Thursday, September 28, 2017


To read the beginning of this story, please click on I WAS PHISHED AND I NIBBLED ON THE BAIT.

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

After I sent my cover letter and résumé to "William George" of Sas, which is a real company that has a beautiful, professional Web site, I was surprised to find another email from Sas in my inbox the very next day.

This time "Jessica Julious" wrote:


        Sas Institute has approved your application for the position of a Content writer/Editor after careful review of your resume/portfolio and we want to arrange you for an immediate interview with our Human Resource hiring Manager Dexter Jackson ASAP.

        To begin the process you need to get a Gmail account and install Google Hangout on your PC or phone and add Dexter on his hangout ID then send him a message on hangout to communicate with him, you can do the hangout chat interview either on your computer or mobile.

        We look forward to hearing back from you asap and i wish you best of luck with your interview.

Human Resource,
Dexter's Hangout ID: I removed the link because I don't want you to click on it

Interview code: Saswriters007.

I had already started to suspect that the job was too good to be true. When I received the second email, "scam scam scam scam" wouldn't stop running through my brain.

What is it about the second email that you think tipped me toward believing it was a phishing expedition?

Once again, to be continued . . . .

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today I present The Silver Fox, who blogs at The Lair of The Silver Fox (where else could he possibly blog?), with his tips for writing dialog. Considering that The Silver Fox writes the best dialog of any blogger I know, I hope you'll take his thoughts to heart, and I hope you'll follow his blog. Even if you aren't interested in comic books and dead celebrities––he writes some killer short stories, too––I recommend that you read his blog every time he posts something because he's a great writer. We can all learn from the greats.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Today's post is a "simulcast" of sorts, due to be posted on my blog and on Janie Junebug Righting and Editing, the blog of "Janie Junebug." That's all you need to know, I guess.

*  *  *  *  *

People who've read stories that I've written have often complimented me on the way I write the dialog -- or "dialogue," if you prefer -- between my characters. Janie asked me several months ago if I would be interested in writing a guest post for her blog. Typically, I procrastinated, but finally, here it is.

In the guise of presenting this as a cohesive article, I'm just going to give you a bulleted list of random thoughts on the subject of dialog, in no real order.
  • The most important thing is to make your dialog sound real, "real" being defined as true to how the individual character would speak.
  • This may sound painfully obvious, but one of the most important parts of writing good dialog is to listen to people, and the way that they talk. Since I'm a nosy little cuss anyway, this has never been a problem for me. I've "overheard" a lot of conversations in my time.
  • Keep in mind that people rarely speak correctly. Even educated people will not necessarily talk the way that they write. (This is a case of first learning the rules, and then knowing which rules to break, and why. Don't be afraid to use improper grammar in your dialog, but don't overdo it.) 
  • Even a Grammar Nazi like myself, who cringes at the way some folks speak, will often say "can I" when I should really say "may I," or "I don't feel good" when we all know I should say that "I don't feel well" instead. How often do you hear someone say "I will" instead of "I shall," "who" instead of "whom," and "I could care less" when the correct term is "I couldn't care less?" Quite a bit, right?
  • Having said that, if your character is a college professor or someone similar, he or she might very well speak using proper grammar. Let me repeat that you should always use dialog that's appropriate to its speaker. When I had a writing partner, we shared a blog on which, among other posts, we had an ongoing serial featuring characters which were idealized versions of ourselves. I usually had to re-write the dialog he'd written for the character based on myself, because his dialog just didn't sound like me. To list just two examples: Once, he posted a supposed email I'd written, in which I used the popular abbreviations "LOL" and "ROFL." Well, I never use either of those (although I do occasionally use "IIRC," and "btw" for "by the way"). And in another post, his original version of my dialog had me using the expression "goddamn," which I absolutely never say. But I digress...
  • Even people with an extensive vocabulary don't always utilize said vocabulary when they speak. Personally, I've found that using so-called "big words" in a conversation can often derail the conversation itself if and when the other person or persons speaking to each other didn't understand some word that I used. I once used the term "disparage" when talking to someone who interrupted me to ask what the word meant. I began using the word "motivation" rather than "impetus" for the same reason. I used to get a lot of funny looks when I used the word "impetus." Maybe they thought I was saying "impotent." Anyway, there's also the fact that using certain words might make people think that you're trying to impress them, and they'll resent it. I once heard Jon Stewart use the word "vituperative" not once, but twice, during a single week of broadcasts on The Daily Show. Although it would have been easy enough for someone to discern the meaning of the word from its context in these two examples, I don't think I'd dare use "vituperative" on an everyday basis.
  • Real people use contractions. Constantly. Of course, if the character whose dialog you're writing is an uptight, stuffy, pain-in-the-ass kinda guy (or woman), an absence of contractions in his or her speech may be just the thing you're looking for to convey the character's stodginess to your readers.
  • Have you ever prepared for a confrontation by planning in detail what you're going to say to your employer, boyfriend/girlfriend, or someone else the next time you see him or her? It almost never worked, right? That's because you may have written a "script" for yourself, but you can't do it for the other person, too. In effect, that means that they're ad-libbing to your script, and they'll interrupt you, or change the subject slightly, or misunderstand something you said and question you about it. Anything might happen, and recognizing that may help you to write an interesting and realistic exchange among your characters.
  • Remember that in real life, nobody likes to feel that they're listening to a speech, so one person will often interrupt another, even if the interrupter in question only says things like "uh-huh," "right," "I see," etc.
  • People don't always finish their sentences. Sometimes they can't put their complete thought into words, and their voices just trail off.
  • No matter how many times you've read that proper grammar dictates that you should never end a sentence with a preposition, people do it all the flamin' time when they converse. In fact, I just did it purposely in my previous bullet point.
  • People split infinitives frequently, even though you're not supposed to ever do it. Heh.
  • Somewhere along the line, most people got it into their heads that the word "me" should almost always be avoided. That's why you hear things like "The police came to question her and I," when "her and me" is correct. On a related note, I've often heard people begin a sentence with "Her and I," as in "Her and I went to the store." Is that an incorrect usage? Of course it is. The correct expression would be "She and I." Do people make that mistake all the time in conversation? Sure they do.
  • With the exceptions of characters who primarily used contemporary slang -- like "Say, what kinda hooey are you tryin' to hand me?" -- actors and actresses in movies of the 1930s and 1940s were often given lines that one would never use in a real conversation. To list only one example, in Now, Voyager, Bette Davis said "Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars." That's a great, memorable quote, but who the hell would actually say something like that in the real world? Try to avoid things like that.
  • I'm going to wrap this up by telling you one of my little tricks, and it applies not only to my dialog, but to a lesser extent, my narration. I use italics to stress certain words. Using italics pretty much forces your reader to read the sentence in the way that you want it read. And the placement of that stressed word is often very important. For example? "Hey, that's my wife!" means something akin to "Hey, I know that woman over there! Boy, do I ever!" And then there's "Hey, that's my wife!" which probably means something to the effect of "Don't kiss her. Go home and kiss your own wife." And "Hey, that's my wife!" no doubt means something like "I'm not married to any of those other women. I'm married to that one." My former writing partner had a tendency to stress words at random, and that frequently made for some awkward reading. Try that sentence this way: "My former writing partner apparently stressed random words, and that frequently made for some awkward reading." Just doesn't sound right, does it? I sure had my job cut out for me when I worked with him!
I'm sure there are several other points that I should have mentioned and didn't, but I think this'll do for one post!

Thanks for your time.

Janie Junebug here: Thank you, Silver Fox, for enlightening us. I love your writing! And I think you'll like knowing that I do use "vituperative" in my everyday life.

Monday, September 25, 2017


Before we get into today's subject, please remember that tomorrow we have a TIP TUESDAY post by The Silver Fox (who blogs from The Lair of the Silver Fox) with his suggestions for writing good dialog. His characters are such smooth talkers that they could charm me right out of my pant . . . never mind. But I know you won't want to miss his post, which will be on his blog and mine.  

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

As you might recall, I was without electricity for a little while and without the internet for a longer while after Hurricane Irma blew through town.

When my internet returned, it took quite a while for me to get through all my emails. Last week I discovered quite the interesting email in my inbox at my other email address––the one I use when I'm not Janie Junebug. It had arrived the day after the storm.

You also might recall that I've been job hunting. What I don't think I've mentioned is that I use to search for jobs. My financial adviser recommended indeed to me. One of his other clients used it to find a job.

Anyjob, here's the email I received:

Sas Institute near you is now hiring for a Freelance Content Writer/Editor. We are looking for a Content Writer/Editor, who will report directly to the Director of Marketing, to efficiently deliver high-quality website content that serves as compelling advertising copy while also leveraging proper SEO principles. The ideal candidate has a strong understanding of how to create informative copy within the confines of SEO principles and can edit content to meet quality and accuracy standards with the ultimate goal of providing accurate, informative and engaging content.

Duties may also include:

Check content for accuracy and errors.
Edit content for proper grammar and punctuation.
Edit content for clarity and readability.
Proofread, edit and review content for quality, value and uniqueness.
Review content to ensure effective SEO keyword density
Meet deadlines and Adhere to deadlines.
Write technical content, how-to articles, sales copy and blog posts based on research.
Brainstorm article topics for new & existing web projects.


Medical/Dental/Vision plans, and paid vacation and personal time off.
We pay you $48/hr.
Monday -Friday , Part time & Full time flexible hours daily.
You can even work remotely. forwarded us your contact email so if you feel you are qualified for this position, please submit a resume or portfolio to (I removed the link because you shouldn't click on it) to apply.  

Would you take the bait? I did. 

I emailed a beautiful cover letter, my outstanding résumé, and the Web address for my writing portfolio to "William George." 

I'll tell you what happened next after we've enjoyed TIP TUESDAY by The Silver Fox. In other words, to be continued . . . . 

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Willy Dunne Wooters prays
that my leap at this job doesn't break my bones.

Thursday, September 21, 2017


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

The Big Sick is a quietly funny movie with an interesting history (2017, Rated R, Recently Released on DVD).

The movie stars Kumail Nanjiani, a stand-comedian who plays himself, and was written by Nanjiani and his wife, Emily Gordon. It's loosely based on their real-life relationship.

Pakistani-born Kumail and his family have lived in the U.S. for years, but Kumail's parents still expect him to follow Pakistani traditions, such as having an arranged marriage. They also want him to become a lawyer.

Instead, Kumail has become a stand-up comedian, and he falls in love with an American girl named Emily (Zoe Kazan). Their relationship falters, though, when Kumail refuses to introduce Emily to his parents. He can't even bring himself to inform his parents that he has a girlfriend, and that he's not interested in any of the Pakistani women to whom they introduce him.

Then the big sick occurs. Emily is sick––so dangerously ill that it's life threatening. Will Kumail choose his relationship with Emily or his relationship with his family, or will he find a way to have both?

I like this movie a lot. It has some poignant moments, but ultimately, everything works out (I say this for those of you who need to know that the movie won't depress you and there's a  happy ending, but I don't think it's really a spoiler because I already told you that Kumail and Emily are married and they wrote the movie together; you should also take a look at the closing credits because they include some photos of Kumail and the real Emily, and Kumail's parents).

Kumail's difficulties with his parents are funny because Kumail can find the hilarity in them. Emily's parents are played by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano. I love Holly Hunter. I always think that Ray Romano is playing Ray Romano, but he's okay, too.

The Big Sick earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval. This is a movie I'll want to see again when it turns up on HBO or Netflix streaming. For my first viewing, I watched a DVD mailed to me by my friends at Netflix and delivered by my friendly neighborhood mail carrier.

Happy viewing! Beck, will you sing us out, please? Devils Haircut is part of The Big Sick's soundtrack.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Here's an error I see all the time, and it bugs the heck out of me:

Let's try and go to the grocery store tomorrow.


Tomorrow you're going to try (at something, I don't know what), and after you try, apparently you want to go to the grocery store.

What you want to say is the following:

Let's try to go to the grocery store tomorrow.

Please don't think I'm singling out anyone because of this error or that I don't want to read your blogs because of it. It's a mistake that's all over the place.

I have good news for you. Next week's TIP TUESDAY will feature a guest post by the man who doesn't write guest posts.  He's The Silver Fox, who blogs at The Lair of the Silver Fox, and he's going to try to help us learn how to write better dialog. His dialog is mighty smooth.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thanks, fishducky!

Monday, September 18, 2017


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Here we are, a week after Hurricane Irma, and all is well.

I have some Irma-related photos for your viewing pleasure.

Favorite Young Man read after the storm was over and we were without electricity:

We grilled delicious steaks:

This branch fell on the deck with quite a thud:

The backyard after Irma: 

The water wasn't as bad as it looks. It's almost dried up now.

The steps to the deck:

A neighbor's tree blows in the wind:

You can't see it in the photo, but the tree split in half at the top.

The pile of debris I created in the front yard:

That's not my car, but you can see that my leaves-and-branches sculpture is longer than the car. I still have plenty of leaves to rake in the yard.

Thanks to all of you who tried to stay in touch with us during the storm and expressed concern for our well-being. I'm sure you can see why I keep saying that it could have been a lot worse:

This is not my house, but it's nearby:

I'm very sorry for the people who have to deal with such damage, but no one died here.

The suffering caused by Irma in some areas is beyond anything I have ever experienced.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, September 15, 2017


Hello. It is I, Her Royal Highness The Princess Penlapee, I mean Penelope (that damn Franklin makes me forget my own name).

We had a big storm. Mom Mom forced me to take potty breaks in the rain. I was angry.

I got back at Mom Mom yesterday. I sneaked out to the living room to take a potty break there. Ha ha, Mom Mom.

When Mom Mom criticized me for making a puddle, I went outside and buried my paws in the mud. Then I came inside, went in the bedroom, and wiped the mud off on the quilt on our bed. I don't mind a little mud on the bed, but Mom Mom hates it. Ha ha again, Mom Mom.

I hated Irma. She was ugly and mean and she hurt many people, but not us. That is because I made her go away. I huffed, and I puffed, and I blew Irma away.

Now I have ordered Human Brother to pet me.

That is all. Goodbye.

I am soft and cuddly.
Human Brother adores me.
Everyone adores me.

Thursday, September 14, 2017


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

At last, I'm back online.

I've heard on the news that my city of Jacksonville, Florida, is experiencing historic flooding, but I haven't seen it. I'm not one to go out sight seeing after a disaster.

Irma was different from last year's Hurricane Matthew. The wind was worse (hence the branches strewn all over the yard), but the rain wasn't as heavy––at least not in my neighborhood. Lake Junebug has some water, but not enough for a swim. If you've made reservations at The Lake Junebug Resort, please don't cancel. You can watch Netflix (through the window--you didn't think I was letting you in the house, did you?) now that the internet has been restored, and you'll still receive your gourmet meals. The exercise program has been improved with the addition of yard cleanup.

Franklin is distressed. Since the storm ended, he has wanted to spend all his time in the backyard. He seems to feel that he has to guard the piles of debris. I wish he'd stop and allow someone to steal it.

We were without electricity for 24 hours. Not the end of the world. We read while it was light. Then Favorite Young Man read by flashlight, and I read on my tablet.

Others have suffered far more than we have. It's still difficult to find items such as bread and milk in the grocery stores, but we're fine. Favorite Young Man went back to work on Tuesday. He says some businesses are open. Some remain closed.

I'll provide photos of the crime scene after I finish the book I'm editing and send it back to its author.

And to the man who sent me such interesting text messages during the storm, thanks for the entertainment. We'll keep our little tryst a secret from Willy Dunne Wooters.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Saturday, September 9, 2017


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

My policy continues to be the following: do not worry.

We are prepared. We have tons of water and food. We are NOT in an evacuation zone. The only people in Jacksonville (northeastern Florida) who have been told to evacuate are those living in mobile homes and manufactured houses (I suspect people who live at the beaches will receive a mandatory evacuation order at some point). My house has been here since 1940, and it's not likely to go anyplace now.

Jacksonville has six shelters open; two are "pet friendly," but the pets have to be in crates or cages, and owners must have the animals' vaccination records.

Although the national news programs are screaming about Irma––and yes, she has behaved abominably––she's supposed to tire out some before she gets to us. She's been one busy lady. She will need a rest.

A lot of businesses are closed or closing early––only fair to their employees. Some gas stations are running low on fuel, or are closed. Liquor stores appear to be doing a brisk business. I suspect the neighborhood bars will remain open.

I'll try to keep you updated throughout the storm. My main concern is the possibility of losing power, but the propane tank for my grill is full so if we must, we'll cook on the grill when the storm is over. We might cook on the grill anyway. We have steaks.

My lovely friend who lives in Atlanta tried to convince me to pay her a visit, but Favorite Young Man and I don't want to spend hours in the traffic when it doesn't seem to be necessary. If we do have problems, we can always decamp to the apartment of one Mr. Willy Dunne Wooters. I told my friend that he never loses power. She asked why.

My response: he lives in a gated community and the storm gods don't know the code.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Yeah, that's my Willy.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Tourists are being evacuated from the Keys. Later today, residents of the Keys will probably be evacuated. There's talk of evacuating Miami.

If Irma makes her way to Jacksonville, it won't be until late in the day on Sunday. Even if she dies down, she should bring enough rain to fill Lake Junebug again.

Oh, goody. 

The Sunshine State is not fooling around. This is our governor, who has promised to respect Irma in the morning:

His name is Skeletor. I know I said I wouldn't make up nicknames for people without their permission, but I did not come up with this name for him. Besides, I think he knows that people call him Skeletor.

Okay. His name is really Rick Scott:

He just barely got elected.

Anyway, don't worry about us. If we're in an evacuation zone, which is not likely, Favorite Young Man will carry us all to safety.

Or at least he'll carry Penelope. She's his favorite

It's time for a Hurricane Preparation Nap now.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


Dear Hearts and Gentle People,

I am busy editing as I prepare for the arrival of an unwanted guest at Lake Junebug Resort. Her name is Irma. You can learn more about her HERE, but don't worry too much about Florida. Although the governor has already declared a state of emergency, that link is to CNN, which means it is fake news. Sad! How easily the governor of Florida has been fooled by the lying media.

We have plenty of dog food. We'll be sure to stock up on water and cookies. Everything is better with cookies.

In place of TIP TUESDAY, please enjoy the chart below.

I'll see ya when I see ya.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thanks, fishducky!