First Submission in 16 Years

I did it. I’m back.

I submitted a story to Chicken Soup for the Soul this morning. I decided that was the best place to start since that’s where I left off all those years ago.

Back then, I was sincerely trying to get published and I did manage to get a few short stories and articles published in some small-ish places but then I stopped. Dead.

I never did give up the dream and now that I’m in my sixties I’ve decided that it’s now or never.

So, wish me luck and wish me to keep going because I need all the help I can get.

A rainbow photo I took.

Are rainbows lucky?

As for today’s submission, I’ve sent it off with hope and a prayer. They will only contact me if my story gets accepted. I’ll keep you posted. Heck, I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops if it gets published!

Gratitude Journal

Grateful for a Lovely Day

Today was a good day.

It was actually a great day and I’m grateful.

Some days the pieces just seem to fall together in the right order and today was one of those wonderful times.

Prayers were answered, wishes became reality, and we had a bit of relaxing fun too. I even managed to get an Avon order. Things are looking up and I’m glad… grateful, and happy.

Book Reviews

Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal – Book Review

I purchased the novel Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal as a new member of The Fantastic Strangelings Book Club.

If you’re unfamiliar, The Fantastic Strangelings Book Club is a totally-takes-place-online book club that is run by blogger, Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess. I read her post Let’s Read Y’all and instantly became intrigued by her book choices. I joined the club immediately and, so far, (I’ve only just received my second book) I am NOT disappointed AT ALL.

Circus of Wonders is a novel of historical fiction that takes place in 1860s England. It gives us a behind-the-scenes look at vintage circus life and the people who were most exploited by circuses and the showmen who ran them during that era. At the same time, it’s a love story, a tale of brotherhood, a dark look at fame and what it means to control your own life as well as a look into an evil that took place during the Crimean War. I mean… really… what more could you ask for?

Circus of Wonders book jacket artwork
My copy of Circus of Wonders with my exclusive Fantastic Strangelings sticker and Nowhere Bookshop bookmark.

As I got deeper and deeper into the story I found it to be quite the page-turner and I love the way it’s written from each of the main characters’ points of view as we look into the lives of Nell, a girl/woman whose skin is discolored with an abundance of birthmarks, Jasper, a man who will stop at nothing to become the owner of the Greatest Show On Earth filled with performances of living curiosities and animals, and his brother Toby, a self-proclaimed dullard who lives and breathes in his brother’s shadow.

The writing is brilliant and drew me into each scene with colorful descriptions of the old-world circus sights and sounds as well as realistic dialogue. I truly felt like I was watching the story play out as if I were a fly being swatted away by the tail of a caged lion.

I enjoyed reading Circus of Wonders but will admit that this novel is not for everyone and should be avoided by anyone who can not or will not read about violence to man or animals. It also contains non-graphic sex scenes.

I have to be honest and say that the ending was not what I was hoping for but in my opinion, the epilogue more than made up for that.

I think Circus of Wonders was a wonderful choice for a book club read for those of us who consider ourselves strangelings and I thank Jenny Lawson and her Nowhere Bookshop for introducing me to not only the book but also to the amazing author, Elizabeth Macneal. I will definitely be reading her first published novel, The Doll Factory, at some point in the future.

Unfortunately, I finished the book too late to join in on the author discussion, a wonderful perk of being in the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club, but am hoping there will be more of those with future reads in the months to come.

On a side note of very little importance – just look at the artwork on the book jacket! From the fun fonts and colors to the images, I think it’s just gorgeous.

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I hope you found this book review helpful and if you decide to read, or have already read, Circus of Wonders, a novel by Elizabeth Macneal, please share your thoughts in the comments so we can compare notes.


Never Look Back, Walk Tall, Act Fine

Welcome to Old Gal Gazette!

If launching a new blog is a crazy undertaking now-a-days… what with YouTube and TikTok taking over the online world of information and entertainment, then, by all means, launching a new blog when you’re in your sixties is most definitely insane but here I am doing it anyway. Honestly, no one has ever accused me of being all that sane anyway. And if you think about it, at my age, it’s now or never. Or maybe it’s really just now or sometime at a later date into the future but I’m putting my big procrastinating foot down today so, welcome to the launch of Old Gal Gazette.

I’m imagining Old Gal Gazette to be similar to one of those old-timey school newspapers… only this one is being written by an old lady… for other old ladies to read and possibly (hopefully) identify with. And instead of being mimeographed, it’s being published online.

Writing a lifestyle journal is something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while now. It’s also something I keep shoving to the back burner, like the novel I always say I’m going to write. In fact, in all of the time I took thinking about writing this blog, the online world completely changed and people started to prefer watching videos over reading. I’ll admit it. I let that stop me for a while. I’m no actress and the thought of being on camera terrified me. Just for starters, I’m completely unphotogenic and I’ve never been any good at speaking in front of a crowd. If people were only watching videos, why bother starting a blog? Is blogging a thing of the past?

Is Blogging Really Dead?

Before committing to starting Old Gal Gazette, I did a little bit of research. From what I was able to discover, some styles of blogs are now considered out of date. Have you ever seen the type of blog where the author will publish a photo and then only write a paragraph or two describing what’s been shown in the picture? I’m actually guilty of blogging this way as an Avon lady. Some fashion bloggers might fall into this category too. That style of blogging is definitely better suited for an Instagram account. According to what I found out, successful blogs contain longer, more detailed posts about a niche topic. As a wanna-be author, I can be wordy when I want to be. And choosing my age and gender as my niche topic should make finding interesting things to write about very easy.

Anyway, I feel like it’s worth giving it a shot and time will tell me if it’s worth continuing in this endeavor… or not!

Besides all that, reading is good for an aging mind.

A Bit About Me

I’m retired and a couple of years ago we downsized and moved closer to the coast. I love to read and write. I cook dinner from scratch almost every night. I keep a small vegetable garden. I’m happily married. I have two grown sons, two beautiful granddaughters, and two silly cats. I love watching the wildlife outside my window. I enjoy nature and I’m especially fond of the beach. I collect seashells, as well as skeins of yarn that sometimes become beautiful crochet items. (Other times the yarn is admired only by me while it sits in a bin in my closet.) I drink wine (most often red) and I’m definitely more spiritual than I am religious. Halloween is my favorite holiday and I love reading books about witches and vampires. I’m also fond of historical fiction. My favorite authors change all the time and usually include whoever has written the book I’m currently reading because I’m at an age where if I’m not enjoying the book after a few chapters, I move on. I love alternative eighties music and very rarely listen to anything else.

But enough about me.

Old timey newspaper
Image by Please Don’t sell My Artwork AS IS from Pixabay

What is this blog really about?

Here’s a list of topics that may or may not make appearances in Old Gal Gazette:

  • Reading and book reviews
  • Cooking and eating healthier
  • Gardening
  • Losing a few pounds
  • Crochet
  • Pictures of the beach
  • Pictures of my cats
  • Things I’m writing or have written or GASP! things I manage to get published! (fingers-crossed)
  • Life as a woman
  • Age and ageism
  • Living in suburbia
  • My fear of dementia
  • Life in general

All from the perspective of a woman in her sixties!

Hah! It’s still all about me but I hope you can find yourself in this list too.

As a woman and writer with a brand new blog to play with, I’ll be confidently following the advice I found in the lyrics of one of my favorite Bowie songs (and if you stick with me, you’ll soon learn that ALL Bowie songs are my favorite); Never look back, walk tall, act fine.

Actually, as I begin here and start faking it until I make it, I’ll probably be looking back quite a lot and second guessing my every step. But that’s me. If any of my chosen topics interest you, I’d love it if you decided to take a chance and follow me on my new journey!