suggestive positions, or images that show nudity or cleavage – even if portrayed for artistic or educational reasons.

How to fix: We recommend using content that focuses on your product or service in a non-sexual manner.

If you’ve read our policies and think that we made a mistake, you can request a second review by our team.

Given how little value Facebook ads have provided in the past, I decided to let the whole thing drop. Advertising a book without showing its cover doesn’t make sense to me. It does seem odd that Facebook would suggest “boosting” a message that contained the offending image.

 

 

Yet Another Finding Mr. Wrong Review

Sheri Hoyte of Reader Views reviewed Finding Mr. Wrong:

“Finding Mr. Wrong” is the fascinating sequel to “Only Tim Sent Flowers” by George Kaplan, featuring Tookie, a girl on a mission. Her goal: to have a child – well, more specifically, a daughter of her very own. With the days of her reproductive opportunities whittling away, there’s no time to be picky with her prospects, any sperm donor will do. Or will they? After several ‘Mr. Wrongs’ Tookie realizes she wants her daughter to have a father figure in her life – an inconvenience to be sure, drastically limiting the number of qualifying candidates, as well as the chance for success.

Wow, this book was such an entertaining read! I fell in love with the author’s voice immediately. With a quick wit, a seemingly limitless imagination, and a sharp tongue, Kaplan brings Tookie to life in full magnificent display. Tookie’s trysts from man-to-man and bed-to-bed in search of the perfect partner are hilarious, and Kaplan uses his gift with dialogue to keep the story flowing almost impulsively, and always enticingly. What I want to know is how does Kaplan capture the very essence of Tookie’s personality? It’s almost like he has lived through her experiences directly! So fun!

Tookie’s character is only matched, in my opinion, by Rose, mother of one of Tookie’s conquests. Rose is on a mission as well – to find a vessel for her son to provide her with grandchildren. When Rose and Tookie go head-to head, it’s hard to imagine who will come out on top. “Finding Mr. Wrong” is character-driven action at its finest.

I have a horrible habit of reading series books out of order, and though “Finding Mr. Wrong” stands solidly on its own, I will definitely be back-pedaling to read “Only Tim Sent Flowers,” so I can learn more about how Tookie came to be the woman she is in this story. I highly recommend “Finding Mr. Wrong” by George Kaplan as an engaging humorous read that will leave readers wanting more.

http://readerviews.com/reviewkaplanfindingmrwrong

Someone Likes Me

Not only did a positive review of Finding Mr. Wrong arrive from Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews. Her announcement included an additional surprise, a very special something extra that is described at the bottom of this post.

4 Stars Absolutely a lot of fun.

Tookie is one of those characters you don’t soon forget. She has Asperger’s but that does not stop her from wanting what she wants, loving life, and doing whatever she wants to do. This time, she wants a child. It’s more than just desiring to have a child, the husband comes first … and a great story, and I am a fan of Kaplan, and of Tookie’s. I read Only Tim Sent Flowers which was a wonderful read, and though it’s not required of this story, that should be read first, if only to set the tone for Tookie, and her interesting life and perception of life. Great story.

Your name is now on my top 20 Authors of 2018 list.

As far as I know, this is the first time I’ve been mentioned as a favorite of anyone! You can imagine my shock to see my name at the top of the list.

Link to Top 20: http://writeramyshannon.wixsite.com/bookshelfreviews/top-twenty-authors

I Read Too Nuch

Beautiful Red Head Woman With Freckle SmilingAnother review just came in for Finding Mr. Wrong. This one is from Patricia Hamill of I Read Too Much fame:

Finding Mr. Wrong is exactly as described. Tookie is back, and in her direct way, she has begun her search for a man who will provide her with a daughter and stick around to help her raise her. This story, while channeling Tookie’s quest in a straightforward manner, still tugs at the heart. All the close, but not quite right fits. Tookie has her standards. And then she’s running out of time. Truly, I found myself fretting at her single-mindedness. Her lowering of standards in favor of getting the one thing she refuses to give up, a daughter of her own. But though it frustrated me, it came across as true to character. And in the end, she really doesn’t mind landing with Mr. Wrong, so long as she gets what she signed up for in the bargain.

The struggle to control her urges and desires in her quest to land a stable father for her future daughter added an interesting edge to this installment in Tookie’s story. There’s a lot of growth for her, and she tackles much of her previously destructive behavior in the process.

On the downside, I found it hard at times to suspend reality and accept her as a realistic portrayal of a woman. She can be jarring in her words and tendencies. I’m not entirely certain whether it was intentional or otherwise. I want to believe it was intentional. Overall, I really liked the story, though I was frustrated for Tookie. Folks who enjoyed Only Tim Sent Flowers will likely enjoy this one, too.

 

Review of Finding Mr. Wrong

Reader Views masthead

This review of Finding Mr. Wrong just arrived:

Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (4/18)

“Finding Mr. Wrong” is the fascinating sequel to “Only Tim Sent Flowers” by George Kaplan, featuring Tookie, a girl on a mission. Her goal: to have a child – well, more specifically, a daughter of her very own. With the days of her reproductive opportunities whittling away, there’s no time to be picky with her prospects, any sperm donor will do. Or will they? After several ‘Mr. Wrongs’ Tookie realizes she wants her daughter to have a father figure in her life – an inconvenience to be sure, drastically limiting the number of qualifying candidates, as well as the chance for success.

Wow, this book was such an entertaining read! I fell in love with the author’s voice immediately. With a quick wit, a seemingly limitless imagination, and a sharp tongue, Kaplan brings Tookie to life in full magnificent display. Tookie’s trysts from man-to-man and bed-to-bed in search of the perfect partner are hilarious, and Kaplan uses his gift with dialogue to keep the story flowing almost impulsively, and always enticingly. What I want to know is how does Kaplan capture the very essence of Tookie’s personality? It’s almost like he has lived through her experiences directly! So fun!

Tookie’s character is only matched, in my opinion, by Rose, mother of one of Tookie’s conquests. Rose is on a mission as well – to find a vessel for her son to provide her with grandchildren. When Rose and Tookie go head-to head, it’s hard to imagine who will come out on top. “Finding Mr. Wrong” is character-driven action at its finest.

I have a horrible habit of reading series books out of order, and though “Finding Mr. Wrong” stands solidly on its own, I will definitely be back-pedaling to read “Only Tim Sent Flowers,” so I can learn more about how Tookie came to be the woman she is in this story. I highly recommend “Finding Mr. Wrong” by George Kaplan as an engaging humorous read that will leave readers wanting more.

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Second Tookie Book Released

FMW cover with outline.pngLast Saturday, even though Tookie wasn’t wearing green, her favorite color, probably due to her red hair, her publisher, Black Opal Books, released the second book in the series named after her. Finding Mr. Wrong picks up where Only Tim Sent Flowers left off. After being dumped unceremoniously by Isaac and convalescing with first boyfriend Tim, Tookie unwinds on a windjammer cruise unmolested (her satirical term for making out, an activity she thoroughly enjoyed) with girls from work.

A chance remark by one of her shipmates, who’d had too much wine, piqued her curiosity about mechanical devices as a substitute for a man on dateless nights. After a few tests, she shelved her long-held restriction against props.

Her biological clock ticked deafeningly and no vibrator could get her the daughter she longed to have. Acquiring a husband and getting pregnant, not necessarily in that order, became her highest priority. She broadened her filter and accepted dates from men should would have ignored before. Tookie’s main criteria became an income capable of supporting her daughter in the manner she wished she had lived and an ability to impregnate her. She even started going to church.

She “auditioned” man after man, but none proved adequate until she was set up on a blind date with an engineer her age who still lived at home. That his old-country mother wanted grandchildren was a major point in his favor. But would his mother squelch the deal after her P.I. uncovered some of Tookie’s indiscretions?

If you’re interested in reviewing Finding Mr. Wrong, contact me.

Blocking the Boys

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swimmers cartoonHow do we give the girl sperms a major edge over the boys? Men have little control over the proportion of female to male sperms they produce. They just produce a mix of about equal numbers of each. So, it’s up to the woman to take control.

Sperm must swim through the uterus to have any chance at reaching the egg and fertilizing it. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on one’s viewpoint, the uterus isn’t a neutral environment in which all sperms are treated equally. Depending on the woman’s diet, her vagina’s pH may be acidic or alkaline. An acidic follicular fluid favors female sperm by rendering male sperms weak and directionless. How may a woman cause the pH of her follicular fluid to be acidic?

Eating a diet higher in magnesium, calcium, and acidic foods such as corn, meat, beans, fish, plums, coffee, eggs, liver, and yoghurt and avoiding alkaline foods such as bananas, oranges, potatoes and watermelon create an acidic environment. Supplements such as calcium, folic acid, magnesium, and vitamin C help make the cervical mucus acidic.

Men can help by keeping his genitals warm because heat destroys male sperms faster than females.

According to The Shettles Theory, boy sperm travels faster and have a shorter life span. Having sex two or three days prior to ovulation pretty much guarantees few male sperms will still be alive to do the deed.

The depth of penetration during intercourse affects where the sperm will be deposited in the vagina. Shallow penetration leaves the sperm near the acidic entrance to the vagina where deeper penetration favors male sperm.

While none of these approaches have been proven to work and would never guarantee a girl, they could help. Regardless, testing them could be quite enjoyable.

 

Stacking the Chromosome Deck

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spermsWhen Tookie’s biological clock became perceptible to her near the end of Only Tim Sent Flowers, her wish to have a daughter of her own became a quest. Finding Mr. Wrong journals her pursuit of that goal. Unknown to her (and the author). Methods exist to stack a woman’s deck in favor of conceiving a daughter rather than a son. Before exploring those options, a little biological background is needed.

All sperm cells men produce are not equal: some carry an x-chromosome (female sperm) and others carry a y-chromosome (male sperm). When the sperm fertilizes a woman’s egg 23 chromosomes (only one of which is a sex chromosome) from the sperm and 23 chromosomes from the egg normally fuse together, forming an XX or XY pair for the child. Since the egg only carries x-chromosomes, the sex of the child is determined by the sperm cell that fertilizes it. So, if a female sperm does the deed, an XX pair results and the baby will be a girl. But if a male sperm succeeds, an XY pair is created and a boy is created. Since a male injects millions of sperms into the mother to be with each orgasm, getting pregnant must be as easy as falling onto your back. Wrong!

A woman can usually only get pregnant during a single 12-24 hour period each month, when she’s ovulating. That’s actually a good thing if you want a girl—like Tookie does—because it limits the time the aggressive male sperms have to impregnate her. Left to their own devices, male sperms slightly outperform their female competitors with 51% of conceptions being boys. For our heroine to get the daughter she yearns, it’s necessary to set the stage to female sperms’ advantage.

Sperm cells differ in more ways than the chromosomes they carry. That female sperms are more resilient to acidic environments than are male sperms, may be the key to Tookie finding a daughter in her womb. An acidic uterus will kill off most of the males trying to find her egg, but there’s more to getting the opportunity to buy pink baby clothes than that.

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