Friday, February 28, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

The first movie I present for your consideration is called Won't Back Down (2012, Rated PG, Available On DVD).

Jamie Fitzpatrick (Maggie Gyllenhaal) has a young daughter who has recently had to start attending a different elementary school. Malia (Emily Alyn Lynd) has learning disabilities and isn't receiving the help she needs at school. Her teacher seems indifferent and even cruel. Jamie learns about charter schools and convinces teacher Nona Alberts (Viola Davis) to join her in fighting the school board, the teachers' union, and some of the other teachers to transform this failing school into a charter school, where parents and teachers will be in charge of the way the children are educated.

This movie is not brilliant, but I like it. Viola Davis's quiet intensity further convinces me of her acting abilities. I first saw her in The Help. Won't Back Down isn't a great vehicle for Maggie Gyllenhall -- I like her more in quirky, indie movies -- but actors need to earn money, too. Although this movie is inspiring, it's anti-teachers' union. A number of the teachers, and the union that represents them, are presented in a bad light. I don't know how I feel about that. I think unions are important, although the teachers' union did nothing to help me when I was fired.

I'm also a bit bothered by the way Jamie cares for Emily. Jamie jumps out of bed at the last second to drag Emily off to school with Emily trying to choke down some breakfast on the way. Yes, Jamie works hard to fight for her daughter to have a better education, but I don't see her giving Emily the personal attention a child needs. Emily always looks forlorn and in need of a bath and hair brushing.

If one sees this movie as being in favor of children and their education, then it's good. I'm not sure if charter schools are all that great. They don't seem to do much better than regular schools. However, I don't think it's that difficult to overlook Won't Back Down's faults and enjoy Jamie and Nona fighting for the good of children. This movie should be a good one to watch with your children, maybe 8 - 10 years or older.

Won't Back Down earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Approval.

Our second movie possibility today is a British film that's so funny: Nativity! (2009, Rated PG, Available On DVD).

I don't care that it's not the Christmas season. I would watch this movie any time of year.

Primary school teacher Paul Maddens (Martin Freeman) is given the task of putting on the school's annual Christmas play. Mr. Maddens is appalled. He was put in charge of the play once before, and it was a disaster. He majored in theater, or participated in a drama society at university (I'm not sure which), and his arch rival from those days teaches at a better school, which always receives the best review of a Nativity play by the local newspaper. But Mr. Maddens is stuck with this job, and he sets about it as angrily and grudgingly as he teaches the children in his class.

Then Mr. Poppy (Marc Wootton) becomes Mr. Maddens' assistant teacher. Wonderfully eccentric and childish, Mr. Poppy relates to the children perfectly and transforms Mr. Maddens, the play, and the class.

Nativity! is another feel good movie, and one about which I don't have any serious reservations, except it has more profanity than I would expect in a PG movie, but maybe I remember it incorrectly.

Nativity! is adorable and funny, and it even has a magical feeling at the end.

Nativity! earns The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.

Happy viewing!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I have returned to my kidnapped state in the snow and cold to Coffee Chat about editing with S.K. Anthony and Lynda Dietz at Easy Reader.

Please join us and be sure to wish Lynda a belated happy birthday. We have learned that we share a birthday (it was Sunday), and we might be triplets because I have a twin.

2 + 1 = 3

I'll look for you at Lynda's house.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. And I promise MOVIE WEEKEND will appear -- as long as we don't have another Operation El Gato.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I have two questions for you today. You can answer one or none. Please have fun. (At first, I wrote You can answer one or none or both, but then I changed it because I couldn't think of anything to replace both or two that rhymes with one and none. I suppose it's some completely obvious word that The Queen of Grammar can't remember at the moment.)

Well, all righty then. Let's start with the Olympics. Did you watch the Olympics

A. a whole big bunch
B. a bunch
C. not so much
D. not at all

If you watched, what were your favorite events?

My answer is C. I watched A. when the Olympics were in Vancouver and London. But then Sochi came up, and I'd never heard of it. Then I started to see stuff online about Russia not being ready for the Olympics and the hotel rooms were gross and the food was gross and Vladdy Putin is really gross. I even saw some photos of these weird communal bathrooms with a bunch of toilets in the same room, in close proximity to one another, and no stalls. People were literally going to be able to take a good dump and have a great chat at the same time. Talk about multitasking.

I didn't want to see all this gross stuff in Sochi, so I DVRed the ladies' figure skating competition and that was it. I enjoyed watching it, so I guess it was my favorite event.

Watching one event means I missed out on people who were pissed over (heheheheheh) weird toilet facilities. I missed Bob Kostas's eye infection and competitors who complained because they didn't get the medals they thought they deserved.

I imagine I also missed some very happy, meaningful moments. Maybe I should have watched more. But on Sunday night NBC had a special about all that weirdness years ago between Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding. Hasn't it been, like, 20 years or something since that happened? Can we please get past that kerfuffle? Tonya got banned from the figure skating association for the rest of her life. She admitted she knew about her ex-husband's involvement in the attack after it happened, and she apologized. No proof was ever found, as far as I know, that Tonya was involved in the attack. Let's drop it now. (I DVRed it. When I get around to watching it, if I see anything interesting I'll let you know.)

Next on our agenda: The Academy Awards will be presented this Sunday evening. Will you watch

A. the whole show
B. some of the show
C. none of the show
D. what show?

If you're interested in the movies, then for what movies are you rooting? Do you have any Oscar predictions?

My answer is A. I predicted on this very blog that Leonardo DiCaprio would win the Best Actor Award for The Great Gatsby. Oops! He can still win Best Actor, but it has to be for The Wolf of Wall Street, a movie I have not seen, but Favorite Young Man says it's great.

I'm curious about something else, too. The host always says something about a kajillion zillion people all over the world watching The Academy Awards. Is this statement true? You, and you, and you, yes, all of you who do not live in the United States, do you even give a flying fig about The Academy Awards?

As always, I look forward to reading your answers.

For those of you who need to catch up on certain events in my garage, thanks to Favorite Young Man, Operation El Gato is complete and no one has been arrested -- yet. If the police show up asking question, I will toss FYM under the bus.

No, I won't, because no one is on to us. Favorite Young Man is a smooth criminal, and he can dance.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

El gato es en mi garaje. El todavia esta muerta.

ANIMAL CONTROL DOESN'T PICK UP DEAD ANIMALS IF THEY'RE ON PRIVATE PROPERTY. If I had thrown poor el gato in the street, then they would have picked him up. I'd call and say, There's a dead cat in the street. They'd send a truck to get him.

I called a private company that picks up dead animals. It's $229 for a service call, and this cat isn't even my fricking cat!

I called my vet's office. The person who answered the phone told me what to do, "unofficially". This problem is now a clandestine operation called El Gato, and that's all I have to say about that. I just hope he hasn't decomposed too much. It's not chilly here anymore.

My birthday was on Sunday, and it sucked. Willy Dunne Wooters was on call and couldn't come over. It took about a million hints before he told me happy birthday and he loves me.

He officially went off on call this morning at 7. He can come over tonight to comfort me.

I received an invitation to my nephew's wedding. I have an ethical concern about attending. The invitation says "Please RSVP". Good heavens! That's redundant! That is so redundant. I don't know if I can go. I asked The Hurricane how she feels about it. I'll let you know what we decide.

Hey! I just thought of something for which I can feel grateful. Amanda Ax emailed me to say she's really busy because so many of you visited her very cool etsy shop, Laylas Trinkets. Way to shop, people! Remember: my readers can get 20% off with the code word JUNEBUG.

Amanda also told me she makes custom jewelry. I have a charm bracelet that broke (I didn't like the bracelet anyway -- just the charms) so I'm going to send her the charms and she'll put them on a bracelet she'll make for me that matches the necklace and earrings I won in her husband Brandon's giveaway. And just so you know, I am not receiving any remuneration from Amanda for promoting her stuff, which includes original artwork, some of which Favorite Young Man might receive for his birthday next month.

To read the post about Amanda's shop, click HERE. Since these folks have two children and Baby #3 ready to arrive any day now, I'm glad to buy Amanda's very cool jewelry.

Well, look at that. I didn't think I could feel grateful today, but I do!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Monday, February 24, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Some of you know Brandon Ax of Writer's Storm: Brandon Ax. If you don't know him, then hop to it! Follow that blog. He's a nice guy. He's also the author of Elemental and Ashes. Click the titles of the books to find them on Amazon.

When Brandon published Elemental, he had a very cool giveaway. I won a necklace and earrings that were described in the book. I let Franklin wear the necklace for a while so I could post a photo of it.

I thought the necklace and earrings were even more cool when I found out that Brandon's wife, Amanda, made them. She has an Etsy shop called Laylas Trinkets, and she's offering my readers a 20% discount with the code JUNEBUG.

I wonder where she came up with that.

Amanda consented to an interview, too, even though she's about to pop out their third child. Now, heeeeeere's Amanda Ax:

Q. How long have you been making jewelry, and how long have you had your etsy shop?

A. I started making jewelry in December of 2012.  I wanted to give my mother and my sister something special for Christmas and decided instead of buying them a random gift I wanted to make them something and so I went and gathered materials and I made them both a bracelet and ring set that year.  I had so much fun making them that I got hooked and started making stuff all day every day.  I knew I could never wear everything I made and eventually buying supplies would catch up to me so I decided to open my store in February 2013.

Q. How did you learn to make jewelry? I am very impressed by the quality of your work.

A. The process of learning to make jewelry has been trial and error for me.  I told myself when I began that I didn't want my work influenced by what I saw other people making and selling and because of that I have always been careful about seeking techniques from other people.  My biggest goal in my business is to make things that are completely unique to me and also to give my customers something unique as well, which is why I decided to only make and sell one of a kind items.  I never use patterns or remake the same thing twice so I am constantly learning new ways of doing things.  A lot of my earlier pieces have recently been torn apart to salvage for beads as I have learned to make things of better quality.

Q. Do you have a favorite piece that you've made?

A. That is hard, usually when I make a new piece I fall in love with it and it kind of becomes my favorite for the moment.  There is a ring that I made that is special to me though.  It is actually one of my earlier pieces I have made and I have actually struggled with wanting to keep it for myself.  It is a silver ring with a bright blue crystal bead and the wire wrapping on it is just so unique to anything else I have made, I just love it.  I also have a tree of life necklace that I made using frosted glass beads that I love, it is actually my avatar picture for my store.
Tree of Life necklace

Amanda's favorite ring

Amanda's favorite bracelet

Q. What inspires you or influences your art? Are you particularly interested in the jewelry of a certain time period?

A. I love all types of jewelry.  When I work on my jewelry I never have a plan in mind.  I usually sit down and open all my containers of beads and wire and just start picking things out and let the idea just come to me.  It is a very rare occasion that I actually come up with a design for a piece and think it out or plan it.  There are still so many areas I would love to expand my store with, one thing I am excited to try eventually will be working with resin and incorporating some of my paintings into my jewelry.

Q. Are you involved in any other artistic endeavors?

A. I absolutely love to paint.  I love abstract art and most of the paintings that I do are abstract.  A few of my pieces are actually for sale in my  jewelry store, but mostly I paint for fun and the pieces end up being used to decorate our home.

Q. Tell us a "secret" about yourself and/or your jewelry – something that will help us feel we know you better.

A. I love making  jewelry and most of my jewelry is rather girly, but I am actually kinda the opposite.  I have never been a girly girl, always the tomboy.  The closest I come to getting girly is when I wear my goth skirts with knee high boots and corsets lol.

Q. What are your favorite books and who are your favorite artists? Do certain books or works of art give you ideas for designs? Did Brandon come up with the idea for Molly's necklace and earrings or did he incorporate a design you already had into Elemental?

A. Wow, books I don't even know where to begin to try and come up with favorites.  I read so much and so many different genres.  I just love books in general.  I have a weakness for them, if I start a book I will literally sit and read the entire thing and not move lol.

One of my favorite "famous" artist is Luis Royo, I love how he can use a simple pallet of colors and still bring something to life and his work always has a very distinct quality to it that you know it is his work without having to see his name on it.  My husband is one of my favorite artists as well, in fact I actually I three tattoos that were designed by him for me, my most recent being a Nightmare Before Christmas scene on my arm.

Molly's necklace and earrings were completely Brandon's design.  I remember when he got me to read that section of the book he was so worried that he wouldn't have described the pieces well enough and was worried that his idea wouldn't seem special enough but he had no reason to worry at all. He actually put a lot of research into the type of jewelry he wanted to use and I remember him looking up different types of pearls and finding exactly what he thought would fit with the story.  When we made the pieces for the giveaway it was hard finding just the right items to make the necklace and do it justice because of how special and meaningful the piece is.

The Nightmare Before Christmas tat
designed for Amanda by Brandon

I have created a coupon code for your followers to use for 20% off total purchase.  The code is Junebug.

Thank you, Amanda, for answering my questions. I don't want The Hurricane to see that tat. She loves The Nightmare Before Christmas (so do I), but neither one of us has any tats yet, and I'd like to keep it that way till she has tenure or a fantastic job where they can't manage without her!

Now, don't you think it's time to shop for some jewelry?

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I think posting that I couldn't write MOVIE WEEKEND got almost as many comments as MOVIE WEEKEND does.

Los perros son muy bien. (I'm not sure why I'm reverting to Spanish, but for some reason it's a little easier to say in Spanish.)

Une gato esta muerto. En mi garaje.

Harper caught him Friday night. Harper doesn't like gatos. Favorite Young Man says Animal Control will pick up el gato, but they're not open over the weekend so he's been dead in my garage since Friday night. I like gatos. I feel really bad. And lonely. And sick to my stomach.

Friday, February 21, 2014


I apologize for not getting a movie weekend post done for you. We're having a little trouble here at la casa de los perros.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I have only a moment to write to you, dear ones. S.K. Anthony of has shown up at my door and demanded that I go to a coffee chat with her at Lynda Dietz's Easy Reader.

I gather we're going to talk about editing. Please visit us there, and would someone bring a coat for me?

I don't have one and I've heard they have this awful thing called snow.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug, now visiting Easy Reader

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today I am especially grateful for four men, each named Willy -- but my Willy in particular -- and the game of double deck pinochle.

How to explain?

We'll begin at the beginning. As you know, the love of my life (other than Favorite Young Man, The Hurricane, and Middle Child and her children) is named Willy Dunne Wooters. Mr. Wooters and I do not share a residence. I have my little house. He has his apartment near where he works. We usually get together once during the week, and then spend part of the weekend in tandem in my humble abode. (I won't go to his apartment. He has lived there for eight years and never cleaned the bathroom, but don't get too upset about this failing. He is clean and shiny when he's in my house. He understands my little OCD ways and he returns his coaster to the coaster holder on the lazy susan in the kitchen, among other vital tasks required to avoid rocking my world.)

Recently, Willy Dunne Wooters announced he would have to spend part of a Sunday away from me. "Smith" is flying in, and I'm going to the airport to meet him, Willy Dunne Wooters said.

I felt quite perplexed and requested details.

When I lived in *******, Willy Dunne Wooters said, "Smith" and "Jones" and "Wonka" and I got together every week to play double deck pinochle. "Smith" has a fairly long stop here today, so I'm going to the airport to pick him up. We're going to have lunch.

Pray tell, I uttered, doth "Smith" have a first name?

Oh, yes, Willy Dunne Wooters answered. His name is Willy, Willy Dunne Wooters explained. All four of us are named Willy so when we got together to play double deck pinochle we always called each other by our last names, Willy Dunne Wooters added.

You're shitting me, I said. All four of you are really and truly named Willy? I asked.

Oh, yeah, sure, said Willy Dunne Wooters. We've been friends for years. They all call me Wooters.

Then Willy Dunne Wooters went off to visit with "Smith" for a little while, and I called The Hurricane.

You won't believe it, I told her. Willy Dunne Wooters used to play double deck pinochle with three other men and every single one of them is named Willy.

The Hurricane might have been even more astonished by this news than I was. Willy is the only Willy I've ever known, I said.

I know a Willy, said The Hurricane. I work with a Willy, she said.

You know what I want? I said. I want a painting, I began

like the dogs playing poker, The Hurricane continued


Great minds do think alike.

Can you even imagine having four Willies in the same room?

Willy Dunne Wooters, thank you for being you. I'm so grateful you're in my life. Forevermore, the thought of four Willies and double deck pinochle will bring a smile to my face.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Monday, February 17, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I have an outstanding book for you today. It's No One's Daughter, a memoir by Jasmine Bath about growing up with an abusive mother. Bath states on the back cover of the book that the events took place during the '60s and '70s, when she was a child, and says: "I wrote it in an attempt to shed light on the ghosts that have haunted me for a lifetime, hoping that by putting them down on paper that I could look at them more objectively from a mature point of view and eventually free myself from them."

Please note that Ms. Bath gave me a copy of this book, knowing that I would review it. I will not profit from this review in any way other than sharing my admiration of the book with you.

Let's begin with my interview with Jasmine Bath, and then I'll review the book.

  1. From an emotional standpoint, how were you able to write the book? Did you finally achieve some level of hatred or forgiveness or being sick of it all that allowed you to let it out? 

It was probably a combination of all those things and more. There was a period of hatred, confusion, and anger regarding not only my mother, but toward all the things that my sisters and I endured during the childhoods we never had. As an adult, I suffered from triggers that I didn’t fully understand until I began writing about the incidents and that allowed me to understand why I reacted the way I did in certain circumstances.

  1. What can you share about the publication process that might help other authors?

As difficult as the writing process can be, publishing as an indie is not for the faint of heart. Your work will be, consciously or unconsciously, scrutinized by every person who reads it. When publishing a memoir avoid the temptation to embellish or exaggerate, readers will pick up on that and feel their intelligence has been insulted and rightfully so. Tell your story as honestly as possible but don’t feel you have to write the things that you still keep closely hidden in your heart if you aren’t ready to bare that part of you.

  1. I don't know how old your children are. If you don't want to provide that information, I understand, but if they are old enough to know what you went through, then how do they feel about the book?

My children are all adults now but they’ve always been somewhat aware of my childhood being very different than their own. They’ve always known that it is very important to me that they understand how much they’re loved, how much I value them and believe in them because I never had that in my own life.The kids have been tremendously supportive regarding the book.

  1. Do you have any contact with your mother or sisters? I would love to learn that your sisters grew up and matured and have turned out well and that your mother straightened herself out, but I'm afraid that's not very likely.

When my older children were young, I tried to have a relationship with my mother and sisters so my children could have a sense of family. Unfortunately, my mother and sisters remained who and what they are, never breaking free from the dysfunction or the drama, never seeming to acknowledge it or wanting something better. My mother had no real interest in having a relationship with my children or me and I felt that it served no purpose in allowing them to be shunned and ignored by her. I was used to it but couldn’t allow her to do it to them. I always knew that I didn’t really have anything in common with my sisters but after a lifetime of feeling obligated to somehow be there for them, I tried for many years to have a relationship with them as well but when I reached the point of being drained financially by one and emotionally by both, I finally had to walk away.

My mother is a very old woman now. I have not had any contact with her in many years. She has grandchildren who would not know her if they passed her on the street, nor would she recognize them. She has great grandchildren that she has never met nor shown an interest in knowing and they have no idea that they even have a great grandmother. My own children have individually made the decision to not have my mother or my sisters in their lives or the lives of their own children.

  1. Why did you write the book? Was it purely for emotional release? Was it painful to relive the past, or cathartic? I remember you Tweeted that it was a "bloodletting" – I think that was the term you used. I believe this type of book is important because if we aren't reminded about the horrors that some people experience, then we don't know that we need to keep an eye on our neighbors and friends and strangers, too, because it really does take a village. Too often we don't reach out to help. 

My original intention was to write about some of the things that happened in my childhood in order to look back at them from an adult perspective. I had hoped that maybe it would be similar to going back to your childhood home, when you go back and realize that the huge house you remembered was actually not all that large. I wanted to put all my childhood demons on paper so I could look at them as an adult and convince myself that they weren’t really all that terrifying. I was trying to convince myself that my nightmares, my triggers and phobias were the result of the over exaggerated memories of a child.

Once I began writing about the incidents, it became very apparent to me that I could have very easily been another statistic of a child that was killed by a parent. I had always allowed my mother to ‘explain’ away things but it never took the pain away. When I was able to write and remember the pain of what really was, it was immensely cathartic, very much a bloodletting. That was another thing that completely took me off guard, realizing how many people knew or suspected what was going on and did nothing proactive to help my sisters and me. Of course it was different back then, there was no active CPS and domestic violence and child abuse were considered ‘private family matters’ but I’ve often wondered how much different my own life would have been had someone forcibly stepped in to protect me.

  1. Did you struggle with telling this story, or did it flow out in a rush? What's your writing process like?

When I began writing, the words came forth as if they had burst through a dam. There was no hesitation because in memoir writing, you’ve already lived what you’re writing and you know how the story ends. My biggest struggle after putting all the incidents I wrote about into chronological order was deciding what chapters I would not publish; eventually I published it without ten of the original chapters. This was done because there were incidents that I was not comfortable sharing.

7. Do you have plans for any other books?

I do, several. Right now I’m trying to navigate through a recent health issue that is keeping me completely distracted but as soon as I can pull myself together mentally and emotionally, I’ll begin writing again.

And now for my review:

I recommend this book with all my heart. I had difficulty remembering that it was about the 1960s and '70s because Bath is so adept at telling her story through the eyes of the child she was. She not only had to make a day-to-day Herculean effort to keep herself alive; she took care of two younger sisters who were alternately spoiled or ignored by their mother:

I don't remember what it was like before Julie was born, I've been taking care of her for so long that I can't remember what it's like to get up in the morning and not have to dress her, try and find her something to eat and spend all the time that I'm not in school with her. She even sleeps with me at night so if she wakes up crying I can take care of her so she doesn't wake Mom. I tell her stories at night so she'll go to sleep and I'm the one she comes to for everything else. 

Children at school shunned and abused Bath because her clothes were dirty, and she didn't have lunch money. Her mother's favorite "game" was pretending to be dead to terrify Bath and force her to profess her love and beg for forgiveness. Why did she need forgiveness? She had enraged her mother for no true reason -- enraged her to the point that Bath was physically abused by her mother and a string of boyfriends her mother brought into their small homes.

What bothers me the most is that NO ONE INTERVENED to help these children. How could adults in their neighborhood and at the school not realize that something was wrong? No doubt they knew. It's easier not getting involved.

You know I'm not one to be at a loss for words, but I'm having difficulty telling you how much this book means to me and how it affects me. It's so well written -- no histrionics. Just the simple story. It touches me deeply. 

Even more important is the fact that, without saying so explicitly, No One's Daughter sounds an alarm for all of us to be engaged with the circumstances in which our neighbors live -- to keep an eye on children everywhere and to never be afraid to call attention to the fact that help is needed. If we can't do anything ourselves, then we need to call the police or call Child Protective Services. We just need to be more aware.

No One's Daughter earns The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.

So many of you are snowed in. Take advantage of the opportunity to read this book, available as an e-book or a physical book. You can buy it from Amazon at or from at

I hope that in some small way I've done this book justice. It cries out to be read.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I have two very different movies for your consideration, and I like both of them.

The first is Lawless (2012, Rated R, Available on DVD).

Based on a true story, Lawless is about the Bondurant boys of Franklin County, Virginia, and their bootlegging business with self-produced white lightning. Authorities seek bribes from the Bondurants during 1931. They refuse. Bloodshed ensues.

This movie, understandably, is pretty dark and has moments of violence that took me aback somewhat. However, it's also an interesting character study. Forrest and Howard Bondurant (Tom Hardy and Jason Clarke) are the tough guy, stoic mountain men, while youngest brother, Jack (Shia LeBeouf), tends to be weak and cowardly. But don't make the mistake of thinking that because these men are country bootleggers that they're stupid. It's also not about Good (the Bondurants) v. Bad (corrupt law enforcement). They're all bad guys, but the Bondurants make interesting bad guys.

The acting is great. We also have some romance with Jessica Chastain holding her own as Maggie. The plot is so interesting that it inspired me to learn more about the Bondurants. The movie is based on a novel by Matt Bondurant, Jack's grandson, called The Wettest County In The World . I'm very interested in reading the book, even though Matt Bondurant never interviewed his rather frightening Grandpa Jack about his exploits. I believe the novel includes a lot of family lore, and the movie is loosely based on the "facts", which don't seem to be known in this case. The Bondurant boys didn't keep diaries under their pillows.

Here's the real Jack Bondurant, photographed in 1935:

Lawless earns The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval. This movie is not for children. I'll leave it to you to decide if your teens should be allowed to watch. Lawless certainly portrays a very different time and place. I've been to some backwaters in Virginia. I felt as if I had left behind the rest of America. 

And now for something completely completely different: Stuck In Love (2012, Rated R, Available on DVD and Netflix Screaming).

Bill Borgens (Greg Kinnear) is a formerly successful writer who hasn't written anything since his wife, Erica (Jennifer Connelly), left him three years ago for another man. He's so stuck in love that he still sets a place at the table for Erica on Thanksgiving, certain that she will return. He has enough money from his published works to spend his time trysting with a neighbor, spying on Erica -- he particularly enjoys it when she argues with his replacement -- and dealing with his two teenaged children, both of whom are becoming successful writers themselves. Rusty Borgens (Nat Wolff) continues to see his mother, while Samantha (Lily Collins) wants nothing to do with her. In fact, Samantha doesn't believe in love, though Rusty is willing to experiment with it.

Stuck In Love has a number of implausible points, and I don't care. I love a love story, especially one that includes authors and books. Greg Kinnear is quite amusing as he sneaks around his ex-wife's house, and she knows he's out there. Sometimes she watches him watch her. Rusty and Samantha have some very tender and poignant moments in their own relationships, as they learn about love. Best of all, we have a happy ending.

I watched this movie with Willy Dunne Wooters, and he loves it.

Stuck In Love earns The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval. It's not for children. I think teens of about 15 and older can watch it, if you discuss it. The film includes casual sex and casual pot smoking (is there any other kind?). 

Happy viewing!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

What do you know about Shirley Temple?

When I learned yesterday that Shirley died at the age of 85, I emailed The Hurricane about it. (We try to let each other know about important news events. She told me when Osama bin Laden was killed, and I told her about Shirley Temple -- no relation.)

The Hurricane replied, I didn't know she was alive.

I think The Hurricane and Favorite Young Man have some inkling of who Shirley Temple was, but I'm not sure. I never showed them her movies.

I was not yet born during Shirley's heyday, but when I was a teenager, a local TV station showed an old movie every Sunday. One week it would be Tarzan, and the next week, Shirley Temple.

That's how Shirley and I became friends. I can't tell you the plots of any of her movies. She usually seemed to be an orphan of some sort who carried on in the face of disaster and, in the meantime, reunited some estranged couple, fought wars, ended them, traveled the Amazon, became President of the United States -- oops! I'm getting Shirley confused with Teddy Roosevelt.

I have a favorite Shirley Temple movie. I don't know what it's about, but it's called The Little Colonel. I had heard of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson because The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band sang Mr. Bojangles on one of their albums. I finally saw Mr. Bojangles in action when he and Shirley danced together in The Little Colonel, from 1935.

It's not easy to dance on stairs.

Bill Robinson said that Shirley could learn a dance by listening to his taps.

I also remember Shirley's forays into politics when I was a young woman. I believe she was President Reagan's Chief of Protocol for a while and was appointed to an ambassadorship by President Ford.

When I get to Heaven and Shirley and I can sit down for a talk, I want to ask her two questions:

  1. Shirley, did you keep on dancing when you were older? Did you ever dance a step or two up the stairs of your house, or did you dance for your children?
  2. How did you stop yourself from killing your parents when you found out they'd squandered your fortune? I never heard you say anything bad about them, but it must have been quite a shock when you went to collect your millions and they turned out to be $44,000. (Mr. Temple managed Shirley's money. Supposedly the family lived on what Mrs. Temple was paid for working with Shirley on movie sets; however, they lived in a lavish mansion, made bad investments, "loaned" money to friends and relatives, and did not make the required deposits to Shirley's trust fund.) Shirley, you must have been one of the most forgiving people ever.
When I was in college, a friend showed me her mother's original Shirley Temple doll. It wasn't a reproduction from the fifties. It was the real thing, and it was in perfect condition.

Now, how about you? Did you, like The Hurricane, not know that Shirley Temple was still alive? Do you have any memories of Shirley Temple?

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I am so pleased to continue my reign as your Queen of Grammar, and I thank you for your support.

Although mine is not a paid position, I do appreciate the little tokens of gratitude that you send me.

I believe it all started with my badge, a gift from fishducky, who is currently on a medical leave of absence.

Fishducky also sends me grammar-related cartoons.

Andi, a.k.a. Little Myoo of delusions of ingenuity -- who thinks she can play that Yamaha she has and she kind of can but not as well as I'd play it if it were in my living room -- emailed 19 Jokes Only Grammar Nerds Will Understand. (What doth this word "nerd' signify? It can't possibly refer to Your Queen.)

One of Andi's offerings:

Most recently, I received this adorable card from Juli of Surviving Boys:

Please remember that Your Queen is here to assist you with all your grammatical needs.

Ah, 'tis a lovely day. The sun is shining. The dogs are at play. We have no snow, and we never will.

Thus, I bid you a fond farewell -- until tomorrow, darling subjects (and predicates).

In honor of fishducky:

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Monday, February 10, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today I'm joining a very cool blogfest in honor of Crystal Collier's novel, Moonless, which was already available as an e-book, and can now be purchased in print. I'm very happy for Crystal, and happy for myself because I don't read e-books (too hard on my old lady eyes).

I don't participate in many blogfests, but I couldn't pass up this one because of the question Crystal wants us to answer. It's right up my writerly and readerly alley, but first, here's the info on Moonless.

In the English society of 1768 where women are bred to marry, unattractive Alexia, just sixteen, believes she will end up alone. But on the county doorstep of a neighbor’s estate, she meets a man straight out of her nightmares, one whose blue eyes threaten to consume her whole world—especially when she discovers him standing over her murdered host in the middle of the night.

Her nightmares become reality: a dead baron, red-eyed wraiths, and forbidden love with a man hunted by these creatures. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with her beloved and risk becoming one of the Soulless.

Crystal's publisher is very kindly offering $2.00 off the purchase of Moonless to blogfest readers – that means you – until Feb. 14th (Valentine's Day!). Go to and use the Coupon code: LQJM3F84. Moonless can be purchased from a variety of sources. Just click on

So here's Crystal's question for us blogfest participants: If you lived in a society where arranged marriages were a la mode, whom would you beg your parents to set you up with? Why? (Literary characters and celebrities welcomed.) 

My response: Well, of course I choose a literary lover, but in a way he's a celebrity lover also. I would beg my parents to set me up with Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, by my beloved Jane Austen. Mr. Darcy seems to be so haughty and unpleasant at first, but as we get to know him, we find out he's the good guy. I want to marry such a kind, upstanding young man, who just happens to have plenty of money and be ever so good looking. 

I look forward to living in Mr. Darcy's ancestral estate, Longbourn, especially because I wouldn't have to dust or scrub the floors or cook or do laundry or anything! Mr. Darcy has servants to take care of all that. I would spend all my time being loved and admired by my dear Mr. Darcy.

Besides, when I picture Mr. Darcy, here's the celebrity I imagine:

Colin Firth played the quintessential Mr. Darcy in the excellent Price and Prejudice mini-series, one of my all-time favorite shows. Oi! when Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth) steps out of that pond to greet Lizzie – well, he might as well forget her because now I'm available.

Find the rest of the hop below!

And while you're at it, enter to win one of these great prizes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you, Crystal, for coming up with this excellent blogfest. I wish you all the success in the world.

I hope you'll visit as many blogfest participants as you can, and be sure to tell me in your comment: With whom would you want your parents to set you up if we went back to the days of arranged marriages?

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, February 7, 2014


Gentle Readers . .  and Maxwell,

We have a guest post today! Jessica L. Brooks is on a blog tour to promote her new book, If I Speak True.

And here's Jessica's Guest Post:

Hi, Janie! Thanks so much for having me here to talk a little bit about the publication process for If I Speak True. 

First, I’d like to say that this book has been through so many stages, I don’t even know how to go about my initial “how would I do things differently this time” response because this is the book I tried (many, many times) to go traditionally pubbed with. In the process of trying so many times to do so (and make it “fit into the publishing box” or “stand out”), however, the book changed. And grew. 

And morphed into something different until I knew it was meant to be shared with whomever I could share it, in whatever way possible. 

With that said, I’m not sure if I would have changed anything about the entire process, from start to finish, because even though it took years longer than I wanted and I received so many rejections (there were tears, let me tell you), it--and the people I came into contact with who helped shape it into what it is now--ultimately benefited the book, and for that, I am grateful.
Not only did that “waiting period” wield a positive result, but being as I chose to self-publish (or, go “indie”--however you want to say it), I was able to have complete control over every aspect (including getting to use my amazing cover designer… again). None of these amazing things would have happened had 1) the book been picked up in traditional publishing or 2) I trashed this book and gone on to trying a different one to catch someone’s eye in the traditional publishing field.

And maybe that’s the point of what this post is supposed to say: That sometimes, giving up isn’t an option. Sure it’s okay to move on to something new, but if this book (or anything else you are passionate about in life, really) and the time invested in it means something to you, then it’s okay to find a way to share it with the world. 

Jessica L. Brooks, young adult author
Pity Isn't An Option and If I Speak True available now

Connect with me at: Let Me Tell You A Story
Be a member of my team! Sign up for my enewsletter to receive exclusive content, deals and more HERE

Dahlia Kennedy's sixteenth birthday marks a decade of mysterious dahlias arriving and strange, lonely dreams of being in a forest. The only difference this birthday, however, is that for the first time, someone is there with her. And he's practically from a whole other era.

The more often Dahlia visits Rowan in his land of Ambrosia, the stronger their connection grows. But... is Ambrosia real? Is he real? What is going on between the two of them, exactly, and why does he insist that she keep it to herself?

As secrets usually go, however, it's only a matter of time before everything comes out. And when Dahlia finds out the truth of who Rowan is, who she is, and how he really feels -- it’s beyond anything she could have ever imagined.

About the Author:

Jessica BrooksJessica L. Brooks resides with her husband of over sixteen years, three awesome daughters, and a plethora of pets in Central California, where fog, frost, triple-digit heat and various items of produce arrive bountifully, depending on the season. She has an affinity for both coffee and owls, and loves to connect with fellow readers and writers on most social networks like
Goodreads, Twitter and Pinterest. You can also connect with her on her blog, Let Me Tell You A Story.

Jessica shares reviews for her favorite books on Afterglow Book Reviews, spreads writing and author love for independently-published authors at Indie Ignites, and salutes all writers (no matter what stage in their writerly journey) at Operation Awesome.

Janie Junebug says: Thank you, Jessica. I like your message, especially "giving up isn't an option". 

Infinities of love and thanks to Jessica L. Brooks,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I'm so sorry for not presenting a proper MOVIE WEEKEND today. I've been so busy, so I'm going to make this post easy and tell you about two movies you should not see. I don't want you to waste your time; however, if you saw these movies and liked them, then just shut the hell up about it please feel free to tell me about your opinion even though I couldn't care less.

The first movie is called The Last Ride (2012, PG-13, Available on DVD).

It's 1952. A young man is hired to drive a very drunk Hank Williams to a couple of shows. We know how that turns out. Nothing much happens on the way, except a fight or two.

The Last Ride earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Disparagement.

Our second movie is The Words (2012, PG-13, Available on DVD).

Yes, I know that's Bradley Cooper on the cover of the DVD or the movie poster or whatever that is that I lifted borrowed from IMDb, but I can't recommend this movie. I simply cannot do it even though Bradley Cooper is probably next in line to be my boyfriend if I ever get tired of Willy Dunne Wooters, though I don't know how that could happen because we made my bed collapse last night he's such a good boyfriend.

What is this movie about? I'm not sure. This young hottie named Rory (Bradley Cooper) wants to be a writer. It's not working out for him. Then he discovers a manuscript, passes it off as his own, and it's a big success. But the past catches up to Rory when The Old Man (Jeremy Irons) who wrote the book confronts Rory. Meanwhile, we see scenes with Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid) presenting a reading of a book of his own about Rory stealing The Old Man's words.

If you saw this movie and you understand the plot, then will you please explain it to me? The Words earns The Janie Junebug Terrence Malick Seal of Disapproval because I totally did not understand his film, The Tree of Life.

I promise that next week I'll have movies that are MOVIE WEEKEND DOS.  In other words, they'll be worth watching.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

If you haven't seen this week's episode of Downton Abbey yet, then stop reading NOW. Spoilers ahead!

While we wait for the uninitiated to depart, I have an announcement: We shall have a guest post on Friday by Jessica L. Brooks, author of If I Speak True.

Okay. I think we've dumped the folks who haven't seen Downton Abbey yet this week.

You know we need to dish about Lady Edith. What in the world will she do? Robert is going to shit a brick cackle and lay eggs when he finds out she has a bun in the oven. She can't find Michael, who so callously robbed her of her virginity as she spread her legs and enjoyed the romp in the hay, and then he disappeared.

So what do you think? Will Michael turn up? If he doesn't, then what should Edith do? I think that a way of keeping Tom Branson, the Irish chauffeur who was married to the adorable Lady Sibyl who died immediately after the birth of her baby and then they made Tom the estate manger, uh, where was I?

Here are Sibyl and Tom before she bought the farm, and I don't mean purchased land – bought the farm as in went toes up:

Oh, yes. To keep Tom from moving to America with Baby Sibyl, he could marry Edith to save the family's reputation.

What do you think poor beaky-nosed Lady Edith should do?

She's not showing yet, but she will be before long.

Lady Edith before she got knocked up:

It must be so difficult to be Lady Mary's younger sister. Here's my favorite photo of Mary:

No wonder Edith makes such a display of herself:

She has to do whatever it takes to get attention, but I don't think she'll like the attention she gets for being on the nest without a husband.

So, please, I eagerly await your responses regarding what Edith should do, as do Edith and her unborn bastard child. And I hope they don't make the problem go away with a miscarriage. They that dance must pay the piper.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug