Thursday, January 28, 2016

New Release~Dear Diary, EP Thompson Here by Judith Natelli McLaughlin

Congratulations to Judith Natelli McLaughlin on the release of her MG novel, Dear Diary, E.P. Thompson Here.

Back Cover Blurb

Dear Diary,

E. P. Thompson here.

Worst. Year. Ever. First semester in sixth grade, and my best friend Debbie has dropped me because my boobs aren’t big enough. Well, she didn’t say that exactly, but I just know that’s the reason. Then I got paired with Adam Berry, the biggest pencil-protecting geek of the decade, for the never-ending, semester-long math project. And as if that’s not bad enough, Thomas Maxwell, the cutest boy in my grade, only pays attention to me when I’m making a total fool of myself. Ugh.

Weirdest thing of all: it seems Lucas C. Tanner Middle School has a full-on, bona fide thief! Now all the teachers are going crazy and all the students are too, because Mrs. Peule has promised to make this year a living nightmare until the culprit is caught.

We have to find out who is ruining sixth grade. Like, now!

Well, at least the criminal activity has taken the focus off my lack of bra ownership.


I have to go. I’ll write again soon. Promise.

Get your copy today at AMAZON 

About The Author

Judith Natelli McLaughlin grew up reading a solid diet of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott, and Shel Silverstein. Her mom was famous for telling her, "You are never alone if you have a book," and her dad, a lover of words, was always reciting poetry to her.
She went on to write, illustrate, and publish her own poetry book,Poems on Fruits and Odes to Veggies—Where Healthy Eating Starts With a Poem. Her other works include a women’s fiction novel titled This Moment and a soon to be released children’s chapter book, Mackenzie Goode Makes A Mistake—A Big One.

She lives in New Jersey with her husband Brian; her three daughters Katie, Lindsay, and Maggie; and her faithful writing companion, a Westie named Duke.

Find Her Online:

TWITTER: @judynmclaughlin

Monday, January 25, 2016

I’ve recently begun to wonder how accurate my view of the role of women in the 1930’s (and other decades) truly is. I’ve always assumed that women were housewives and didn’t work outside the house, yet at the same time I knew that couldn’t be completely true. Women were nurses, and teachers, and librarians, and secretaries. Heck, during WWI and WWII, they worked in the factories while the men went overseas to fight in the war.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints 
I can hear you asking, “But Mary, what does this have to do with Snow White?” Well, let me explain.

When I first came up with the idea for these posts, I thought it would be interesting to see how the role of women in society was reflected (or not) in these classic stories and movies. Did the female MC role development from damsel in distress to savior of the prince/kingdom follow the changing role of women in society? Well, if you go by the dates the stories were written, the answer would be no.  But I’ll talk more about that when we get to Mulan. For now, let’s take a look at Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

"Offterdinger Schneewitchen (2)" by Offterdinger 

In the Disney animation film of 1937, Snow White is portrayed as a domestic worker. She cooks and cleans for the dwarfs in exchange for her room and board. How does that relate to women in the 1930’s? According to the US Census, out of the eleven million working women (24.3% of women 14 and older) almost ⅓ worked in domestic or personal service. Therefore, I find that Snow White is a good reflection of society’s perception of the working woman.

But, then Prince Charming comes into the picture, and things change. It isn’t a leap to assume that Snow White marries Charming and leaves her working days behind her. And, in the 1930’s, it appears to have been similar for the working woman.

It was frowned upon for married women to hold jobs. Single, working women were seen as “helping out their families”, yet a married, working woman was perceived as “taking a job from a man”. During the Depression, laws were even created to prevent more than one family member from working for the government.

"Franz Jüttner Schneewittchen 2" by Franz Jüttner
In conclusion, it appears that Snow White is a good representation of women in the 1930’s. I also believe that if Snow White was adapted to the screen today, there would be some stark differences in the way the famous Disney Princess would be portrayed. Our movies have moved away from the helpless damsel-in-distress to women who can and do fight for what they want/need. Not that they don't ask for or receive help, but they aren't waiting on the sidelines for the guy to save the day. I think a modern interpretation of Snow White would have a smarter heroine, one who didn't fall so easily for the evil queen's tricks. What do you think?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Guest Post and New Release! ~ Birth of an American Gigolo by Deek Rhew

Deek and Erin Party
Hey, all! So this week is the debut of my first, well, anything! On January 19th, 2016 at 12 AM EST, "Birth of an American Gigolo," my first novella, was birthed! I guess that means I'm officially pubbed, though I'll admit that it feels a bit surreal. My beautiful bride, Erin Rhew, and I finished uploading the final manuscript to Amazon, put in the categories, entered all the key words, and clicked finish. We did a high-five, first-bumped, and danced, partying like it was 1999. But then we went to dinner, and I started marketing. Oh, the glorious life of an author!! Hence, we are here, and I'm spending your time.

It's been a totally crazy ride, but fortunately one that I have not had to venture on my own. I wrote Grateful for the Village, a blog post about the dozen or so doctors that helped birth "Birth."

Me on the left rockin' out with my best friend, Chris!

Okay, so spotlight on me...hand me the microphone! As a former musician and music major, I spent years up on stage. I loved loved loved it, but alas, the music industry does not pay the bills. Heck, it barely pays for the gas to the gig.

Eventually, I figured out I wasn't going to be a rock star, so I switched majors to something geeky that, though required me to trade my bass for a pocket protector, made it possible for me to eat on a regular basis. And here I am years and years later, following my other passion: writing.

Though there aren't any rock star lights, fireworks, or screaming fans, it still feels pretty fine. Yes indeed.

Okay, so what the heck is "Birth of an American Gigolo" about?

Here's the blurb from the back of the book:

An old party girl shoehorned into domestic divaship, infuriated by her husband's cheating and his holier-than-thou, tree-hugging, no-tits and no-hips girlfriend, inflicts her wrath by training a local boy in the fine art of seduction. She and her new boy toy turned love god start a gigolo business as a distraction for the neglected and mistreated housewives of Alabaster Cove.

In a nutshell, it's about screwing up. Lindsey compromised her principles and forced herself into being something she's not. In college, she had a scare and crammed herself into a life of domestication. Years later, she's stuck in a smelly armpit of a marriage and a life that's foreign and dismal. But when she finds out her husband is a cheater and liar, she and her inner, long-dormant party animal load the cannons and batten down the hatches. Together, they concoct a plan to revenge themselves out of the cesspool of their existence and create a new throne on which to plant her royal tush and rule the town.

What isn't it about? Sex! There is a little of course, because, well, it's about an angry and betrayed party girl and her boy toy. But if you're looking for long descriptions of people's kibbles and bits and how they sizzle and sauté them into a goulash of passion and uninhibited fornication, then you'd better look for a different blend of Chex Mix, cause, brother, this ain't it.

Okay, domestic diva...check. No George Michael in sight...check. Humorous situations where an angry party girls runs over a scooter with a Hummer...check.

Alright, my friends, first, check out the amazeballs cover by Anita from

Birth of an American Gigolo by Deek Rhew

Bask in the glory that is awesome, spellbinding art. <cue Hallelujah Chorus>

Visit the "Birth of an American Gigolo" home page.
Birth of an American Gigolo

Take a gander at Goodreads! 

Cruise on over to Amazon. "Birth" is available January 19, 2016!

About the Author
Deek Rhew
Deek lives in a rainy pocket in the Pacific Northwest with the stunning YA author bride, Erin Rhew, and their writing assistant, a fat tabby named Trinity. They enjoy lingering in the mornings, and often late into the night, caught up Erin’s fantastic fantasy worlds of noble princes and knights and entwined in Deek’s dark underworld of the FBI and drug lords.

He and Erin love to share books by reading aloud to one another. In addition, they enjoy spending time with friends, running, boxing, lifting weights, and exploring the little town--with antique shops and bakeries--they call home.

Connect with Deek!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Snow White: Disney vs. the Grimm brothers

By Walter Zweigle (1859-1904)

I hope you all did your homework and read and/or watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This Disney classic is based on Little Snow-White, by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. And, while Disney did cover the basics of the story, there were a few differences to their animated tale.

Here are some of the differences I noticed between the movie and the story:

-In the story, we learn about Snow White’s mother, her death, and the subsequent remarriage of her father. I understand why Disney chose to leave this out. While it was nice to know when reading, it really didn’t move the story along in the animated version and could easily be left out.

-In the animated movie, the queen asks the huntsman to bring back Snow White’s heart, but in the story, she wants her lungs and liver. AND she cooks them and eats them. I’m actually grateful that Disney left that little scene out!

-When Snow White stumbles upon the Seven Dwarfs house, it’s clean with everything in its place. In the movie, however, those Dwarfs are a messy crew.

-In addition, when introduced to the dwarfs home, the story takes on the feel of Goldilocks (at least it did for me) with Snow White eating from each of the plates and trying out all of the beds. Even the dwarfs reactions to finding her are reminiscent of Mama, Papa, and Baby Bear.

-The Disney folks added in a turtle (I believe he was for comedic purposes) that isn’t mentioned in the tale. While as an adult I am tempted to fast forward through the scene of the turtle on the stairs, I’m sure as a kid I was urging him to get to the top!

By William Creswell (c. 1919)

-In the animated film, the queen comes bearing a shiny, poisoned apple. In the story, the queen attempts to get rid of her competition with poisoned lace and a poisoned comb before finally succeeding with the apple. Disney may have cut these extra attempts to keep the film shorter. In both cases, the dwarfs warned her about letting in strangers, yet Snow White didn’t listen. (More on this in the “Are they a good couple” post in a few weeks.)

-In the story, the prince seeks shelter with the dwarfs and then barters for Snow White’s coffin. When his men drop the coffin, it dislodges the apple and Snow White awakens. In the movie, he passes the bier while the dwarfs are mourning their loss and kisses her awake. In both version, they fall instantly in love. (I’ll talk more on this in the “Are they a good couple” post in a few weeks.)

-And now we are at the end of the tale, with yet another difference. In the Grimm story, the evil queen is invited to the wedding, and is afraid to attend. She really should have stayed home, as when she arrives, she is placed in hot, iron shoes and forced to dance to her death.(This reminded me of The Red Shoes, by Hans Christian Andersen.) In the Disney movie, she falls to her death while running from the dwarfs. Either way, she dies at the end of the tale, but I’d rather see the cliff scene than the hot, iron shoes!

All in all, I felt that Disney kept with the theme of the story written by the Grimm brothers, with some minor changes to make it appropriate for all age level and the fit with the time period it was released in.

For a more detailed comparison between the story and the movie, Mari Ness has a wonderful overview of both the written story and the movie, and how the movie is a reflection of the time it was written in. Hop on over to her site and check out her posts here and here! Trust me, you don't want to miss them!

Now it’s your turn. What differences did you notice? Would you have made the changes Disney did? Why (or why not)? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Once Upon a Time

As a fantasy author, I'm often inspired by fairy tales and folklore. While researching for my stories, I've spent time reading the original tales and watching the animated adaptations created by Disney and Warner Brothers.

On Mondays over the next few months (excluding the first Monday of each month), I'm going to take a look at five tales turned to animated movies and share my thoughts on how they compare to the original tale, how the role of the female main character is reflective (or not!) of the time the movie was produced, and if the two leads would actually make a good couple in real life.

The movies I'll be focusing on are:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, and Quest for Camelot.

So, fire up your DVD player and check out the following links so you're ready to talk about how Snow White compares to the original Grimm tale next Monday!

Monday, January 4, 2016


Happy New Year!!!!! Welcome to the first post of 2016 and the first #InkRipples post of the year.This month the theme is TRAVEL. 

My family and I love to spend our summers camping. We've traveled north to Maine where we explored Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. We've camped on the beach with the horses in Assateague, Maryland. And we've explored the Smokey Mountains in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

But what I'm really looking forward to is the year we take a few weeks and travel cross country visiting all the famous places you read about in the history books. The St. Louis Arch. The Alamo. The Badlands. Zion National Park.  Bryce Canyon. Yellowstone. Mount Rushmore. The Rocky Mountains.

Where do you look forward to traveling? I'd love to hear your wish list, so please share in the comments below.

Don't forget to swing by Katie and Kai's blog for their travel themed posts. If you are tossing your own ripple, be sure to leave me a link in the comments and don't forget to tag #InkRipples!!

Be sure to join us next month for our blogs posts on CHOCOLATE.