How to Make an Old Plot New


Plots have been recycled ever since stories have been told, reusing themes like sacrificial death, the poor becoming rich, the ugly becoming beautiful, and other archetypes. Even great works like those of Shakespeare or Jane Austen can be traced to other influences, ideas, and concepts, but how do you make an old plot new? How do you avoid making it seem like fanfiction or a warmed-over version of something that’s already been done?

via How to Make an Old Plot New

Song Lyric Sunday | “Strawberry Letter 23” – The Brothers Johnson

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “letters”. 


This week’s pick was again handed to me by fate – the mister was singing it as he brought in and handed me the mail. LOL!

Strawberry Letter 23 was a cover of a 1971 Shuggie Otis original released by The Brothers Johnson in the summer of 1977. The funkier version by brothers George and Louis Johnson–also known as Thunder Thumbs and Lightening Licks (the name of a track from their debut album, Look Out For #1) for their stellar guitar skills–went all the way to number one on the soul charts and number 5 on Billboards Hot 100.

This song had epic staying power! The album Right On Time released in May of 1977 and Strawberry Letter 23 wasn’t released as a single until July, but the song could be heard at every party and school dance through spring of the next year when I graduated from high school.

Strawberry Letter 23 has been covered and sampled several times, but no version has been nearly as successful as The Brothers Johnson’s.

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.


Strawberry Letter 23

The Brothers Johnson

Written by Shuggie Otis

Hello my love, I heard a kiss from you
Red magic satin playing near, too
All through the morning rain I gaze, the sun doesn’t shine
Rainbows and waterfalls run through my mind

In the garden, I see
West purple shower bells and tea
Orange birds and river cousins
Dressed in green

Pretty music, I hear
So happy and loud
Blue flowers echo
From a cherry cloud

Feel sunshine sparkle pink and blue
Playgrounds will laugh
If you try to ask
“Is it cool?”

If you arrive and don’t see me
I’m going to be with my baby
I am free, flying in her arms
Over the sea

Stained window, yellow candy screen
See speakers of kite
With velvet roses diggin’
Freedom flight

A present from you
Strawberry letter 22
The music plays
I sit in for a few

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

A present from you
Strawberry letter 22
The music plays
I sit in for a few

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

“Gone Crazy in Alabama” by Rita Williams-Garcia


Gone Crazy in Alabama

by Rita Williams-Garcia

Genre: Children’s Book/Growing Up & Facts of Life/Multi-Generational/Difficult Discussions

1.99 at time of posting!

Coretta Scott King Award winner * ALA Notable Book * School Library Journal Best Book of the Year * Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year * ALA BooklistEditors’ Choice * Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year * Washington Post Best Books of the Year * TheBulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon Book * Three starred reviews * CCBC Choice * New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing * Amazon Best Book of the Year

The Coretta Scott King Award–winning Gone Crazy in Alabama by Newbery Honor and New York Timesbestselling author Rita Williams-Garcia tells the story of the Gaither sisters as they travel from the streets of Brooklyn to the rural South for the summer of a lifetime.

Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are off to Alabama to visit their grandmother Big Ma and her mother, Ma Charles. Across the way lives Ma Charles’s half sister, Miss Trotter. The two half sisters haven’t spoken in years. As Delphine hears about her family history, she uncovers the surprising truth that’s been keeping the sisters apart. But when tragedy strikes, Delphine discovers that the bonds of family run deeper than she ever knew possible.

Powerful and humorous, this companion to the award-winning One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven will be enjoyed by fans of the first two books, as well as by readers meeting these memorable sisters for the first time.

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Army of Authors Blog Tour | Brian Harrison

schematicThe Vault

Why would a multi-billionaire create a customized vault that is controlled by watch mechanics inside and have a self-destruct mechanism inside to destroy the billion dollars worth of artifacts inside?

Simple, because he can.

On paper, Sam Montgomery is your typical eccentric philanthropic pharmaceutical billionaire whom has literally mailed five dollars to everyone in the US so they can “pay it forward.” But what people didn’t know when made a rare public appearance was that he was announcing he had leukemia. And more shocking was that when he said, “I’d rather die than give my sister the opportunity to save my life,” no one even knew he had a sister.

Elena Diamante nailed the sit down interview – at his small home on the tiny island of Antikythera in Greece. She was only planning on getting the scoop about Sam and his apparently estranged sister but she was also going to be the first journalist to see inside Sam’s custom made vault. It was built using watch mechanics, so it was completely self-sustained, and only opened once a year. It was even rumored that if it were ever tampered with, everything inside would be destroyed in a custom acid.

Come to find out for Elena, there would be one item inside Sam’s vault that could save his life, or end itcover even quicker, it was just a matter of whether or not the vault would open in time.

The Vault explores Sam’s family dynamics and how they inspired him to become the successful man he is. The story is also told using Sam’s own family photos growing up, as well as text messages and Facebook/Twitter. There are even hyperlinks within the novel as “Easter Eggs” for those readers that want to explore even more of Sam’s personal life, further blurring the lines of fact/fiction.

PreOrder from Amazon. Releases March 6th!

Fibromyalgia and Joint Pain

Fibro Cloud

Have you ever tried looking up your fibromyalgia symptoms online? Did you notice a lot of conflicting information? Everyone is an expert, right? One group says this, another says that. Well, I don’t claim to be an expert, but I know what I experience. I recently discovered that 72% of FM patients suffer from joint pain with fibromyalgia. But when I tried to find the reasons why, I immediately came across conflicting information. I know fibromyalgia is loaded with mystery, but the uncertainty really makes it hard to figure out how to treat this thing. So what exactly is the deal here? What is causing the joint pain?

The Rheumatic Camp

Some researchers and physicians say that fibromyalgia is a rheumatic disease. So let’s look at what that even means. The American College of Rheumatology describes rheumatic conditions as musculoskeletal and systemic autoimmune diseases. “Autoimmune conditions occur when the immune system sends inflammation to areas of the body when it is not needed causing damage/symptoms. These diseases can also affect the eyes, skin, nervous system and internal organs…. Common diseases treated by rheumatologists include osteoarthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic back pain, tendinitis, and lupus.”

These conditions inevitably effect the joints. Experts in this camp say that fibromyalgia is a rheumatic disease that attacks muscles and tendons that support joints. This leads to stiffness and pain, not to mention disturbances in sleep. Rheumatic diseases actually cause damage and/or inflammation to the joints, muscles, or tissues. So that’s why you experience joint pain with fibromyalgia. But is that what’s happening with fibromyalgia?

The Non-Rheumatic Camp

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases disagrees. They explicitly state that “inflammation is not a symptom of fibromyalgia.” In fact, it is not listed as a symptom with the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association, the Mayo Clinic, or the National Fibromyalgia Association.

Ok, so what’s really going on here then? Well, again, I’m not expert, but my own symptoms have led me to so much research on this condition. One thing I have found is a lot of overlap with fibromyalgia and other conditions. Experts are certain of this one: fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis definitely produce some similar symptoms. In particular, are muscle pain, morning stiffness, fatigue, and loss of mobility and range of motion. Indeed, both conditions even experience flares wherein symptoms may be more exacerbated, as opposed to other times when they are virtually non-existent. The similarities are often so close for certain patients, that it usually takes a rheumatologist to make an accurate diagnosis of one condition or the other. And fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis are treated quite differently so an accurate diagnosis is essential to effective treatment.

Then What’s Causing the Joint Pain with Fibromyalgia?

Many people with fibromyalgia swear that their joints are swollen, yet there is no physical evidence of inflammation as is the case with arthritis. In some cases, it’s very possible and somewhat likely that you are experiencing another condition all together. For example, many fibromyalgia patients have TMJ syndrome which produces facial and jaw pain or tenderness. In fact, if you are actually experiencing visible swelling in your joints, then it’s possible you are dealing with rheumatoid arthritis as well as fibromyalgia. Lupus and osteoarthritis are also possibilities in this case. There is another disease called ankylosing spondylitis that is a chronic, progressive, and inflammatory disease of the spinal joints.

In other words, when you have fibromyalgia, it may feel like your joints are swollen and filled with pain. However, if there is no sign of inflammation (e.g., swelling and/or redness), then you are not likely dealing with a rheumatic disease that causes damage and potential deformation. It apparently is just part of some of the unknowns surrounding fibromyalgia.

You probably want to shoot me right now, don’t you? I mean I haven’t exactly answered the question of what is causing joint pain with fibromyalgia. The answers are all over the place, frankly. Remember that when you look into this question, you too will find very specific answers as to why joint pain is occurring. But if you keep looking, you will find the complete opposite answers. The bottom line is that it’s happening, with or without a reason. Your best bet is to go to a doctor, especially a rheumatologist, neurologist, or osteopath. Even though fibromyalgia probably doesn’t qualify as a rheumatic disease, a rheumatologist is exposed to fibromyalgia on a regular basis. A neurologist will often point to the central nervous system as the culprit and with good reason. An osteopath will look at the whole person and evaluate the big picture rather than honing in on one or two symptoms. Any of these are excellent physician choices for treating fibromyalgia.



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Army of Authors Blog Tour | William Brazzel

With the daily discord taking place worldwide, I wonder if the United Nations is up to the task of calmingcover the numerous threats and wars that are occurring. From my vantage point, I’m skeptical that the U.N. members can maintain peace. Due to the numerous agendas maintained by the membership, I believe that their self-interests have created an atmosphere of apathy concerning issues that conflict or fall outside of their own agendas.

In contrast, any actions the members do take, often serve to inflame the existing conflicts without resolving the underlying issues that exist.

In addition, I believe the cost to the United States in membership dues is prohibitive. When you understand that the U.S. pays for 22% of the annual U.N. budget as compared to the nearly 8% provided by both the Republic of China and the Russian Federation combined, I become angry while realizing that our country is once again being taken advantage of. Understanding that the United States is considered a pariah nation by many of the U.N. members, I wonder why we continue to maintain our membership in such an ineffective and biased organization.

In my novel, Conflux Threat from the Troika, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. and her staff are discriminated against by members of many foreign governments. As a result of the overbearing discrimination and disrespect displayed toward the U.S. delegation to the U.N., the United States ultimately withdraws from the United Nations, producing panic and shock among the remaining members.

The actions taken next by the U.S. are completely unexpected and result in utter chaos worldwide.

What steps do you think our country should take in the future with regard to our membership in the U.N.?

Find out more about Bill Brazzel at

You can find his new book Conflux Threat from the Troika on Amazon.

“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Charlotte Butterfield


Crazy Little Thing Called Love

by Charlotte Butterfield

Genre: Romance/Holidays

99¢ at time of posting!

When Leila finds herself on the painful end of yet another disastrous break-up, no amount of Ben & Jerry’s and trashy rom-coms can cheer her up. And so – to the amusement of her friends and family – Leila takes a more drastic approach to dealing with heartbreak: she swears off sex for an entire year.

Luckily, she has plenty to keep her mind off men. Between starting a business with ice queen Lucy, straightening out her sister Tasha’s tangled love life, and running a blog read by thousands of single ladies, Leila is soon snowed under. But she can’t help finding a little time for irresistible architect Nick – Lucy’s funny and infuriatingly sexy brother.

After an unplanned encounter under the mistletoe, the Man Ban looks like it might be skidding to a halt. Has Leila found love when she least expected it?

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