An All-Star Cast

This week one of the foxes came up with a challenge. At least it was quite a challenge for me. The scenario she posed was, “One of your books gets turned into a movie. Which book would you want it to be and why? Do you have an ideal cast or director?”

I would love to see any of my books made into a movie, but I decided it might be fun to select a cast for my Depression-era novella, Searching for Lady Luck. Why? I think people like a nice feel-good story where the town celebrates a rebirth and the couple gets together. I don’t watch many movies any more, but I remember when I used to watch old movies they were often about someone who had a zany idea that somehow works out for everyone’s good.

For those who haven’t yet read Searching for Lady Luck, here’s the cover and blurb:
SearchingforLadyLuck 500x750Only seven years have passed since Rose Sheffield was a carefree college student, though it seems like a lifetime ago. Her father’s position at a major bank provided her with luxuries she took for granted. Now she works at menial jobs to support herself and her mother, and they live in what used to be their vacation home in Wildwood, New Jersey. Rose’s days are pure drudgery, until she meets Charlie. As luck would have it, she just happens to have the perfect place to display his artwork.

Before the Great Stock market crash of 1929, Charlie Brannigan was hailed as an up and coming artist in Manhattan. But now he’s back at his family home in Wildwood, delivering newspapers in the mornings and selling his paintings on the Boardwalk in the afternoons. He needs some luck in his life, and it seems every time a pretty lady named Rose appears, good things happen.


Ryan_GoslingNow, I’m supposed to choose a cast. I’m pretty much limited to people I’ve seen in the news or on social media. There are a number of handsome actors who would do justice in the role of Charlie Brannigan, the successful artist who returns to his family home in New Jersey when his father dies to help support his mother and younger siblings. I chose Ryan Gosling. I haven’t watched his films, only a short few scenes from The Notebook, (which I hear was awesome) but from his guest appearances on talk shows he seems to carry himself well and is likeable. I haven’t read any scandals about him, so I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have my name associated with something he was in. Strange criteria, I suppose, but I don’t have anything else to go on.

Emmy_RossumFor the role of the heroine, feisty Rose Sheffield, I chose actress/singer Emmy Rossum. I’ve only seen her in one role – that of Christine Daae in Phantom of the Opera, but she was awesome not only as a vocalist but as an actress. I think she would do a nice job showing the serious side of Rose and the determination to make her idea of an art gallery work.



Julianne_MooreRose’s mother would need to be someone tiny and delicate. Julianne Moore is relatively short and according to Wikipedia “She is particularly known for her portrayals of emotionally troubled women.”1 I don’t know about all that, but the internet tells me she’s only 5’ 2” tall and she looks frail. Of course, most Hollywood stars are extremely thin…


Kate_MulgrewIn the role of Susie Brannigan, Charlie’s mother, I’d like to see Kate Mulgrew. She’s played strong women on TV (I loved her as Captain Janeway on Startrek Voyager), so I know she’d be great as the stoic widow and mom. Plus, she has a nice Irish name.




Haley_Joel_OsmentHaley Joel Osment would be awesome as Charlie’s brother Connor – though I’m not sure such a big star would agree to play such a minor role. He’d have to shave off the beard and act a bit younger than he is, but I think he’d be convincing as the naive brother.




Elle_FanningElle Fanning would be lovely as Charlie’s 18-year-old sister. I really haven’t seen her act, but she’s the right age and she’s experienced. And she has a nice bright smile.




Meryl_StreepMeryl Streep would portray art gallery owner Regina Perry with a load of class. Again, the movie would need a huge budget to hire a big name like her. But she would be my first pick.




As for a director, I have no idea. The last time I saw a movie in a theater was four years ago, and the last movie I watched on TV was Me and My Gal from 1942. I don’t know who current movie directors are. I guess I’d better leave that to someone else!

Have you ever read a book and pictured specific actors or actresses portraying certain characters?




All photos from Wikipedia, retrieved April 30, 2016:
Ryan Gosling:
Emmy Rossum:
Julianne Moore:
Kate Mulgrew:
Haley Joel Osment:
Elle Fanning:
Meryl Streep:

Posted in Books, movies, Patricia Kiyono | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Am I Pleased to Meet Me?


By Jeff Salter

We read a lot about people supposedly “re-inventing” themselves. But have you ever wondered what it might be like to meet yourself all over again? That’s part of the notion behind my novella, Pleased to Meet ME, published this recent October by Clean Reads.

Stumbling through woods in a dark thunderstorm, she doesn’t know where she is, why she’s there, or what has happened to all her belongings. Up ahead is the small, isolated cabin of handsome young survivalist Cody Wilder, who’s grown accustomed to his bachelor life off the grid.

In a blinding thunderstorm, a woman comes to after a mishap and staggers to the nearest cabin in an isolated, mountainous part of eastern Tennessee. She has no recollection of what happened or why all her valuables and identification are missing.

The younger male cabin dweller is a modified survivalist, who only gets to town about once each month, and loves his simple off-the-grid life. Handsome Cody Wilder offers shelter, attempts slightly awkward comfort, and tries to help her evaluate her past and her future.


Hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from Chapter One:

Friday night

Panic. Shouting. Blows. Hands all over her. She screamed and fought. She ran through the thunderstorm’s torrent of cold and darkness. Night noises nearby and animal cries in the distance.

Her soaked clothing was torn and muddy. Fear and adrenaline had helped her escape one danger, but there were more terrors with each exhausted and slogging step. Besides survival, these issues pierced her brain: How did I get here? Where am I? Who’s looking for me? At least one other point jabbed inside her head, but she couldn’t remember what.

No letup in the punishing tempest. No light to search for shelter. Her only course was to continue trekking up this muddy logging road. But where does it go? Several times the road split and all she could do was stumble in the direction her instinct leaned.

Drenched, shivering, terrified, with no idea how far she’d gone…only a sense or a hope that she’d gotten away. Pelting rain mixed with salty tears. Where am I?

No way to measure how far she’d stumbled, but the cramping pain in her thighs and calves made clear she’d been climbing the whole time. When she crashed into trees and brush, she’d learned to follow the expanse of mud and turn around, still heading up the slope. Must be switchbacks.

Why don’t I have a jacket? And where’s all my stuff? She checked her pockets. No light, no phone…money gone and watch missing. Or did I even have a watch? No jewelry, either. Doesn’t feel right.

What am I doing here, and where did I come from?


Slogging through an icy torrent, she had no sense of time—only that each minute was an hour. Finally, a dim light in the distance. As she approached the light, trees and brush fell away from the sides of the muddy road. A clearing! More painful trudges and she thought she saw a frame around that dim light. Maybe a window.

A cabin!

She’d prayed for safety, but was this it? No vehicle outside the small structure—maybe nobody’s home. She called out but no one answered. If only her voice were stronger. They probably couldn’t hear her through the din of the storm.

She pounded on the massive door. Nobody answered…though she saw a shadow moving inside.

As she reached for the handle, an enormous man in faded jeans and a worn flannel shirt yanked open the door and, with a shotgun cradled in one arm across his chest, demanded, “Looking for somebody?”

She staggered backward. “Not really…I’m not sure.”

“What do you want up here?” His penetrating gray eyes glared.

She scraped back the shoulder-length hair plastered to her face. “Shelter, to dry off, maybe some food.”

He hadn’t moved his muscular body from blocking the doorway.

“Or just loan me a towel.” She clutched the soaked and torn shirt about her neck. “And let me use your phone.”

“Ha,” he replied with a grunt, then leaned his shotgun against the inside door frame and stared.

Not the haven she’d hoped for, but her ordeal had already sapped too much from her entire body, and she collapsed. Only his strong arms kept her from hitting the plank floor.


Pleased to Meet Me.” Novella, only $2.99. Clean Reads, 2015.

Cover by Amanda Matthews at A.M. Designs Studio


Have you ever lived off the grid? Have you wanted to? What you have to give up?


[JLS # 278]


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The House

After several years of searching I finally found it yesterday. Our house. For the past five years my little family has lived in a three bedroom apartment in the middle of downtown. There were times when this was a great convenience. We enjoyed the parades going right by our front door and having the carnival be within walking distance however there were many drawbacks. We had to park a block and a half away so grocery shopping has been a pain especially since after hauling it that far we then had to carry them up the stairs. In the summer there would be rooftop parties outside the kids’  windows which would keep them awake after bedtime. There was no yard. We enjoy being outside especially in the winter. But for that to happen we needed to either walk to the park a few blocks away and be freezing and ready to go back in by the time we got there or drive across town to my parents’ house. All of that is about to be behind us.

Yesterday we got a house. It won’t be ready for us until June but that is not that far away. Its an older home which has some vines attempting to grow up the side, my daughter wants to keep them but I am not sure. The three season porch is probably where we will read and maybe even where I will write during the warmer months. That porch is right off of the living room with a set of French doors leading into the sitting area. While the living room is a bit smaller than what we have I can imagine leaving those doors open with a breeze coming in from the porch.

My youngest has requested that the dining room be his play room. I am still thinking about that. If I do not use it as a dining room I may set up an office for me in there.

The kitchen is spacious and I can imagine holiday preparations being made in there. We could all be in there to make cookies without bumping in to one another.

Up the the stairs are four bedrooms which really has my children excited because the boys will no longer have to share a room. My teen boy is already making plans to invite his friends over now that he won’t have a six year old in there bugging him.

The part that has my children the most excited is the yard. There is a huge space to play ball and run around. Requests for flowers have already been made. So far on that list we have tulips, inpatients, Venus flytrap (my youngest asked for this declaring it would keep zombies and monsters away from the house), and blue bells. Because winter is their favorite time of year they have already discussed where the snowforts would be.

Paint colors are being discussed and bedrooms have been decided upon. The two bathrooms seemed to impress my teenage daughter. That could be because there was plenty of space for her hair and makeup stuff.

Our New neighbor is deaf so we decided it is time to learn sign language. I don’t want to have to write on piece of paper anytime I want to talk to her. The kids are all eager to learn as well.

Packing begins today. As we get closer to the move in date I am sure I will get stresses but right now I am just happy. After we move in I will share more about it.


When was the last time you moved? Was it exciting or stressful?

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What’s in Your Junk Drawer?

I’ve often wondered if it’s being a creative-type person, or the product of mostly Dutch parents, or parents who grew up in large families during the Depression that makes it hard and nearly impossible to throw things away.


My mother saved every margarine and sour cream container that she ever bought and used them to freeze mashed potatoes and squash and fruit for the winter. She saved my brother’s and my dad’s and my uncles’ old jeans and cut them into scraps for quilts. When she moved, there were boxes and boxes of fabric scraps– many of which were too small to sew together, so we can only assume she meant to use them for stuffing. (At one point she did make a ball using the scraps as the stuffing and it was so heavy, you could knock someone out if you hit them in the head.)

But as I went through some of the scraps, I could understand why she didn’t throw them away. I found bits of the quilt that she won on her and my dad’s first date. There were scraps from my sisters’ dresses and my brothers’  shirts. All kinds of memories filled that box.

I, sometimes unfortunately, inherited her ability to see something that could be repurposed. The baby’s onesies are too small… let’s cut off the snap part and make them t-shirts. The boy’s pants are too small… cut off the legs and make them shorts.

IMG_1188Recently I’ve started making fidget quilts. They are lap-sized blankets with a variety of things to fidget with… buttons, snaps, velcro, ribbons, etc. Because of my aforementioned upbringing, I can’t just buy those things, I have to scavenge for them. I find zippers at garage sales. I have boxes of quilt scraps that can be incorporated. Buttons from my mother’s button box — which I actually learned were my great-grandmother’s buttons (how cool is that?).

This weekend, I washed my kids’ winter clothing and put it away. Two pair of snow pants were ripped beyond repair. (Yes, I did try. One pair had been limped through the winter.) I took them straight out to the garbage can. They remained there for about thirty seconds before I went back and cut all the snaps and clips off them because they would be handy on the fidget quilts.


Do you have things you can’t part with because you know you might need them for something else?

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TBR List, Part Five

I’ve been making steady progress through my TBR list! It’s such a good feeling, although I’m still waiting for inspiration to write. And there’s always a steady stream of new books, so I have to be mindful of adding some books that have spent a good long time on on my ereader to my immediate TBR list. Anyway, here are the books that I had chosen for this month. If you’re interested in reading my Goodreads reviews for any of these, just click on the book covers:

Color of Danger2Color of Danger by Ruth J. Hartman. This is the third book in Ruth’s Sullyard Sisters triology. In this segment the youngest Sullyard sister, Patience, struggles to be seen as a woman rather than as the baby sister. She’s excited about the opportunity to paint a panorama for a nearby falconer, but feels limited when Walter, her brother-in-law’s younger brother, is sent along to accompany her. From this series I learned about miniature panoramas, and a little about birds – both are topics that don’t come up in our family discussions! As usual, Ruth’s newest release is full of humor as well as detail, making this a fun and entertaining read.

HeartsightHeartsight by Kay Springsteen. Having read several of Kay’s other books I knew I’d love this, and now that I’ve read it I’m eager to read the rest of the series. Kay has strong ties to the military and she’s an amazing researcher, so you know situations are accurately portrayed. Dan is a Marine lieutenant who’s been blinded in action, and he’s at a loss. Bella, a little girl whose mother is in town to close up a family home, finds him and helps Dan find his way to self-realization and love. It’s awesome. You really need to read this!

Dandelions on the RoadDandelions on the Road by Brooke Williams. As I mentioned last month, Brooke asked me to read and review the third book in her Dandelion series, since I had previously read the first one. I decided I’d have a better handle on the final book if I read the one in between – and I’m so glad I did! The Dandelion series deals with the foreign (to me) world of reality television, particularly the ones that deal with finding one’s true soulmate. This is a hilarious take on a Midwest town’s local version of the popular Bachelor/Bachelorette shows.


 On the dock for next month:


After The Final DandelionAfter the Final Dandelion #3 in the Dandelion series. I need to read this first because I have to write a review for a blog post before the 17th. In this installment, the bachelor from Book 1 and his fiancée are getting married, and the station decides to make the wedding into a TV special.




Heartsent by Kay Springsteen. This is #2 in the Heart series, after Heartsight. Now that I’ve experienced Kay’s coastal North Carolina town, I need to find out who else is there – so I’m diving into the second of the Heart series!




Camp WeddingCamp Wedding: The Heartsight Nuptials by Kay Springsteen – This is #3 in the Heart series, and it’s short, so I figure I should be able to squeeze this in. In this one, the main characters from Heartsight (Book One) get married.




DukebyDayRoguebyNight500x750Duke by Day, Rogue by Night by Katherine Bone. I’ve read bits and pieces so that I can post them on social media for Eskape press, but I really need to read the whole thing! I’m determined to get it done this month.




So what’s your reading goal for the month?



Posted in free week, Patricia Kiyono | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Machines That Give Up the Ghost, or, Rather…

We are discussing things that refuse to work properly.
Story of my life!
I talked about cars that were problems in the comments to Joselyn on Tuesday and to Jeff on Thursday, a sewing machine that never liked me in Patty’s post on Monday; I talked about the TVs I grew up with that my father used to barely keep ‘alive’ in a comment to Angie on Wednesday.
I recently talked on our day about being ‘snookered’ concerning a computer. The first two (of the same model), were such lemons, they sent a third.(I spent, from my estimations, over 30 hours on the phone with Dell over the PCs. When they asked me how long I thought I had spent before they sent the last one, I said, “On hold and everything? I’d estimate 28 hours.” The man said he’d send a new one; I assume it was even longer than 28 hours.)

In fact, one night I was on for so long that I made friends the bright, young Indian fellow who was trying to help me. He was very polite and did nothing to encourage me, but with having to wait for long stretches, I asked him about where he lived, etc. (The sun was going down where I was; it was coming up in Mumbai.) I told him that I didn’t want to get him into trouble, but to hang on to my email address and email us when he no longer worked for Dell. I heard from him about 5 months later.

He calls, we email and SKYPE with the families; the grandkids love the idea of talking around the world to him, or actually, they like that his dog will listen to them from so far away. We get into 3-way conversations with my husband on religion,(his family has been Christian since St. Thomas the Apostle landed in India).I am friends with his mother. I’ve given him advice on his love life. We have been in touch for over 10 years now.

But here’s a story that is a bit …different. After I closed my business and had given up on restarting, I had been somewhat ill, so I had not been working Someone I knew offered for me to go to work for her. She needed someone she trusted to be her ‘right hand’. A single-mom of a 13 year old boy, she was a doctor with a heavy work schedule. Her son no longer needed a babysitter, but it was nice to have someone around when he needed something, and someone he, also, trusted.(He was in my son’s Boy Scout troop, a few years younger than they were). She had almost finished renovating the large, very old house she had purchased in town. She needed a personal assistant. I did everything from party planning to personal cheffing , dusting to dealing with deliveries, laborers…and laundry.

She had warned me about her washer, which was located in her basement; it often, inexplicably, quit at the middle spin. She had the timer switched out twice and even switched out the entire washer for another, of another brand. But it kept happening, and did it when I, also, used the washer.

Not every time, but more often than not.

Yes, I do believe some supernatural things were going on in that house. [I have other stories.] Against most spiritual advice, after some time I did speak out and asked whatever was pulling the prank to please stop, that I didn’t think they meant me any harm, but it was hard on me to run up and down the stairs all the time.

It never stopped before the end of the entire cycle again.

No one has any other explanation.

Even with all that went on there, I hated to leave. I cut back on my hours as most of the work on her house was done and her big celebrations had been executed. I still went in part time while I had another job, but I became quite ill and stopped working outside of the home altogether.

She never talks about what goes on when I see her. Except for when I went into discuss the job and she said, (twice), “The poltergeist, or whatever I have, shuts off the washer mid-cycle”, and explained about the repairs and change of washer, we have never discussed all that seems to go on there. I think things happen to her, but since she lives there, I let it go.

If you have a mechanical, of-this-world theory, however, I’m open to hear it; otherwise…

the ghosts gave up the machine.

Posted in careers, Friendship, horror stories, Life, Tonette Joyce, TV, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Oh Car, Wherefore Art Thou?

My tragic affair with a 1957 Metropolitan

By Jeff Salter

Our topic this week is about uncooperative machines, appliances, or vehicles. I’ve had ‘em all, I guess, but perhaps the most uncooperative – yet it still has a warm place in my heart – is the 1957 Nash Metropolitan.

For those of you who don’t know, this was mostly a British car (and shared some components with the MG) but was marketed by the (American) Nash company, which also handled Ramblers (among others). It was a two-seater convertible with trunk storage that you could access only through the fold-down rear seats. [In later model years, they added a small trunk hatch.]

I don’t believe I have any digital pix of mine, but here’s a different one for visual reference:


I had just separated from active duty in the U.S. Air Force (summer of ’74) and moved back to my hometown with a wife and child. My father-in-law, who worked on vehicles, had located this beat-up 1957 Metropolitan, which some LSU fraternity had painted purple and gold and driven in campus parades. Dad got it running again and presented it to us. Only problem was that its title had been through (as I recall) seven owners since it had last been registered. So when I went to the license bureau to get the thing road-legal, I had to pay for those six title transfers which had NOT been recorded. The State of Louisiana was not going to turn a blind eye to recalcitrant title holders who didn’t pony up. A lawyer friend from church went with me to that office to talk them out of making me pay the PENALTIES associated with those six other unrecorded title transfers.

With a little help from Dad, here and there, but mostly by myself, I slowly worked on the body (sanding, painting, new vinyl top), the brakes (needed all new wheel cylinders, brake shoes, plus a master cylinder and slave cylinder), and various aspects of the engine (don’t recall what). But the biggest problem was in its wiring.

Those frat guys had lost the horn button, so they fabricated one. They moved other switches (like the starter button and the turn signals) to the glove compartment lid. And there were many other idiosyncrasies. Bear in mind that the Metropolitan, like other British cars, used a positive-ground system (as opposed to negative ground)… so many U.S. standard automotive electrical things just didn’t work on it.

I had to have an ignition key custom made for it, because the keys had disappeared among those numerous title transfers. I even hired somebody to weld a steel plate to the floor so the driver’s foot wouldn’t push through the rust and drag on the street! I also installed a speedometer cable, bought a new windshield, and things I can’t even remember anymore. [This was the car which, when I was un-mounting the dashboard to work on the wiring, it fell on top of my face and gouged a deep cut into my right eyebrow.]

I think you can perceive by now that this car had a LOT of work invested in it before it even got legally on the road again. Well, once we got it running, we found out just how temperamental it was.


The Met, as we called it, would usually start okay, and it loved to go on 30 minute drives. But if you stopped during that half hour, it would not start again. And after it had put in its 30 minutes, it required a 90 minute nap before it was willing to move again.

I consulted every shade-tree mechanic I knew trying to figure out the problem – other than the Met simply being obstinate – and the term which kept coming up was Vapor Lock.

The shade-tree cures for vapor lock included things like placing wooden clothes pins on the fuel line, installing an insulated barrier to keep the exhaust manifold’s heat from reaching the carburetor, etc. I think one “cure” had something to do with a voodoo doll, but I never tried that one.

Well, Denise and I learned to live with the Met’s Vapor Lock anomaly. We’d plan trips which lasted about 30 minutes (or less) and allowed at least 90 minutes rest before we’d attempt to drive either home or to another stop. And it worked — about 66% of the time. But when you least expected it (and most needed the car to run), the Met would come down with a fresh dose of Vapor Lock.

It got to where, when I’d return from a weekend of Reserve duty at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, I’d walk in the door and say, “Where’s the Met? Let’s go get it.” Sometimes it was at the mall, sometimes A&P, and sometimes the post office. Wherever Denise had been that tripped over that 30 / 90 algorithm.

My memory is a bit fuzzy now, but I also remember a LOT of “push-starting” with the Met. I can’t recall if that was a battery issue, a faulty generator, or if it was tied into the vapor lock diagnosis, but there were many, MANY times I’d be pushing the Met (by hand) and screaming to Denise, “Pop the clutch!” I also recall many instances when I was BOTH the pusher and the popper and I wish we’d had cell phone cameras in those days to prove how agile I was at flinging myself into the moving automobile and turning the key and popping the clutch before it stopped rolling.

I don’t remember having the Met with us in Baton Rouge, during my year of grad school, so it’s possible we both realized the B.R. traffic was too intense and the city much too large for us to risk being stranded with that 30 / 90 vapor lock algorithm.

But we did run it in Jonesville for 2.5 years. I worked in Harrisonburg, which was about a 25 minute drive from Jonesville, so on most days that I drove the Met, it took me safely from home to work and then it had all day to rest up for the drive back home.

We didn’t bring it with us to Shreveport in 1980, probably for the same reason we didn’t trust it in Baton Rouge. Eventually, we traded it to Denise’s sister for a well-used VW bug which their Dad had also worked on and gotten running.

I neglected to mention that during the years we drove the Met, I was always looking out for parts, especially trim. Eventually I purchased (from a junk yard) a 1962 Met which I had intended to use for parts to more completely restore the wiring of the ’57 we were driving. But, alas, I ran out of time and money and ended up forfeiting the parts car.

I miss that Met… and wish we could have held on to it. Somerset has an old car rally – SomerNites Cruise – one Saturday each month for the six seasonable months each year and it would be cool to take that Met downtown and show it off. Alas, in those younger years, we had neither time, money, nor space to store a hobby that large and unproductive… but I still think about it.

Now I’ve never satisfactorily determined exactly what Vapor Lock is, but if it’s anything like the symptoms this Metropolitan exhibited, then I think I have a case of it myself.

More about Cars

In a blog about four years ago, I addressed several of my early vehicle relationships, so you’ll likely want to know about the 1947 Plymouth Special Deluxe (among others):


What about you? Have you ever had an appliance, car or machine that just would NOT cooperate?

[ JLS # 277 ]



Posted in Jeff Salter, Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments