A Bonnywood Manor Thanksgiving: Sappy Sentimentality, Crass Commercialism, a Possible Turkey, and Some Pie


Howdy, folks. So I’m just sitting here and waiting on things to bake. (Yes, I do bake. We don’t need to go into how little effort I actually put into the baking. Let’s just make a quick mental note of it and move on.) And a couple of thoughts are running through my head. First, I’ve been reflecting on the “Harley Crown” series I just re-ran last week, wherein I clumsily fashioned a story around a real attempt to thank the followers of a certain blog of mine back in the day. I really wanted to create a new story for this Thanksgiving so I could show my appreciation for some of the faithful followers of this blog. Sadly, that new story did not happen in time, due to NaNoWriMo and sporadic bouts of laziness wherein I binge-watched HGTV and ate entire boxes of things I shouldn’t be eating.

Secondly, I also recently posted a survey wherein I asked for feedback on my performance with this blog. (Thank you to those who participated, by the way.) One of the surprising things about the results, at least for me, is how many people didn’t realize I have other blogs. This was rather intriguing, as my other blogs are prominently displayed in the sidebar on the right side of the page. And you know what else is displayed over there, featuring a not-pretty photo of me on the Eiffel Tower? The books that I’ve written. If people don’t know about the other blogs, then they probably don’t know about the books. If they don’t know about the books, they don’t buy them. This is a basic example of economic failure.

(Two Disclaimers: One, I realize that some of you have not only purchased the books but you have also posted lovely reviews on Amazon. This part of the story is not directed toward you or your obvious kindness and thoughtfulness. Two, some folks may not be impressed that I’m choosing today to ramble on such a topic. But let’s be fair. Thanksgiving has become a fully-commercialized holiday. Have you heard about this thing called Black Friday? Mmm hmm. Let’s hold our questions until both you and I can see where I’m going with this.)

And in a bigger picture, if people don’t know things about me, what things do I not know about them? And that’s when it hit me. As my own feeble attempt at thanksgiving, why not do a post that is mostly about the visitors here at Bonnywood and not about me? (Okay, so far I’m failing with the “not about me” part, but I’m working toward it. A few more cups of coffee and I might actually get there.) However, if I really want to learn new things about you, then the information has to come from you.

So, let’s do an open forum, marketplace, promotional, confessional, personals ad kind of thing. Tell us about the books you are working on or have written. (Provide links!) Tell us about the business you may have on the side or directly in front of you. (Provide links!) Tell us something silly about the thing that happened that one time, promote your blog, or just say hello. Essentially, introduce yourself to the rest of the Bonnywood Manor community, even if you’ve never commented before or it’s your first time here.


Billy Jean at “Not My Lover” writes:

Hey, guys! I just published a book about my Catholic School years called “Burning Bushes and Wild-Eyed Nuns”. Take a look! Click here.


Jenny at “867-5309” writes:

I’ve created a series of sculptures with found objects from the Amish country. Completely eco-friendly and guaranteed to be devoid of modern technology. You can find my Etsy site by clicking here.


Darkness at “The Shrouded World” writes:

Life is pain. I write all about it on my blog, found here. There’s lots of relentless poetry. Lots.


Happy at “This Happy Land of Happiness” writes:

Cats make me really, really happy. I have the biggest collection of cat videos, ever. Come be happy

    with me. We can dress up and Skype each other!


Beatrice at “The Crown Matriarch” writes:

On my blog, I will teach you everything you need to know to keep your children from eventually

    becoming tramps. Tough love keeps them out of juvy! Click here.


Cathi at “My Cup Didn’t Just Runneth Over, It Exploded” writes:

It’s a fact of life that some of us are better than others. My quirky cooking blog is for others, those of

    us that always get hurt in the kitchen no matter how careful we tried to be. We put safety first and

    taste second, because you can’t enjoy a good meal if you’re in the emergency room.


Lysistrata at “The Pancultural Love Center” writes:

Here’s to hoping that every one of you has a wonderful day, and that the two hours you spend

    crammed around a dinner table with people you don’t know and shoving things in your mouth are the

    best two hours you’ve ever spent. Life is what you make it! So say we all.


Stephen at “King’s Last Stand” writes:

I’ve written 417 books while most of you were still working on the first chapter of your novella. You

    can find all my massive work on my Amazon page, here. Please wait for the page to load. Their servers

    almost crash every time someone searches on my name.


Okay, I think you’ve got the idea. Now, I know that many of you have already shut down emotionally at this point (if you’ve even read this far) and you have no plans whatsoever to participate. And that’s fine. But I know some of you will climb aboard, and hopefully we can make this both fun and interesting. Right now the plan is to leave this blog as the first entry on my page at least through the holiday weekend, which gives folks plenty of time to come up with a little blurb. And if this effort does really well, I will move the link to one of the feature blocks at the top of my page, where it can be evergreen and continue to grow.

If tumbleweeds blow and the comments are barren, I will discreetly add new posts until this mess of promotional fellowship rolls off the main page and into the obscurity of the archives.

One last thing, and yes, it’s financial: On Amazon, you can gift a book to any of your friends and family and all you need is a valid email address for them. And it’s a clever process, in that Amazon actually sends a digital gift card to your friend, in the amount of the current book price, including tax, and then your friend can either get the book or use the gift card for anything else on Amazon. You can get a lot of Christmas shopping done this way, yes? I have no idea if the other digital book sellers do this, since I don’t use them. (Perhaps someone could comment about it, if they know?)

Okay, enough rambling, here are my entries:

Both of my published books are humorous (in theory) travelogues, with one concerning an epic adventure in another land and the other concerning a simple day trip to a local amusement park. (Click on the images if you wish to link to Amazon.)

First up we have “Screaming in Paris”, with a reader comment:



Snippet from an Amazon review:  “Even if you don’t travel, you should read the book for Brian’s hysterical take on family dynamics. I definitely saw my family on page after page. If you’re a reader, a traveler, a family member, or just want to experience a humorous trip to Paris with minimal cost and no passport, start “Screaming!”


Next is “Unexpected Wetness”, with one of the various plot synopses I have used over the years:


The world is filled with classic books about loving families overcoming incredible odds so that they can grow even more adorable as a unit, bursting into song at any given moment and wearing matching clothing during boating adventures in non-polluted streams. Next thing you know, producers are knocking on the door and the glowing story has been turned into an inspirational mini-series that is life-affirming, smile-inducing, and contains no trans fat.

This is not one of those stories.

Instead, we tag along with a less-perky family as they navigate the startling minefields of a modern amusement park, a questionable lark that someone in authority should have nipped in the bud but, due to budget cuts, there was no one around with any sense. Wild-eyed and filter-free, they tromped naively through the gates of Six Flags, unaware that they would soon be dealing with vehicular malfunctions, copious tears, regrettable language, the tragic loss of a halter top, and very little singing. (Unless you count the dancing pig.)

Life is too short to make poor entertainment decisions. Or wear ugly shoes.

In the event that your own family should ever develop a hankering to attend a themed venue involving hydraulics and splashing, this mini-travelogue will be more useful than those long ago black-and-white safety films that instructed you to dive under your flimsy school desk should an atomic bomb drop from the sky.

Or you can just read this story for the funny bits. No harm in that. Just be sure to wear something waterproof…


And now it’s your turn, with a final urging to just have fun and possibly do some savvy marketing. (Some of us don’t like to self-promote, including me, but since the main point of this post is self-promotion, this would be the place to do it.) Here we go…

8 replies »

  1. Dang, I was hoping someone left a post first so I could see what they’re doing.
    As for me, I’m bummed my mother didn’t name me Lysistrada, as that would make for one helluva cool blog where I’d counsel women on what to do, or rather, what NOT to do, until men agree a woman president is the better option. Think of the stats that site would bring! Oh well.
    Sorry, nothing to market. This is just me babbling on your comment feed. I know it’s against the rules, but I’m an anarchist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dang, Part Deux. It’s too bad you didn’t jump in with a slight promo since, just as you say, it would break the ice for the others. And I’m not sure why you wouldn’t want to at least briefly highlight your own blog, as people can’t possibly have complete lives unless they visit there at least once. Something short and snappy, such as… “I was meant to be a superhero. All of the signs were there, but the right people didn’t pay attention and I’m not particularly adept at social situations. So I chose a career in education as my cover job, and at night I discreetly assume my alter ego. I write thoughtful, humorous, engaging pieces that may or may not have a point but it satisfies me to make the attempt. And I usually offer a delightful recipe as a prize at the bottom of my literary cereal box, a recipe that has been tested in my Super Kitchen while inspiring music plays on the soundtrack. Perhaps you could stop by for some tea and a scone and a story?”

      See? At least 14 people would hit you up for the scone alone. (Hmm. That last bit reminds me of a Christmas story…)

      Anyway, back to Lysistrata, not that you asked to go there. Eons ago in my college days, those last years of almost absolute freedom before reality hits, an off-the-wall-and-I-loved-her French woman who taught the Classical Drama class gave us an assignment to rewrite scenes from Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata” using modern language. The first thing I did was to change the lead female and male character names to “Hole” and “Pole”, which sounds extremely sexist and lewd, and it is, but so was the original play in the Greek sensibility of the time. (And based on your words above, it sounds like you are familiar with the play, so hopefully you get my intention and you’re not rethinking your perception of me.)

      My version of the play went off the rails from there, and the quirky French professor was impressed as much as artsy French people allow themselves to be. (She smiled briefly and said “tres bien”.) She eventually cast me in a full read-through of “Hamlet”, with me being the guy who babbled to a skull. So I can actually say that I’ve played Hamlet in a theatre. Just not on stage.

      And now I realize three things. One, this has been fun. Two, I essentially just wrote another blog post and I should save this. And three, maybe I should have structured this thanksgiving post in a way that allows me to chat with everybody individually, just like this. Hmm, Part Deux…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ooh, a beautifully long reply discovered after being without internet and/or access for several days. Sweet!
        Thinking I should hire you as my marketing guru, as what you wrote is absolutely brilliant. So I’m stealing it.
        All I’m lacking is a scone recipe. Must remedy that. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I’m not good at this sort of thing, but here goes…
    In a small, small town, in a small, small state, in a big, big country lived a biggish woman.
    She was widowed early, raised 2 children, worked part-time and was trying to pay off a small mortgage.
    In a series of small and unintentional moves she found out that she liked making jewellery. She made a lot, and then realised she did not have enough body real estate (even though it was biggish) for it all to hang out on, so she attempts to sell it on Etsy. (She also doesn’t know how to insert a link into a comment and can’t be bothered googling it, so just copy and paste if you want to have a squizzy).
    One day this woman stumbled into blogland with a vague idea she might turn a blog into some sort of money making idea.
    The idea quickly left the brain of the woman because she found she just liked putting up poetry, silly and sometimes serious, and photos, lots and lots of photos!
    As mentioned above,she still doesn’t know how to insert a link into a comment and can’t be bothered googling it, so just copy and paste the link below if you want to have a squizzy).
    This woman loves making websites, and blogs, and moving stuff around (alright, she has a bit of a neat freak thing that overflows into cyberspace too – remind me to tell you how she killed her first computer by “tidying” up the system files – and then had to learn how to completely reinstall everything – Oh, I just did). She got the bug then, and tech neat freak has existed ever since in a corner of her heart.
    Anyways, this woman does have another website, which is her current “fixit”project and hopefully her future employment.
    Yes, you know the drill by now surely – copy and paste if you want to visit:
    She would be thrilled to get a few more followers for her blog on that site (even though the service is only available in a small part of a small state of a little place int he world, she likes talking to other folk).
    Lastly, (and do not roll your eyes in disillusionment Brian), the woman does have and Instagram account, and even though not so long ago she thought that they were stupid, she is actually have a good old time posting photos and looking at lots of lovely photos other people post.
    Yes, here you go – copy and paste:

    Ok, wow, that was a bit long, hope I didn’t bore you. Thanks for the opportunity to shout my sites – and if you know how to do links in comments, for goodness sake please tell me 🙂


  3. About the lack of knowledge of your other blogs…you have to remember that some of us are one-eye blind.
    As far as self-promotion…like I have said. I’m not a writer. I have published no books. I can’t imagine anybody wanting to read about my life (not to mention that I have never read but one book and that was under duress.) It only took 20 minutes to read it from cover to cover (which caused even more bullying.)
    My view is….how could I possibly ask somebody else to do what I do not? I love to read blogs but there is something inherently wrong with me when it comes to reading a book.


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