Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Flying Cars?

Last week I was caught in commuter traffic on the freeway. We were moving at about ten miles an hour and there were cars lined up in both directions as far as I could see.
For a moment I wished I had a flying car and could soar home above them, but then I thought, “What if all these cars were flying?”
That would be terrible!
Can you imagine the number of traffic accidents that would happen in the sky? They’d probably all be fatal since the vehicles would fall to the ground. 
And the cars wouldn’t stay in lines as they do on freeways, but would spread out all over, so smashed vehicles would be falling onto houses and buildings.
Some cars would fly higher than others, so accidents from there would be far worse than those closer to the ground.
With airplanes, there’s traffic control from airports, but the flying cars wouldn’t have anything like that.

I hate being stuck in traffic jams, but that’s definitely preferable to having thousands of flying cars in the sky.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Don’t Put Gum in the Fish Bowl

In Don’t Put Gum in the Fishbowl when Peggy is left to babysit her younger brother and sister one impossible event happens after another.
Kids will laugh out loud at this silly adventure.
And the book makes me wonder how many things real kids have done when their parents weren’t around.
Author Wesley Stuart obviously knows little kids and understands how they think. 
Sirac, the illustrator, has done a great job of  showing all the crazy action in a colorful and believable way.

Children who can’t read yet will love having this book read to them, and kids a few years older will enjoy reading it themselves.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Romeo and Juliet Code

Phoebe Stone has written a book I loved reading. 

The Romeo and Juliet Code takes place in the early 1940s, just before America got involved in World War II.

Oops! Even though the Pearl Harbor bombing hadn’t happened yet, we were already involved, and Felicity needs to know how and why. She has been sent from England to live with relatives  in Maine and something suspicious is going on. 

This exciting book includes more than one mystery, intricate relationships, as well as a touch of early romance. I couldn’t put it down until the end.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Technological Advances

Forty years ago if we saw people walking down the street alone and talking out loud we’d have assumed they were insane. Now we know they’re using their phones.
Four hundred years ago using any of our technology - even listening to a radio or turning on electric lights - would have gotten people burned at the stake for witchcraft. (If you ever time travel, leave your cellphone at home.)
We can do things today I didn’t even imagine when I was a kid, but now my writerly imagination suggests future possibilities all the time.
For instance, I understand mechanical arms are now available for people who have lost their arms. Maybe in the future we’ll have a third arm the can plug into our shoulders if we need an extra hand.
And, instead of computers and cellphones, maybe we’ll be able to use the web through brain implants.
But then an evil world government might take over and control everyone on the planet. (Okay, my writerly imagination is taking over again.)
Flying cars could become a major problem. How could traffic be controlled? And imagine the terrible result of collisions in the sky.

What technological advances do you think might really happen in the future?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


I’ve always been fascinated by language.
That interest started when I was a little kid and my baby brother was learning to talk. I could understand him when the grown-ups couldn’t, and that made me feel important. I now realize that was because he was using intonation patterns instead of words to communicate.
I was almost five years old when we moved from the East Coast to California and I found the dialectic differences interesting.
As a kid I hoped to learn every language in the world, but had no idea how many languages there are. Obviously that never happened.
I did study Latin and German in High School and French in college but have forgotten most of those. I also took lots of electives in Linguistics, although my major was English.
The only language besides English that I actually know much of is American Sign Language. I worked at California School for the Deaf for years, married a Sign Language Interpreter, and raised three Deaf foster kids.

Do you suppose my interest in languages is why I tend to talk too much? ;-)

Saturday, January 13, 2018


Since Martin Luther King Day is Monday this seems like an appropriate topic.
To pre judge is to make a conclusion with having all the facts. 
Long ago humans assumed that anyone who looked different was probably coming to invade and take over their territory. Although they may have been mistaken, they often weren’t, and that prejudice helped them prepare to defend and protect what they had.
But this is the twenty first century. Times have changed and it’s too bad that we are still dealing with prejudice against each other.
Of  course if I were walking down a city street and saw a group of men who were dressed like members of a gang it would be wise for me to avoid them. 

But, for the most part, we shouldn’t pass judgement on other people (Someone even more famous than Martin Luther King said that.)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


When I was a kid my grandmother, who lived on the other side of the country, always sent me a pretty handkerchief as a Christmas gift.
I guess when she was young cleansing tissues hadn’t been invented yet.
Although I never used those hankies to blow or wipe my nose, I liked getting them because they were pretty. And I’ve kept them all, but almost never look at them.
Now that the cold and flu season is here I’m so glad we don’t have to use that kind of fabric squares to blow our noses today.
Men kept their white handkerchiefs in their pockets, but women often stuffed them in their sleeves. And they would use them many times before they were washed. Just think of the poor women back in the past who had to wash them by hand.  YUK!!

I have no idea who invented cleansing tissues, but I’m SO glad somebody did!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Social Networking

Back in early 2009 when my first book was under contract I decided to get involved in social media because that was supposed to help market them. I joined Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest. Later I learned that it’s best to focus on just one of those, and chose Facebook. 
I also got my own website, Janet Ann, and began blogging regularly twice a week. At first I only used Blogspot, but now also use Word Press since those posts show on my website. Unfortunately, most of the comments I get on either one are spam and I delete them.
The original purpose for doing all those things was to help sell my books. I don’t think that has accomplished much in the way of sales, but I’ve become a social media addict.
I have about 2000 Facebook ‘Friends,’ but most of them are either other writers who want me to buy their books, or people I personally know. Facebook has recently made it difficultly for anyone I don’t interact with regularly to see my posts. 
And I’ve learned posting often about my own books on social media is likely to get me blocked for spam.
But I enjoy keeping in touch with old friends and acquaintances so I check in with Facebook at least once a day and share all my blog posts there.
I also have a professional Facebook page, Janet Ann Collins, Author, but only post about my books and writing there.
Social networking will probably never make me rich, but I enjoy it and intend to stay involved.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


Like most people, I’ve been happy to see and spend time with lots of my family members during the holidays season.
There’s something special about being with people who share a lot of the same memories.
According to my old dictionary from college, a family is “a group of people related by blood or marriage.” Of course since today many couples don’t bother to get legally married that definition has probably been expanded.
My family includes, cousins, second cousins, cousins once or twice removed, in-laws, cousins, parents and children of in-laws, and many more. When we first got married my husband gave up trying to remember all the relationships and just called them “step-neighbors-in-law.”
Whatever you may call them, even extended families share similarities, whether those are caused by heredity or common experiences.

I’m thankful to have such a wonderful family and hope we can all keep in touch.