Faces

Faces

The Ragtag daily prompt this morning was THINGS WITH FACES.

An intriguing prompt! I’ve turned it over in my mind, thinking of the many objects that have — or could have — faces. Toys…pictures…paintings…book covers… AH!

What better place to find faces than in a book store or library? As you walk in the door you’re greeted with numerous book covers set on display to entice you. And in the library there are many magazines with faces from the current news, sports and Hollywood looking back at you.

Wander into Adult fiction section. Have you noticed that it’s uncommon in our day to find actual faces; for some reason the current fad in book covers seems to be someone walking away.

The Girl from Ballymor

In the mystery and thriller section and you may find classics like Hercule Poirot detecting on the Orient Express. In recently published books you still find a few faces peeking at you.

I'll Walk Alone: A Novel by [Clark, Mary Higgins]

Check out the romance section and you’ll see the faces of sweethearts — and dozens of millionaire bachelors of all shades — looking back at you hopefully, wistfully, defiantly. What is it with millionaire bachelors nowadays that they’re swamping the romance section? Albeit a good catch.

Her Awkward Blind Date with the Billionaire (Billionaire Bachelor Cove) by [McConnell, Lucy]

In the History and Biography aisles you’re apt to see faces you recognize instantly.

King.Gordon Johnson.png
Gordon Johnson – Pixabay
non-violence-1158316_640
John Hain – Pixabay

Cookbooks often have the cook’s face smiling at you, holding their latest culinary masterpiece.

The section for teens features a selection of ordinary faces, high-school types trying to navigate the problems of today, plus the graphically rendered faces of superheroes and the gruesome spectres of vampires, zombies, etc.

ZSA teen sad

In the children’s section, especially among the old favourites, you’ll see rather unusual faces.

MaryP.ChaminaGallery
Chamina Gallery – Pixabay
Lion.Oberhoster Venita
Venita Oberholster – Pixabay

Flip the books over and read the back cover blurbs, where you’ll usually see the face of the writers, hoping with all their hearts you’ll get hooked on their books and read — or better yet buy — everything they write.

Stroll up to the archives and you’ll see the face of anyone who’s ever been someone in your area.

Yes, libraries and books stores are great places to find faces new and old.

Appreciating the Good Things

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American neighbours!

Family
Gordon Johnson – Pixabay

I hope you’re all having a great day with family and friends, giving thanks for all the wonderful people and blessings in your lives today. Granted, there’s always something that could be better, but a whole lot of people in the world would gladly trade places with us here in North America. Which reminds me…

A Great Thanksgiving Day Read

Awhile back I read a really inspiring book and this is the perfect day to tell you about it. Stories to Remember is written by Dr Pedro Garcia, an educator who immigrated to the USA from Castro’s Cuba while still in his teens. He and his brother came first and their parents were able to join them later. They’ve made successful lives in the States and Dr Gracia really appreciates all the freedoms he’s enjoyed in his adopted homeland.

You could say he doesn’t see the trees for the forest. Rather than elaborating on all the malfeasance of current politicians, he focuses on the vast forest of freedom and opportunity that exists in the USA.

Some of his stories are from a Christian perspective; the majority are his personal experiences. He writes of coming to the American Midwest and making the country his home, also about his work as an educator in various cities. All the way through he points to the blessings and successes he’s enjoyed through the years. Delightfully upbeat, well worth reading.


Those of you who subscribe to Kindle Unlimited can read it for free.

 

Lovers Love Leaves

Zephyrs

zephyrs rustle
the fallen leaves
around our feet–
your laughter
my stale jokes
two lovers loving
autumn leaves
Flourish.Gordon Johnson

If you enjoy my poems you may be interested in my anthology of stories and poems. The e-book sells on Amazon for $3.99 US, the paperback for $10.99. This collection would make a great home-and-family type Christmas gift, especially for a nature lover.

cover page

I’ve  just checked the status of this book on Amazon’s KINDLE SELECT and I appear to have missed the cancellation date. Consequently SILVER MORNING SONG will be free to read, for subscribers of Kindle Select, until Feb 8th, 2020.

PS: The little flourish under my poem was done by Gordon Johnson and is one of the free images at Pixabay.

Disillusioned!

I’ve heard that you shouldn’t believe everything you read, so maybe this article isn’t true. Maybe this lady doesn’t really post five-star reviews on Amazon for stuff she’s never tried. The article is fiction — or at least distortion of the facts.

But maybe it is true. Maybe she does. And maybe there are dozens of others like her?

If today’s writing challenge were the word Dismayed, Dishonest, False, or even Phony, I’d have an easier time launching into this. But the Ragtag Daily Prompt word today is PASSAGE.

Well then, I’ve just made a swift passage from credulity to incredulity.

When I turn on my computer in the morning I get a selection of interesting news articles to choose from. This morning BuzzFeed News offered an intriguing headline about  someone who writes fake reviews of products and posts them on Amazon. READ IT HERE.

Those of us who write and have books listed on Amazon know how important reviews are. Potential readers scan the lists of books in their genre and decide — often based on reviews left by other readers — whether the book is worth their reading time. And I know there was a time when friends, relatives, and fans of this particular writer would load Amazon with glowing reviews. At times, having read the book myself, I’d shake my head and scroll down a page, where I’d see more honest reviews. “Poorly written,” “needs editing,” “grammar mistakes and typos,” “limp characters.”

Amazon has weeded out a lot of these reviews by ruling that only VERIFIED PURCHASERS may review and NO REVIEWS IN EXCHANGE FOR a free book or an equally glowing review of the other writer’s book. There was a time when small companies could make a profit by selling reviews to authors. Now the rule is NO PAID REVIEWS.

But I gather from the article I’ve just read that there are loopholes and some people are finding quite lucrative ones. Free products and even financial reimbursements from the advertiser, lots of freebies that make good gifts for friends.

While she may make some negative comments, the Reviewer in this article gives five-star reviews on all products, not matter what she actually thinks of them — or if she even tries them. But one day a co-worker asked about a product she’d reviewed and she admitted this is simply a way to get freebies and make a bit on the side. The coworker was disappointed that the review wasn’t honest.

“I definitely feel like I have to keep it a secret from people who have strong morals,” the Reviewer told the article writer.

She admits that for safety reasons she’s afraid to try some electrical devices from lands afar, but gives them a good review anyway. Her boyfriend’s a chemist and has discovered toxic ingredients in some skin care products, so she’s leery of trying them.

According to the article, a lot of her business is with small businesses in China—often claiming to be family-owned. Companies want to get their products taken seriously on Amazon and some are willing to cheat to do it, reimbursing purchasers and even paying a small fee. Sadly, where not-quite-honest people are looking for some small passage through the tangle of rules, they will find it somehow.

Oh, buyer beware!

Good vs Bad

The Ragtag daily prompt word for today is ROUSE;
As my response, I offer the following quote —
plus a bit of wisdom and humor.

Frame art by Rebecca Read – Pixabay

Ruth B.Quote

Corollary #1:
Before you let fiery rhetoric or someone else’s passion rouse you to act, listen objectively to both side and verify all facts. Usually one man’s “Evil!” is another man’s “Truth!”

Right.Px- sheeze
Image: skeeze — Pixabay

 

Words Hard to Work with

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word today is Imperceptible.

This is an interesting word, but a poor choice for a writer’s tool box. Imperceptible means not perceived, neither by the senses — like something no one can see, smell, hear or feel — nor by the understanding. Something sort of “not-there-but-hovering somewhere-awaiting-some-reveal.”

It’s a word writers tend to work around somehow, seeing they have to show in some way, or let their character sense, the emotion or object. Our hero can’t go out in the rain and not see, smell, hear, or feel it, and still somehow know that it’s raining. Likewise they can’t sense a frown or a sneering tone. So authors are inclined to tack “barely” and “almost” onto the word:

 “We expect you gone by sundown, stranger.” Kid Goodson caught the almost imperceptible menace in Black Bart’s tone.
A frown, barely perceptible, darkened the Kid’s brow. “I’m not leaving until I find out what I want to know.” He tossed the bartender two silver dollars and walked out. His ear caught the almost imperceptible sigh of Sally Saloon-Wench.

The thing is, if no one perceives the whatever, there’s not much point in mentioning it, either, unless as a narrator-to-reader aside:

 Indignation, as yet imperceptible to Kid Goodson, was simmering in the bosoms of the town folks. Looks were exchanged and heads silently shook as unspoken sentiments were shared by the listeners. They weren’t going to stand for a show-down in their streets.

No, imperceptible isn’t a word story writers are apt to employ very often. News commentators, on the other hand, may use it at times.

Initially the jury seemed completely swayed by Slick Lawyer’s defense presentation, but at some point an imperceptible shift took place. When the jurors returned from deliberation the defense was shocked to hear their unanimous. “We find the defendant guilty as charged.”

 “While Governor Lord ruled the state, the majority of voters seemed quite content to let him. However, when his successor Tyson Rant took office, an imperceptible grassroots discontent soon began to make itself felt.”

Like smouldering coals, feelings aren’t usually unperceived for very long. Sooner or later Ty Rant is going to see signs of that grassroots discontent.
 “One day the Governor found a dozen dead ducks on his doorstep. The next day university students staged a sit-in on his lawn. A week later farmers blockaded his driveway with hay bales while old ladies carried protest signs and boys pelted his house with rotten tomatoes.
 “Slowly, almost imperceptibly, he became aware that his constituents just weren’t happy with him.”

And thus ends my discourse on this unusual word.