Category Archives: Comedy

Sassy and Fun: It Don’t Mean A Thing by Kim Taylor Blakemore

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It Don’t Mean a Thing

Kim Taylor Blakemore

Genre: Romance, Historical

Publisher: SilkWords

Date of Publication: August 4, 2014

ASIN: B00MG4C1E6

Word Count:  20,535 pick-your-path story

Book Description: 

Ruby dreams of Hollywood. A chance encounter with The Harmoneers, an all-female jazz group, offers the opportunity of a lifetime. Follow the gang as they scheme and double-cross.

And love?

Well, it don’t mean a thing.

Excerpt:coverBlakemore

Sycamore Grove, California

1931

“I’m not marrying you, Audie McCardle. I most certainly am not.” Ruby Banks crossed her arms, pressed her lips tight, and gave a definitive shake of her head. She leaned toward the mirror over her hand-me-down vanity and stabbed a pin into her blonde curls. She twisted her head left and right, and fluffed the back of her hair. A strange tint of pink ran loose through the strands and waves. Maybe she should have been more careful with the mixture of peroxide and ammonia she’d used the previous night.

But between her mother running up the stairs and hugging her close, her father taking his pipe from his mouth long enough to yell that the hair potion was causing him an onset of lung disorder, and her little sister, Charlotte, jumping around and squawking nonsense about weddings weddings weddings, Ruby botched the dye job.

Never mind, she thought. If anyone asked, she’d say it was exactly the color she was hoping for.

Or she wouldn’t say anything at all. Jean Harlow wouldn’t say anything. Of that Ruby Banks was sure.

She snatched her apron from the end of her bed, bounded down the narrow stairs, and ignored her mother calling from the kitchen. Ruby pushed open the front gate and darted down the sidewalk. She was late (as usual) for her morning shift at the diner, and she still had to pick up the pies from Mrs. Jensen on the next block.

The early morning sun promised another day of horrible Central California heat. The sky would soon brown with the upturned soils of the fields, and the air already stank from the cows.

A beat-up Model T stake-bed truck rolled past Ruby. She heard the tires slow on the hard-packed soil of the street. Gears ground, and the truck reversed and pulled next to her.

John Mayer shifted his stub of a cigar to the other side of his mouth, tilted back his fedora, and smiled. His skin was bronze and wrinkled. He rubbed a weathered thumb across his chin. “Guess congratulations are in order.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Ruby lifted her head and continued walking. John Mayer kept the truck rolling slowly in reverse.

“Fine boy, Audie is.”

“So everyone says.”

“You make a sweet couple.”

“We’re not a couple.”

He scratched the shirt on his chest. “You don’t say.”

“He can buy any house he pleases in the Sears Roebuck catalog, but that doesn’t mean we’re a couple. And it certainly doesn’t mean I’m going to marry him.”

“You don’t say.”

“I do say. I have plans of my own.” She blew back a curl that had come loose. “Don’t you have some hogs to tie or something like that?”

“I don’t have hogs.”

“You know what I’m saying.”

He chewed his cigar then shifted the gears. The truck took a jump and shimmied. “You got a mean streak, Ruby. Yes, miss, you do.” With that, he was off down the road in a swirl of dirt.

Ruby wiped her mouth with her handkerchief. She patted her hair and strode up the wood steps to Mrs. Jensen’s porch. She knocked three times on the screen door frame and stepped back. Mrs. Jensen shuffled to the door, balancing five boxes of peach pies.

Only the top of half of her face was visible above the stack. She passed the boxes to Ruby and wiped her hands on a flour-coated apron. “I hear congratulations are in order.”

“Aw, nuts.”

Ruby’s heels cracked against the pavement. She passed the Esso station and VFW Hall and drew near the two blocks that made up Sycamore Grove’s downtown. The neon spire of the Odeon dwarfed the squat brick of its neighbors. She glared up, worried that this upcoming non-wedding would be splattered in black and white across the marquee. Luckily not. It remained safely Gable and Harlow in Red Dust.

Maud Riley stood under the awning of Rexall Drugs, waiting, as she always did, for Ruby. Her gray felt cloche sat low on her head, the nutmeg tufts of her bob feathered under the soft rim. She shifted from foot to foot, tapping her fingers against her black-and mustard-checked skirt. As Ruby neared, Maud narrowed her eyes and blinked fast before shaking her head. She pursed her lips and twisted them into a strained smile.

“What’s wrong with you?” Ruby asked.

Maud’s eyebrows met in a frown. “Nothing. Not a thing.” She waved her hand for no reason that Ruby could ascertain and fell in step beside her. “I guess I have to wish —”

“Don’t you start.” She shifted the pies to her hip. “I can tolerate all the little gifts he gives me. I mean, a girl does need emery boards and cologne. But buying a house? That’s called unbounded impudence.”

“I think it was just a down payment.”

“It’s still a lot of cheek. What does he think? I’m going to roll over like a, like a starving dog and do whatever he commands?” Ruby stopped in front of the diner, set the boxes on the cement and faced Maud. “He hasn’t even asked me to marry him. And you know what? When he does, I’m going to laugh like this — HA-ha. Because I’ve got all that money Aunt Caroline left me, and come September, I’m going to take the bus to Merced and then the train to Hollywood. And in neither of those vehicles can you fit a Sears and Roebuck house and an ego the size of Audie McCardle’s. And when he comes in for breakfast, I’m going to tell him so.”

Maud crossed her arms over her thin frame and swayed back and forth.

“You got something to say, just say it.”

Maud bit her lip and shrugged.

“What does that mean?”

“It means nothing.” Maud swung her gaze around the street and up at the Odeon spire and then stared over her shoulder at the empty diner. “You like my skirt?”

“What?”

“I wore it just for you. So you could see how the pattern came out. And such.” She gave that funny wave again, as if she were swatting a big bug. “Never mind. I’ve got an early piano lesson to give.”

“Well, don’t let me keep you.” Ruby bent to pick up the pies. “Would you mind opening the door for me? I mean, if you have time.”

“I always have time for you.”

“Are you all right?”

“Of course I’m all right. Why?”

“You’re red as a beet.”

Maud put the flats of her palms against her cheeks, turned on her heel, and rushed away, the bell of her skirt flapping against her knees.

“But the door, Maud … ”

blakemoreAbout the Author:

Kim Taylor Blakemore writes historical fiction and romance that explores women’s lives and brings their struggles and triumphs out of the shadows of history and onto the canvas of our American past. She wishes to share the stories of women whose lives are untold, who don’t exist in textbooks: the disenfranchised, the forgotten, those with double lives and huge hearts filled with weakness and courage.

Her novel Bowery Girl, set in 1883 Lower Eastside Manhattan was recently re-released in Kindle and paperback. Under the Pale Moon, is due for release in Fall 2015. Set in post-World War II Monterey, California, it explores the relationship of a married woman breaking the bonds of conformity, and a combat nurse haunted by the ghosts of war.

Her interactive historical romances The Very Thought of You and It Don’t Mean a Thing, are out now on Kindle and SilkWords.com. She is also the author of the novel  Cissy Funk, winner of the WILLA Literary Award for Best Young Adult Fiction.

She’s a member of the Historical Novel Society, Women Writing the West and Romance Writers of America. In addition to writing novels, she facilitates workshops for PDX Writers in Portland, Oregon.

Web: www.kimtaylorblakemore.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kimtaylorblakemore

Twitter: @kimrtaylor

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Review – “The Naked Storyteller” by Laura Michelle Thomas

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The Naked Storyteller

by Laura Michelle Thomas

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Comedy

NakedStorytellerCoverBook Description:

Harry Tyke is a flabby, divorced grade-six teacher on the verge of a monumental mid-life crisis when he unexpectedly ends up in a storytelling workshop taught by a creative, free-thinking teacher-turned-storyteller named Olga. The workshop awakens Harry’s long dead romantic side and hurls him into stories from his past, including his decision to give up on his dream of being a novelist to please his parents, a decision this classroom-weary teacher can no longer live with as he sags into his fifties.

Questioning contemporary ideas of what makes a happy and productive life in an increasingly digital world, this romantic comedy––set in Vancouver, Canada––will have you cheering for this unlikely leading man from start to finish.

Purchase Links:

(iTunes) https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-naked-storyteller/id909123422?mt=11

(Kindle Amazon.ca) http://www.amazon.ca/Naked-Storyteller-Laura-Michelle-Thomas-ebook/dp/B00MO0DF9W

(Kindle Amazon.com) http://www.amazon.com/Naked-Storyteller-Laura-Michelle-Thomas-ebook/dp/B00MO0DF9W

Review: 

The Naked Storyteller is an interesting tale of one man’s life as he searches for hope, love and forgiveness after years of living in disappointment. Harry Tyke is an overweight, unkempt, middle-aged teacher on the cusp of an emotional breakdown. He doesn’t like or understand the attitude and actions of his students. He dutifully takes care of a mother who viciously attacks him. He is ridiculed by students and faculty. And he is filled with regret for never pursuing his passion for writing.

His life sucks. But it’s about to get better . . . before it gets worse.

Harry is jarred out of his misery and bitterness at an educational conference by the sight of a striking woman in bright red heels. His best friend, James, is also intrigued and immediately launches a campaign to woo and bed the workshop presenter, Olga. Her training module is entitled “The Naked Storyteller”, sending both men into sexual fantasies about the woman and her red shoes. It is later explained that the title stems from her time in Mexico where she was forced to teach children without aid of books, paper or pens. She relied solely on storytelling and achieved remarkable results.

James is quickly shot down in his pursuit, surprised to find Olga’s attention focused more on his messy, ill mannered friend. Harry is even more surprised than James. As Harry attempts to use his storytelling skills to teach a class of unruly students, he realizes his style is missing something. He asks for Olga’s advice. Through her tutilege, he breaks the barriers and finally garners his student’s attention and respect. Unfortunately, he does so by sharing questionable details about his life including his mother’s stern actions, catching his wife with another man, ejecting her from his house while she is clad in leopard panties and being forced into a teaching career by his parents in return for the ownership of their upscale home. Needless to say, not all the parents are happy with the content of Harry’s “lessons” and soon complain to the principal.

The rest of the novel deals with Harry’s metamorphosis from unhappy to happy and dealing with his mother’s lies and rejection. Along the way, he and Olga must also overcome some relationship issues . . . trust being one of them.

The Naked Storyteller is touted as a comedy but I feel satirical is more appropriate. It’s a character driven tale so the pace moves a bit slower than a story with more drama. However, following Harry Tyke’s bumpy journey from miserable, brow beaten man to someone who follows his dream with confidence is a fascinating study in human nature.

Ms. Thomas has penned a compelling novel that will keep readers cheering and jeering for the unlikely hero while remaining sympathetic to the unfortunate events in his life. You’ll enjoy it.

LauraAbout the Author:

LAURA MICHELLE THOMAS is an author with an opinion on just about everything she thinks is wrong with contemporary life in North America (which, in her opinion, is just about everything). Harry Tyke, the 52-year-old protagonist of The Naked Storyteller, is who Laura might be if she wasn’t the author of her own life and had a beard. When she’s not writing and telling her family to buzz off and let her work, she’s runs a very busy website through which she fosters the development of young writers around the world through free annual writing contests, young writers conferences and other inspirational stuff. With the assistance of her team of junior bloggers, editors and artists, Laura has the privilege of being publisher and senior editor of an international e-zine for young writers called jaBlog! To find out what novel project Laura is working on now, please visit her website (www.laurathomascommunications.com) and click on “Novels by Laura Michelle Thomas.”

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PollyWantstoBeaWriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LauraThomasComm

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7329741.Laura_Michelle_Thomas