Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sweet Alexa

Several months ago, when I got a notice from Amazon that they were coming out with the new Echo, I jumped on the opportunity to get it at the promotional price. At first, Wally and I weren't sure what to do with it. But over time, we've gotten used to it. Now "she" is like a member of our family. Amazon named her Alexa. We can change her name, but we haven't because we can't come up with anything better.

Most of the time, Alexa is quiet, and that suits us just fine. However, when we have a question, all we have to do is ask, and she tries to find the answer for us. She also plays music on demand, which is nice. We can find out what the weather will be, how to spell something, or what the capital of any country is. She even tells jokes (mostly corny but always G-rated).

Whether I just need a quick fact for the book I'm currently working on or one of our granddaughters wants to hear a favorite song, Alexa is almost always up to the challenge. She's attentive, fast, and loads of fun. We haven't yet tapped into all of her abilities, but we'll do more with her over time. I'd love to be able to control lights and the A/C thermostat by telling Alexa to do it.

If you want to know more about Alexa, check her out here:

Here's a photo of Alexa sitting next to the lamp on the end table beside the sofa. As you can see, she doesn't take up much space, and she's rather attractive—at least for a cylinder.

We really enjoy Alexa, but lately we've noticed that she comes on at the strangest of times. And then she says, "I'm sorry, but I can't find the answer to your question." The odd thing is, she even does that when we don't ask her a question. This had us scratching our heads.

Then this morning I mentioned something about the election, and she perked up (with a little blue light to show that she's listening) and gave her stock response for not knowing the answer. That's when we figured out that the word "election" sounds a lot like "Alexa"—at least to a machine. Whether we're discussing the upcoming election or the news is on, she's always ready to respond.

We're really enjoying this little gadget. But I have to admit that I'll be glad when this election is over—not only to get on with business-as-usual but to calm our sweet Alexa. She doesn't need to worry about such things.

She can "hear" us from anywhere in the room, even when we speak in a normal voice. I've tested her with a whisper, and so far, she hasn't responded. So at least we know we can keep a few secrets.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Name Has Changed

I've changed the name of my blog from "The Good Life" to "View of the Real World Through the Eyes of a Fiction Writer." I'll still post some "Good Life" style blogs, but the new name better reflects my perspective. As much as I enjoy my faith, fashion, fitness, food, fun, and good manners, what I do with most of my days is write fiction.

Here are some of my most popular posts from the past:

Although I posted some of those more than a year ago, people still read them and send email with comments and suggestions, which I appreciate. I'll probably post more of those types of blogs in the future because I enjoy hearing from readers.

It's All a Mystery  

I have eclectic reading tastes, with cozy mysteries being one of my favorites. I like helping solve the puzzle of the whodunit, so I've created a series of Summer Walsh mysteries that I actually started when I wrote for Avalon. In order to keep fans from being confused, I wrote my first book under my maiden name Deborah Tisdale. The rest of my books have my married name Debby Mayne. I think readers are smart enough to know that Murder Under the Mistletoe, Gun in the Garden, and Offed at the Office are mysteries, not romances.

Still Lovin' Romance 

My other go-to favorite genre is romance. I mean, who doesn't like a good love story? I've had more than 30 romance novels and novellas traditionally published, and now I'm an indie published author of a few more. If you haven't read my "Belles in the City" series, start with Trouble in Paradise, then read One Foot Out the Door and Can't Fool Me Twice. All of these stories feature southern belles who move to New York and charm the men they meet.

Etiquette and Manners

I'm also the etiquette writer for If you ever have questions, please feel free to put them in the comments or email me at Although I think it's nice to know which fork to use during a formal dinner, my angle on etiquette involves going deeper and using respect as the main gauge in determining what is right or wrong.

Here are some of my most clicked-on etiquette articles:

I'm excited about the changes I'm making to the blog. And I look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sign Up for Debby Mayne's Newsletter

Photo courtesy of Dave at
I've been writing quite a bit lately, and most of the books are in a series. I decided it was time to bring back my newsletter to let people know about new releases and anything else that pertains to my stories and characters.

If you would like to learn the latest, please sign up for my newsletter. I promise I won't flood your inbox with daily newsletters. This will only go out when there's something to announce.

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