#ThorsDaySmile -#AmLaughing – #Humor

At last, Thor has calmed down a bit, and seems to be more like his old self again. In fact, he specifically said he was missing some canine humor, so just to make him happy, I’m sharing some dog memes today. Hope you find a few to make you smile! 😀

And there you have it, my friends: Dogs on Parade!
Hope some of you got a few chuckles!
(Happy now, Thor?)

#GuestDayTuesday featuring Author #DebbieRussell


It’s #GuestDayTuesday once again, folks, and today, I’m happy to have Debbie Russell with us to talk about her upcoming book, Crossing Fifty-One: Not Quite A Memoir. This book sounds very intriguing, and you have a chance to get the first chapter free, too, which is always nice! With that in mind, let’s all welcome Debbie to The Write Stuff.  And Debbie, that’s your cue to take it away! 😀

Thanks so much for having me! I really enjoy your lovely blog and I’m so excited to share Crossing Fifty-One with your audience!

In essence, it’s a love letter to my dad. The idea for the book first came to me in 2005 when I stumbled across a file of family letters from my grandfather’s stay at the “Narcotic Farm.” I remember feeling really stunned by the discovery, especially since no one in the family had ever mentioned it. The letters revealed a loving and strong family dynamic, in a time when communication by letter was typical.

When my dad was accepted into hospice in 2016, I became acutely aware that my paternal lineage was disappearing. I’d always been interested in family history and genealogy and felt enormous pressure to preserve everything I knew about my dad and his family. I wanted to understand my dad through his experience as a son and brother, so I brought the letters out again. The events that followed were so remarkable that I knew I had to somehow weave my own experience with that of my grandfather’s.I’m still offering the first chapter free to new subscribers to my monthly newsletter, which you can find at my website HERE


A week before Christmas 1951, Dr. Ralph Russell, a successful San Diego surgeon, risked everything to voluntarily enter a locked federal drug-treatment facility known as a “narcotic farm.”

Sixty-five years later, Dr. Russell’s granddaughter Debbie suffers a debilitating crisis of identity when her father, (Dr. Russell’s oldest son) always her biggest fan, is accepted into hospice.

Debbie’s investigation into her paternal lineage reveals family secrets and ignites her mother’s volatile outbursts, propelling her into therapy.

When therapy fails her, the grandfather Debbie never knew saves her, and she collaborates with her dying father one last time to make her biggest dream come true.

Crossing Fifty-One pulls back the curtain on the internal struggles of midlife and provides a blueprint for redefining one’s self beyond the constraints of addiction and dysfunctional family dynamics.


Debbie Russell’s Crossing Fifty-One: Not Quite a Memoir is a touching reflection on familial history that doubles as a personal exploration of the author’s own identity. The book follows Russell’s journey as she faces her father’s terminal illness, exploring her ancestry as a means of coming to terms with her grief. Through her research, Russell uncovers a volume written by her great-grandfather, a man of ego and destiny, whose characteristics mirror her own. Russell goes on to examine the scientific basis of her genetic traits, a concept that she believes is informed by both the men and women in her family. Her grandfather, a medical doctor, passed down a wealth of knowledge to her father who, in turn, passed on his loving nature to Russell. Ultimately, Crossing Fifty-One serves as a reminder that our familial histories are often deeply ingrained within us, shaping who we are and who we will become…

Here is an author who had done some serious homework and all I had to do was pick a comfortable chair and let her tell me how it went. The writing is exceptional, and the delicate balancing act between the tangible science and the emotional journey is really, really well done. I found myself choked up multiple times and had difficulty putting the book down even though it was past my bedtime…Very highly recommended.

All of my Readers’ Favorite advance reviews can be found HERE

More advance reviews can be found at Goodreads HERE

Author Debbie Russell

Debbie Russell is a lawyer turned writer. She spent twenty-five years as an Assistant County Attorney in Minneapolis, prosecuting numerous high-profile cases and fighting off several nervous breakdowns. At age fifty-five, Debbie took early retirement, giving up a full pension for the freedom of time. She now spends that precious time writing, restoring her property to native prairie and wetlands, and training her rambunctious retrievers.

Debbie’s first published article appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2001. After that small triumph, her writing focused primarily on legal briefs and memoranda, which were consigned to district court files. Debbie resumed creative writing in 2014 when she began her storytelling blog, sharing personal stories and professional experiences that have touched her life in a significant way. Debbie’s article “Getting the Most out of Therapy: Easier Said than Done,” partially based on events in her book, was top ranked in the December 2021 issue of Elephant Journal, an online magazine that celebrates the mindful life.

Buy Crossing Fifty-One: Not Quite a Memoir Here:

Find Debbie on Social Media Here:

You can contact Debbie HERE



#FiveMoreThingsYouMayNotKnow About Author #MikeAllegra

I’m happy to announce that today’s #FiveMoreThings guest is children’s author Mike Allegra. Mike is taking advantage of a chance to share a few more things with us today, and I’m super happy to have him visit. I know you’re going to enjoy Mike’s post, especially when you read about his latest book, so I’m going to turn the floor over to him. Take it away, Mike!

Thanks, Marcia!

Mike, Taking It Away!

My Five More Things You May Not Know About Me List

  • I Have an Alarmingly Large Collection of Mad Magazines

When I was younger, I collected lots of stuff. Cartoon Postage Stamps! 1972 Nixon Reelection Buttons! West German Train Buildings (O Gauge)!

Part of me collected because I loved the thrill of the hunt. Another, larger, part of me collected because I thought selling these collections would make me rich. Long story short, my attic is filled with worthless crap that nobody wants—including me.

But my Mad Magazine collection is a different thing entirely. Oh, how I loooooved Mad. I loved the articles, I loved the artists, I loved predicting the Fold-In without folding it in. Mad spoke to me in a way no other magazine could.

My mom, however, hated Mad. I never understood why she felt this way, but her opinion on the matter was so strong she banned the magazine from our house. This wasn’t the only Mom Rule I disagreed with, but it was the only one I found patently ridiculous. So, in a rare act of childhood rebellion, I snuck issues into my room and cultivated quite a nice little secret collection.

Years later, when Mom softened her views on Mad, I went hog wild. I bought up any issue I could get my mitts on. I now have Rubbermaid containers filled to the brim.

These Mad Magazines, like my other collections, are in my attic. Also like my other collections, they aren’t worth much money. But unlike my other collections, I’m glad I still have them.

  • Organized Religion Got Me Addicted to Coffee

All through high school I was a devoted tea drinker. Every night I’d turn on the TV, select a tall stack of catalogues to parse through, and fire up the kettle. It was a nice way to wind down in the quiet hours before bed.

When I went to college, I planned to continue this ritual—and I did for a time. But shortly after the fall semester began, I discovered a nearby Episcopal church that served a full breakfast to anyone who attended the 8 a.m. Sunday service. I was an Episcopalian, I liked free food, and I didn’t mind being up early on a Sunday. So I went.  

It was a nice service. It was a nice breakfast, too—but no tea bags. Beggars can’t be choosers, of course, so when the reverend offered me some coffee, I accepted a cup. It was the first cup of coffee I had ever tasted. I was hooked from that day to this.

Long story short: God is good.

  • Bert is My Favorite Sesame Street Muppet

As a young’un, I connected with Bert. My obsession with rodents felt oddly similar to Bert’s obsession with pigeons (a.k.a. rats with wings). My weird collections (see above) were just as esoteric and worthless as Bert’s collections (bottlecaps, paperclips, etc.). I admired Bert’s propensity toward tidiness and his dogged refusal to embrace the madness that swirled around him. Was Bert persnickety? Yes, but understandably so. After all, Bert had a pesky roommate who was dumb as a box of hammers.

When I was a kid, I believed that if Bert and I ever met, we would become best friends. I still believe this.

  • I like Polka

I enjoy all kinds of music. This includes Polka, which my wife, Ellen, is convinced is the music Satan pipes into the flaming tar pits of hell.

I understand where she’s coming from, but I can’t help it! Polka is fun! Bouncy! Joyful!

And, on occasion, a wee bit embarrassing.

One time, I borrowed a polka CD from the library. As I was listening to it in my car, my radio died. The disc cracked as I attempted to pull it from the machine. I explained the situation to the librarian and offered to pay for a replacement CD, but the lady just smiled and said, “Oh, there’s no need to do that. I don’t think Frankie Yankovic’s Greatest Hits will be missed all that much.”

That was the day I learned that librarians can be absolutely savage.

  • My Pirate Voice is Terrible

To be more accurate, my pirate voice is awesome for about three minutes. After that, my throat strains and cracks, making my pirate character sound like he’s going through puberty. I need to figure out what to do about this, as I have about three jillion public Pirate & Penguin readings coming up this summer. Pray for me.

Author Mike Allegra

Mike Allegra is the author of 18 books for children including the picture books Scampers Thinks like a Scientist (Dawn, 2019), Everybody’s Favorite Book (Macmillan, 2018), and Sarah Gives Thanks (Albert Whitman and Company, 2012). He also wrote the chapter book series Kimmie Tuttle (Abdo Books, 2021) and Prince Not-So Charming (Macmillan, 2018-19; pen name: Roy L. Hinuss). Scampers was the winner of Learning Magazine’s 2020 Teacher’s Choice Award and was selected for inclusion in the Literati Kids subscription box. His story, “Harold’s Hat,” was the winner of the 2014 Highlights fiction contest and was published in the July 2015 issue.



What happens when a pirate, hoping for a parrot, stumbles upon a bird of a duller plumage?

Pirate doesn’t know that Penguin is a penguin. But any bird can sit on a shoulder and squawk “shiver me timbers”…right?

Laugh along with Pirate and Penguin in this high seas tale of mistaken identity and find out whether they’ll find friendship before somebody walks the plank.

You Can Buy Pirate & Penguin HERE

And You Can Pick Up One of My Favorites,
Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles


See More of Mike’s Books
On  His
Author Page

Reach  Mike on Social Media Here:
Amazon Author Page 

#Bold&BlatantSelfPromo – #Excerpt – #TheEmissary2:ToLoveSomebody


Time for more Bold & Blatant Promotions around here, and today, I’m featuring The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody. Hope you enjoyed meeting Jake and Azrael the last time around, and are ready for a hint at what comes next. Happy reading!

“Trouble never does a head count before showing up.”


They’re back!

Jake and Dodger, the first (and so far, only) Emissaries to the Angels, are on the road again.

They’re looking for mortals about to take a wrong turn. You know the ones—the kid thinking about stealing from a corner market or the man planning to lie about a coworker and destroy her career. Yeah, them. People on the brink of making a mistake that could send them down that wrong road and jeopardize their mortal souls.

Of course, there are rules by which the emissaries must play, and the archangel Azrael stands ready to enforce them. First and foremost, a person’s free will must never be compromised. Emissaries are allowed to use only the smallest of mental nudges. Thankfully, a whispered suggestion here or images of a better course of action there is usually all it takes. The potential mugger walks on by. The thief drops the wallet back into the unattended purse. But whether the results are obvious or not, Jake and Dodger are fully committed to making a positive difference, even as they struggle with issues of their own.

Will Dodger get over losing his chance to learn what true love is all about? Will Jake survive the grueling angelic equivalent of Boot Camp? Will Azrael ever finish the Official Emissarial Guidebook—including the chapter titled Do Not Even Think About It?

One thing’s for sure—Jake’s and Dodger’s strengths are growing daily, as they help more and more people make better choices. But is the price for so much power higher than they’re willing to pay?


A Young Man and His Mentor/Father Figure
Sitting in a Booth Where Cracked Red Vinyl Had Run Amuck,
Ordering That Too-Late Breakfast or Too-Early Lunch,
While Studiously Avoiding Each Other’s Eyes.

“WHY DO YOU supposed diners always have red plastic seats and red Formica tables? I mean, is it like a law, or somethin’? Part of the original blueprints? Or building code?”

Jake watched Dodger drumming nervous fingers on that very Formica tabletop and knew the boy wanted to talk. He wasn’t going to push him, however. As proven once again by this morning’s events, that never worked. When he was ready, he would talk. Until then, apparently diner décor was what interested him most.

“No idea. Maybe you can research that while we’re on the road so we’ll learn what’s what before we stop at another one.”

Dodger stared out the window. “You’re bein’ condescending, you know.”

“Sorry. Just trying to help you find something to talk about.”

“Well, don’t. I don’t really wanna talk about diners or Formica or anything else like that, and you know it.”

“Yeah, I guess I do. But to be fair, you did talk about it, so I was just playing along.” Jake took a sip of his iced tea, waited a beat, then tried again. “Dodger, you don’t need to explain anything to me. I’m in your corner, no matter what. But that doesn’t mean you have to tell me every detail from your life before we met.”

Finally, Dodger’s face swung back toward Jake. “But I do—at least I do, if it’s somethin’ I need you to understand. And this is.”

“Okay, then. As long as it’s what you want, I’ll always listen. And I’ll always help if I can.”

“I know that. I think I’ve known that since that day in the hospital parking lot, when you told me you wouldn’t take me back to the crap life I was livin’ before you rescued me. And I do trust you. It’s only that I’ve never talked about stuff like this to anyone. Ever. I don’t have any idea how to start.”

“Well, before you go any further, let me say that I didn’t mean to act like there was something wrong with you. Not at all. The honest truth is, as I look back on my own life and think about what was going on with young people around me, I suspect there were way too many of them having sex before they were emotionally mature enough to take that step. But the right time and circumstances are different for everyone, and I didn’t mean to sound like I was judging you.”

Dodger appeared to be inspecting the Formica all over again while his face turned just as red, but waiting was something Jake was good at. It was a skill the boy had helped him perfect.

A few minutes crept by, then Dodger plunged in. “Don’t know if I was ready for it or not, but it wouldn’t have mattered. Not at first, anyway. I was a shrimpy little kid, and way too young to interest the girls. A couple of years later, I’d put on some weight, and must have looked better. Next thing I knew, there was some coked-up, empty-eyed girl or another backin’ me into a corner every time I turned around.” He paused, then ground out, “I hated it!”

“Okay. Do you want to tell me why?”

It took three tries before Dodger was able to answer, and Jake wasn’t surprised at the pain in the boy’s voice.

“I had this dumbass idea when I left home that I’d find someone who cared about me. Someone I’d matter to.” He looked up, eyes glittering with unshed tears. “I guess I just wanted somebody, somewhere, to love me. No one ever had, Jake, and even as messed up as I was by then, one thing I knew for damn sure—none of those girls followin’ us runners around were gonna love me, either.” He paused, then stared out the window again.

“So, you waited?”

Nodding, Dodger went on. “Yeah. I waited. And kept waiting. Not like I was holdin’ out for something permanent or anything. I just wanted it to matter. I wanted me to matter. Stupid, huh?”

“No, Dodge. Not stupid at all. Love is the one thing in the world that truly does matter, above all else. Of course you wanted it. We all do. We’re born reaching for it, and the fact that you already knew the truth of that at the age of sixteen is one more example of how special you are. Azrael was right in telling me to save your life at all costs, and right again in bringing you back. You have so much to give this world, and you’re making a real difference in the lives of others every single day. And as for someone loving you, I know this isn’t the same, but I couldn’t love you more if you were my own son.”

“Thank you for that,” Dodger whispered. “I can’t even put into words how much that means to me.” The boy stared at the Formica again, his face still forlorn.


“But I still wish I’d managed to get laid. At least once.


Download on Kindle for Just $1.99

 Author Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years and four big cats.

When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. She enjoys nature. Really, really enjoys it. All of it! Well, almost all of it, anyway. From birds, to furry critters, to her very favorites, snakes. The exception would be spiders, which she truly loathes, convinced that anything with eight hairy legs is surely up to no good. She does not, however, kill spiders anymore, since she knows they have their place in the world. Besides, her husband now handles her Arachnid Catch and Release Program, and she’s good with that.

Spiders aside, the one thing Marcia would like to tell each of her readers is that it’s never too late to make your dreams come true. If, at the age of 69, she could write and publish a book (and thus fulfill 64 years of longing to do that very thing), you can make your own dreams a reality, too. Go for it! What have you got to lose?

Buy Marcia’s Books Here

Wake-Robin Ridge: Book 1
A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2
Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3
The Light: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 4

Swamp Ghosts: Riverbend Book 1
Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2
That Darkest Place: Riverbend Book 3

Riverbend Spinoff Novellas
The Emissary 1
The Emissary 2 – To Love Somebody
The Emissary 3 – Love Hurts

Summer Magic: Poems of Life and Love

Reach Marcia on Social Media Here:

Blog: The Write Stuff
Email: marciameara16@gmail.com

#ThorsDaySmile – #AmLaughing – #Humor

Just when I thought I had the God of Thunder all figured out, Thor decided to change the rules. He’s apparently tired of the same old stuff all the time, and asked me to find some written humor for a change. So I did. (Hey, who am I to argue with a giant Norse guard armed with a HUGE hammer?) So, brace yourself for something different, with nary a meme in sight! Enjoy!

A guy tried to sell me a coffin today. I told him that’s the last thing I need.

Whatever you do always give 100%. Unless you are giving blood.

Sign on liquor store: “Home schooling? Get your supplies here.”

Sign at the hospital: “Never do anything you wouldn’t want to explain to the paramedics or the doctors in the emergency room.”

Zoo Rules: Those who throw stones or other objects at the alligators and crocodiles will be asked to retrieve them.

Sign at library: “I before E … Except when your foreign neighbor Keith receives eight sleighs from feisty caffeinated weightlifters. W E I R D.”

My wife told me to stop impersonating a flamingo. I had to put my foot down.

I went to buy some camo pants but couldn’t find any.

When life gives you melons, you might be dyslexic.

I was wondering why the frisbee kept getting bigger and bigger,
but then it hit me.

And there you have it!
Hope you enjoyed a few lines of malarky courtesy of Thor!

#ThankYou Everyone!

Just wanted to thank everyone who stopped by TWS yesterday to comment on Joan Hall’s wonderful #FiveMoreThings post. I was away most of the day, and the best I could manage was a quick “Like” for each comment, but I appreciated the great response, and Joan, I hope you know you are always a welcome guest. I do hope you’ll visit us often in the months ahead!

Here’s wishing every one of you a great day, and a wonderful weekend coming up soon!

You guys ROCK!!


#FiveMoreThingsYouMayNotKnow About Author #JoanHall

For any of you who’ve already been a #TenThings guest on TWS, remember you are also invited to join us for another #FiveMoreThings, should you wish to do so.  Joan Hall decided she’d like to do exactly that, so please help me welcome her today. I know you’ll enjoy seeing what Joan has to share this time around, and Joan? That’s your cue to take it away, my friend!

Thanks, Marcia!

  1. I used to think being a storm chaser would be exciting until I got caught on the road during a tornado. One Friday afternoon I came home from work to find we had no electricity. Almost at the same time I tried to call him, my brother called to see if I wanted to go out to eat. We decided to drive to the next town. By this time, the rain was so heavy we could barely see in front of us. The winds were strong, and trees were bending over. My husband, who was at work, called me to say a tornado had been spotted. We kept going until we came to where a large tree had fallen across the road. When we turned back, there were trees blocking the road at places we had just been. After several detours through winding country roads, we finally made it back to town to discover two retail stores demolished, as well as several homes. We later learned the tornado was classified as an EF2 and stayed on the ground for twenty-seven miles. Needless to say, that broke me from wanting to be a storm chaser.

  2. Speaking of storms, my mother was terrified of them. We don’t have basements in Texas, so if a bad storm was forecast, we would go to a neighbor’s storm cellar. Other neighbors came as well, and we’d sit in the cellar with oil lamps or candles and wait out the storm. It was fun, especially because so many good stories were told during those times. My husband has never been inside a storm cellar, and I’ve told him he doesn’t know what he missed! I’m the opposite of Mom. Unless they are too violent, I love a good thunderstorm.

  3. I used to be extremely bashful and wouldn’t talk much. (My husband doesn’t believe it, LOL.) I’m still introverted but can “extrovert” when needed. I love my at home alone time. To this day, when I first meet someone new, I’m a bit quiet until I get a feel of what that person is like. People who are extremely extroverted and those that talk too much and too loud annoy me!

  4. I am a seventh generation American. My fourth great-grandfather, Robert McCorkle came to this country from Scotland (via Ireland). He settled in an area known as the Waxhaws, which is on the North Carolina/Sound Carolina border. His son, my third great-grandfather, fought in the Revolutionary War. Branches of the McCorkle family eventually moved to Texas. My paternal grandfather was the first one of my family born here. Interestingly the McCorkle clan had Scandinavian roots. The surname McCorkle was then known as Thorkle.

  5. I once dreamed of playing keyboards and singing in a rock band. Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac was my inspiration. I could play piano (sort of), but I can’t carry a tune. Not even in a bucket!

Joan & Hubby

You Can Buy Cold Dark Night HERE

Author Joan Hall

Joan Hall has always enjoyed reading or listening to stories about inexplicable events, so it’s not surprising she writes mystery and romantic suspense. A lover of classic rock music, songs often serve as the inspiration for her books.

When she’s not writing, Joan likes to observe the night skies, explore old cemeteries, and learn about legends and folklore. She and her husband live in Texas with their two cats. Learn more about Joan at her website, http://JoanHall.net.

Buy All of Joan’s Books HERE

Reach Joan on Social Media Here:

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