Random Pics, Newsy Chat (with Contest Reminder) and a Little Bit About TV and Book Reviews

Good evening and happy Monday, All! Finally the weekend came and I was able to catch up on some of my reading. I was pretty psyched a couple of Saturdays ago because I started Richard III (by David Baldwin) at 08:00 and finished it that night! I’d read chunky passages of the book before but never cover to cover, and it was well worth the day. I do have a Richard III tab up top—or click here—that I haven’t been keeping up with, so you will see changes to this coming in the days ahead, and I invite readers to submit links for resources you would like to share, found useful, etc. I daresay you will be hearing more from me re: Richard, with a nice surprise coming in July.

There’s another nice little thing coming up next week, and that is the announcement of winners for the contest I am holding as a way to thank people for following my little blog all these years. I deleted one of my social media accounts, which cut my followers roughly in half, and I’ve been so busy lately that I didn’t advertise this quite as much as I wanted to and should have, so any shares you can give will be much appreciated. And what are they? Well, I’m gifting two $10 Amazon cards on Valentine’s Day, so if you’d like to win one of them, click here to find out how! I probably won’t win, you say? Why would you say that? Someone has to win, why not you!? Give it a shot and see what happens!

Speaking of Amazon: One of the books I just started reading, Strong Advice, is one I actually gifted my son for Christmas (we are both interested in this book). I surely paid too much for it, but, as far as I can tell, its author, Nzube Udezue (aka Zuby, rap musician, author, podcaster and computer science graduate [Oxford]), works independent of this behemoth, which increases his own expenses, and I wanted to support his brand, through which he cares about people and their ability to do the best for their bodies and health as they can. I didn’t really interact very much with him when ordering and after, but when I did email (a couple of times), his response was very timely, cheerful and customer-service oriented.

As for the book, I have skimmed it (a bit heavily) so far, and have a date with it later this evening. A word about this small work, though, is that it’s not the sort you read cover to cover and then put on the shelf. Provided you find currency with what it advocates, you have to live it. So, once I read it all, well, I do have to return it to its owner, but I will be referring to it until what it teaches me becomes absorbed enough that I won’t need to so frequently reference it. I will say, though, that Zuby’s chosen writing style is not only accessible, but also real—as in he speaks like a real person and as if you are real, not unlike an informed casual conversation that you walk away determined to follow up on. That adds to the encouraging nature of its advice, and of what I have read thus far, I don’t feel reads like some elevated being passing down to me, but rather as I have said above, a real person who actually is in touch with the sorts of concerns I have.

Continue reading “Random Pics, Newsy Chat (with Contest Reminder) and a Little Bit About TV and Book Reviews”

A Few of My Favorite Things

Lately for some reason I’ve encountered a lot of “What is your favorite ____?” questions. Possibly it is related to lockdown restlessness and trying to find our happy places. Or people could be trying to get to know each other more as individuals in this troubling time.

Whatever the case, it has raised some favorites questions for me, some absurdly easy to answer, others not so much. Some perhaps surprised me a bit because I don’t often think about them, or maybe never would have thought I might choose those answers.

Something nice about moving beyond the typical “favorite color” type questions (though these are still fun) is that we can learn more about ourselves and each other and transition into some really wonderful conversations.

Can you answer any of these questions? Which other questions would you ask?

Favorite lunchbox snack – Something crunchy – maybe crackers or celery with peanut butter.

The Miller’s Daughter by Anne Anderson, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Fairy tale – As a child I tended to return repeatedly to “Rapunzel,” “Rumplestiltskin” and “Hansl and Gretl.”

Game to play outside – Anything involving snow.

Childhood memory – How to choose!? A funny one is that I once told a friend, “I have another sister, you know.” She didn’t believe me, and challenged my claim. “Oh yeah? What’s her name?” She said it with that tone that usually accompanies what today we call the “neck action.” I answered, without hesitation, “Snow White.”

On the poignant side: I once had a dangerously high fever; probably I was two or three years old. My parents were instructed to  put me into a tub filled with ice water. I can still see the look on my father’s face as he carried me toward the tub: it was pained. I didn’t recognize it then, but now I see in it the fear, for me, how this would feel (not pleasant) and how he really didn’t want to do it. I have absolutely no memory of the experience, so I either blocked it out or he never went through with it.

Nursery rhyme – This one is recited while running circles with your fingertip in a child’s open palm: “Roond aboot, roond aboot, goes a wee moose, up a baht, up a baht, tae its wee hoose! (Round about, round about goes a wee mouse, up a bit up a bit to its wee house!) Toward the end you run your fingers, tickly, up the child’s arm and then tickle under their underarm. My mother used to do this.

Bird – Not a big fan of birds, but I do love ravens.

Continue reading “A Few of My Favorite Things”

Some Chatty and Newsy Stuff – Including a Contest!

Be sure to see below for info about how you 
can win one of two $10 Amazon gift cards!

Added note for 2021-2-15 ~ I am very excited to announce that two winners have been drawn for the contest: Joanne Larner and Stephanie Hopkins. Congratulations to both ladies and many thanks for entering the contest and sharing! Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day and hope you enjoy your gift cards!!!

It’s snowing! This means it’s extra lovely, which always chippers up my mood a bit, even if it was already a good one. However, I’m a bit late today with the blog and there’s loads going on, so for now I’m just going to pass on some chatty, newsy stuff and do hope you’ll be excited about it. 🙂

First and foremost: I guess we’re now in 2020 2.0, because people are being extra silly with others’ information, so I’m going to return to my previous way of touching base with authors and they me regarding book reviews. If you are interested in a review, please send an email, telling me a bit about your book, at:

scully_dcATyahooDOTcom

Do note, however, that I will be giving priority to authors I have worked with before. This doesn’t mean that if we’re new to each other then it’s a no go. I set these boundaries because I have a family and work, so I have limited time. By all means, though, do feel free to shoot me your requests.

I also do interviews, feature books and love guest posts and giveaways, so if any of that (or some other idea) strikes your fancy, do touch base and we can chat about that too.

Please see my updated book review policies here. Any questions, feel free to shoot me an email.

Next, what are you reading? Still got any Christmas- or Hanukkah-present books you’re devouring? What about 2021? What are your reading goals for the new year? Do you like to try to read a certain number of books? Any challenges on the horizon, such as trying a new genre, or reading a series? Read about presidents? Books that have become movies? Tell me about it all in the comments!

I’m currently reading the Richard III book you see in the sidebar, and have a list of books that I aim to read in this already ridiculous year. That list can be found here. I’ve also got Richard Abbott’s The Liminal Zone nearly finished and will be writing a review, so keep your eyes peeled. If you have any awesome book suggestions, let me know below!

And finally, I’ve got a contest! I’ve been wanting to do this for so long and I’m really excited to get it rolling at last. Part of how I set this up is because I’d like to know more about my readers, which blogs here at Second Sleep you’ve liked best, what is your favorite food or TV show, gifts you were excited to give or receive, best vacation spot, topics you’d like to read about, stuff you think is super weird or food you couldn’t believe you actually ate—anything! Well, anything appropriate, of course. 🙂 Plus I’d like to thank my readers for sticking with me as we all experience ups and downs, changes, periods in which we aren’t sure what we’re doing or where we’re going. This past year has had lots of that especially, but the truth is that stuff  happens to people every day yet they still take the time to come here, which I really appreciate.

Here’s how the contest will work:

  • Comment below about any topic (ok, you all know that I mean no illegal or inappropriate stuff!) AND share at least once in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram OR Goodreads. These are the places I have a presence – and you can do all but only one share location is required. Once I “like” it, you’ll know I’ve seen it, so if I don’t like it, you may want to make sure I’ve seen that you did it by following or tagging me.
  • Each comment and share gets an entry, so just by doing the initial comment and share mentioned above, you’ll get two entries. Each one more of either also will get an entry. Example, if you do the regular share and comment mentioned above you’ve got two. Do three comments you get three more. Share, say, five times and you’ve got five more.
  • If someone tells me on any platform that they knew about the contest from you, you’ll get five entries for that referral alone. Their comment(s) and share(s) will of course earn entries for them.
  • Drawing will be for two Amazon gift cards of $10 (US) each—yes, two winners! Entries can come from anywhere in the world.
  • Drawing will occur February 14, 2021. I’ll aim to contact the two winners straight away and would love to send the gifts as soon as possible, so please ensure you leave me a way to reach you.

My social media links:
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Goodreads

I’d really love to do this again, and am thinking about counting interactions on any blog entries at Before the Second Sleep after today’s, which would count for entries into the next contest, so like, comment, follow and share away!

And most of all, thank you!!! 🙂

The Book of Answers

I was planning to do a blog this weekend with my completed mixed media project – my first ever! Well, at least as an adult and after I went a bit wild with a cool couple of awesome hauls at the thrift stores. (Definitely more about that to come!)

Preview of my take. Those big green books were ten cents each!

For better or worse, my weekend was a bit filled with research reading and paying attention to  my son, who was preparing for two more weeks of Spring Break, extended owing to school closures and COVID-19. Believe it or not, prepping someone bracing himself for a fortnight of nothing scheduled is rather time consuming and even exhausting.

Anyway, so I didn’t get much done (read: I got nothing), though I did organize my pictures this evening. Once I saw how long that took me I knew I wouldn’t have a blog finished and gave it up until tomorrow.

But!

As is so often the case, my friend Vita came to the rescue, with a fantastic gift that I simply had to share with you! She’d texted to let me know she’d dropped something at my door – practicing “social distancing” as we are – including a book for me and one for my son. “I think you will know which book is for each of you!”

When I opened the door I was delighted to find, amongst other items, two books from the Book of Answers series, which I’d become acquainted with when I was gifted The Big Book of Answers at my farewell party from my previous job.

Like the above-mentioned book, each of the two we received today is a fat little bundle of goodness you hold in your hands and focus as you ask it a closed-end question, such as, “Is the job I’m applying for the right one?” or “Should I travel this weekend?” Even better, however, these two are tailor made just for us! OK, well, people like us. 🤭

As a serious film aficionado, Turtle is now the proud owner of The Movie Book of Answers and I, well, what else but The Literary Book of Answers? Yes, indeed, Vita knows us very well!!

And of course, the questions began to fly…

Will I be able to finish my blog tomorrow evening?

“It’s what [you] bring that really counts.” — L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Will I enjoy the book I’m currently reading? (American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins)

“It is worth more than you offer.” – James Fenimore Cooper, The Pioneers

 Then I became a bit more ambitious…

 Will I complete my current WIP within twelve months?

“Control yourself.” – Gustav Flaubert, Madame Bovary

 It’s like magic! Not only do the answers almost always seem to suit the questions asked, but they also can frequently be interpreted in more ways than one. My WIP question’s answer, for example, could be telling me to get over myself or that with the right measure, it could happen!

Turtle got in in the action too:

Will COVID-19 end soon?

“[You] have nothing to lose.” – Lester Burnham, American Beauty

 Will they put Roman Holiday on Blu Ray?

“[What] you do could have repercussions on future events.” – Doc Brown, Back to the Future

 Will A Quiet Place II be a good movie?

“The force will  be with you, always.” – Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi, Star Wars

See what I mean? I suspect a conversation could even get a bit philosophical if anybody were so inclined. For now, though, I’ll just keep it easy and possibly spend a portion of the rest of the evening asking questions and entertaining myself. And until next time, indeed, may “the force be with you, always.”

Stay safe and healthy, peeps, keep busy, remember the Italians who are singing to one another, and be of good cheer!

Grazi, Vita!!!