Twit, Twaddle, Twistical—It’s in the Timing

I’ve been writing in the Regency world lately, that time when George the IV of England was the Prince Regent while his father slipped into madness. But alas, while producing a 400-page manuscript, words often find their way in that are, shall we say, too young?

Words like twit, meaning nonsensical person, sounds old but actually came into being in 1934 and into common usage in the 1950s. So my 1818 hero cannot call someone a twit. Twaddle, which is the nonsense the twit might spout, was actually found back in the 1500s. If I wanted to use that word, I could. Twistical—which I added here because it sounded good —is used in my manuscript. It means unfair and was an American euphemism used as far back as the Colonial period.

Euphemisms, used here as substitute words or phrases, can catch a historical writer “with his pants down” if the writer isn’t careful. That’s a crude phrase, but you get my meaning.

So what were a few others in my hastily edited manuscript which thankfully hasn’t yet been published?

Two left feet
Off limits
Pep talk
Bug (as in “bug him”)
That went well…not.

These are the words and phrases my editor found (thank heaven for editors), and I have to admit I even found a few of my own which were marginal, but too modern for my Regency manuscript.

No shrinking violet, meaning “not modest” was used in the 1870s. I took it out.
Fire-away, as in “go ahead and ask your question” seemed modern to me, so I removed it, although I admit I couldn’t find an origin for this one.

I also looked hard at whether or not my heroine would have a dance card, a small paper where men wishing to dance with a lady sign their names. There is some controversy among Regency writers about whether dance cards existed that early, or came later during Victorian times. I took it out because in 1818 the pencil was just being invented and I couldn’t imagine someone bringing ink and quill to a ball.

At one point my hero winks. Was that a thing? Jane Austen says yes. She has characters who wink. I left that in.

Writing has enough perils, but I created even more for myself when I decided to write about twins separated as infants: one American and quite democratic; one English and quite aristocratic. They had to speak and act differently. Gah!

I’m sure my editor and I will both find more of these little darlings during the second round of edits. Hopefully, not too many. If you want to see how I did, Scandal’s Deception will be a Soulmate summer release.

If you wish, you can find me here:

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Lovely Digits: The Little Book That Could

By Jeanine Englert

I’ve learned a great deal since I published my first book, Lovely Digits, back in June of 2019 with Soul Mate Publishing. The biggest thing I have learned is that there is immense value to trusting yourself. You can call it listening to your gut, your inner voice, whatever it might be . . . but the message is the same. When it’s screaming at you, listen. When it starts to get drown out by other people, listen even harder. Otherwise, you may lose those things that are most important to you.

Since I joined Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers in 2013, I have been to countless workshops, ZOOMs, conferences, and pitch meetings, and I have always received conflicting advice. So, here comes in the “trusting yourself” part. If you don’t know what is most important for you and for the book you are working on in that moment, you can get bogged down in a quagmire of options. Don’t get me wrong, all of these people giving you advice are doing so because they believe they are helping you, but you know what? They aren’t you, and they don’t know your book and your characters, not in the way you do. You have to be a champion of your words, your characters, and your story. It’s a lot like home ownership. No contractor or repair man will ever care for your home as much as you. Sure, they’ll fix it, but they won’t lose sleep over a lopsided door or from flying squirrels invading your attic, but you will. Because it is your home and the safe place you’ve labored over to purchase.

Two weeks ago, Lovely Digits, my “little book that could” about a quirky Victorian layer-out-of-the-dead was named a double finalist in the inaugural Vivian® Awards through Romance Writers of America. I was so swamped at work that I didn’t even get to check my phone until I left the building for the day. When I saw that my phone had blown up with texts, emails, and voicemails, I quietly got in my car, wept with joy, and went to Five Guys for some celebratory burgers, fries, and milkshakes for me and my husband. Why do I tell you all of this? Because if I had listened to all the people who told me how unmarketable, how too quirky, and how “no one would ever know where to shelve it in a bookstore,” my story was, I never would have published this book. I would have rewritten it to every bit of feedback I received until it was a withering shell of the story it had once been.

Lovely Digits is a double finalist in the Inaugural 2021 Vivian ® Awards through Romance Writers of America

But, then there was Char Chaffin at the RWA 2018 Conference in Denver. Green in the gills with altitude sickness, I remember meeting her at the Golden Heart ® Mixer quaking in my high heels. She loved my pitch, gave me her card, and said she loved books that straddled the genres. A day later after the Golden Heart® Ceremony, she offered to publish my book with Soul Mate Publishing via email. I still remember reading the email and plunking down on the bed in our hotel room and saying to my husband, “I think I just got an offer to publish my book.” We were both gob smacked.

It was an offer. I accepted it, and I have never regretted trusting my judgment on that decision. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be doing this blog, awaiting the publication of my second book later this month, and celebrating my debut as a finalist for best first book and best romantic suspense mid-length. I’d just have a manuscript still waiting to be the perfect book in someone else’s eyes, not the perfect book it was already just waiting to be noticed by the right person and the right publishing house.

So, don’t give up on where ever you are on your writing journey, and listen to your gut. It may be trying desperately to tell you something.

Do you have a great example of when listening to your inner voice worked out? Drop me a comment. I’d love to know!

Jeanine Englert’s love affair with mysteries and romance began with Nancy Drew, Murder She Wrote, and her Grandmother’s bookshelves full of romance novels. She is a double Vivian® Award Finalist, Golden Heart® Finalist and Silver Falchion, Maggie, and Daphne du Maurier Award Winner in historical romance and mystery. Her Scottish Highland historicals and historical romantic suspense novels revolve around characters seeking self-acceptance and redemption. When she isn’t wrangling with her characters on the page, she can be found trying to convince her husband to watch her latest Masterpiece or BBC show obsession. She loves to talk about books, writing, her beloved rescue pups, as well as mysteries and romance with other readers. Visit her website at

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May and the Promise of Spring Renewal

May and the Promise of Spring Renewal:

May has always been a special month for me.  On a personal level, I love the month because my birthday is in May; however, that fact is only one of many reasons why I love May. May brings spring in all its glory. In New Orleans, my hometown, we often do not have anything resembling a real spring. April brings frequent, often damaging rains to the area, but May traditionally brings sunny days, warm but not suffocating temps, and glorious flowers.  My husband I have explored the gardens in our local parks and museums, reveling in the natural beauty of the season. Even April has been kind in its waning days and holds the promise of spring beauty. 

May of 2021 offers renewal in ways beyond the hope of better weather. Many people have received the vaccine to protect them against COVID, the virus that changed all of our lives last year. In Louisiana, we lost many of our festivals and music events because of this deadly illness.  Last May, a few venues opened to very limited seating and service.  Of course, my husband and I still celebrated my birthday at our favorite restaurant, wearing our masks and maintaining our distance from others.  This May promises much more for us. We have had our vaccines, and we have gained a special appreciation for the beauty of nature. Walking in the park, sitting on the limb of an old oak tree, and watching ducks in a pond have restored us when we felt overwhelmed by COVID sadness.  Too many people we knew had sickened or died, but now, many of our friends have been vaccinated.  We are socializing in a limited way and have even attended some music events. 

Hopefully, the fall will bring even more progress as we return to “normal.” Maybe what we define as normal will remain forever changed; however, we have hope in a still uncertain future. Many festivals and events are scheduled to return.  My husband and I are considering travel plans again.  Of course, we will still take precautions.  Normal is not what it once was. 

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Yorkies And Dirty Fingernails by DeAnn Smallwood

Gardner’s most generally have dirty fingernails. This comes from their love and enjoyment in gardening. I too have dirty fingernails. Dirty, broken, and disgusting.

Spring has sprung and with it comes getting the garden ready for planting. And though I wear gloves, cute vinyl ones with colorful flowers on them, there are just some things that demand sticking your hands in the soil. I cringe every time I hear an avid gardener say how much they love getting their hands in the rich soil, planting and tending. They even go on to say how soothing it is. Well, not to me. I hate the dirt getting under my fingernails. I mutter as I pull each weed. I whisper incantations with each seed I plant. “Please, please come up out of the ground. If you will, I promise to water and feed you yummy fertilizer.”

I slather sun block on arms, neck, face, and usually in my eyes. I wear a floppy hat with a big rose on the front, hoping I’ll look stylish as I attempt to keep the sun off my face. Invariably, I end up visiting my dermatologist to have a suspicious looking spot removed because I forgot to do all the above procedures.

The Yorkies love gardening. Our husky loves gardening. Water that garden and two minutes later they are happily padding through the mud. They don’t mind it globbing under their nails or bringing it in the house to decorate the floors. They do mind being held under the faucet while I attempt to wash off their little feet. Have you heard that precious saying, YORKIES PUT PAW PRINTS ON YOUR HEART? Probably written by a gardener after watering. Yup.

Still I have to admit there is a thrill when the first potato plant pokes it head up out of the ground. And my mouth waters when the tomatoes ripen red and plump ready to pick and slice on a juicy BLT. sandwich. And I do beam like a proud mama when a neighbors accepts my offering of cucumbers and admits hers didn’t do well. Radishes do have a delightful snap and make my garden fresh salad come to life. And I modestly mumble, “Aw, it doesn’t take long,” when my garden smiles back weed free and my husband brags on me. I refrain from mentioning my aching back and the sunburn across the back of my neck.

Did I mention I also have a cucumber plant emerging from the hill? And my Walla Walla onion plants look like they’ll make it. I visited my local hardware store and came home with a great hoe and another pair of gloves. It’s the little things.

Oh, shoot, I guess dirty fingernails is a small price to pay for all the joy (and work) my garden brings. I’ll just give up on them for the next three to four months and paint my toe nails.

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A Few of My Favorite Things: Death Watch

Long before I started writing romance, I was (and still am) an avid romance reader.  I’d like to share some of my favorite elements from romance novels and the reasons why I think they work so well.

To me, a good romance is defined equally by the bleak moment and the happily-ever-after.  Those are the two moments that give romance its emotional and narrative satisfaction.  My absolute favorite type of bleak moment is when one main character believes their love interest has died (but they haven’t!  I’m not a complete monster).

There are certain story moments that stick with us from childhood and young adulthood.  These moments imprint themselves on our memories.  The one that is branded in mine is from a Saturday morning cartoon.  Sadly, I can’t remember which one, but that doesn’t lessen its impact.

What I do remember is that one of the guys from the hero group had been flirting mutually with the heroine character.  I remember shipping the two of them with all of my little elementary school heart.  Every scene where their hands touched, or they held each other a moment or two longer than necessary while staring into each other’s eyes… it was all magic for me.  Then came the episode I’d been waiting for, when they finally admitted how they felt about each other and had a date.

It was a lovely date, a picnic in a meadow.  Except just as they were about to kiss, the heroine was bitten (or stung?) and had to be rushed to the hospital.  Young me ate up the drama, loving how he stayed by her side and held her hand.  I was utterly confident that they would find a cure and save her.

Except they didn’t.  I can still remember every frame as the hospital machinery slowly came to a stop, indicating she’d died.  I was in shock.  This was not how cartoons worked!  Heroes never died, no matter how dire the situation might seem.

For the next scene, the hero calmly walked away from her deathbed, completely ignoring his friends as they tried to comfort him.  He walked out of the hospital, out into the pouring rain.  He looked up at the sky, and fell to his knees, sobbing and screaming his pain.  A pain that echoed in my heart because I wanted the two of them to be happy together.  It was devastating.

But then, in the next episode, we discovered that she hadn’t died at all!  It had all been a trick by the villains to kidnap her and harness her supernatural powers for themselves.  The hero launched a daring rescue, fueled by his anger and grief.  He was unstoppable, willing to risk anything to bring her back.  In the end, he did.  He rescued her and there was a thrilling kiss.

As you can tell, I’ve thought a lot about this cartoon over the years.  As a kid, it seemed perfect.  It had thrills, drama, and romance.  As both a reader and an author, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to recreate that potent combination of expectation, reversal, and satisfaction.

The reason why believing the loved one is dead works so well is that it brings everything down to the simplest level.  All of the complications and assumptions that got in the way of admitting how people feel or their willingness to be vulnerable are suddenly revealed to be flimsy excuses.  Because learning that there will be no more chances, that the person they love is gone forever, is the most horrible feeling in the world.  It brings everything into perspective.

But at the same time, because the story is a romance, I have the reassurance that the loss will not be permanent.  No matter how impossible it may seem, the characters will have another opportunity to get their relationship right.  Thus, I can dive into the depths of despair in perfect confidence because I know the author will carry me out of it.

That’s a special kind of trust and one which is absolutely sacred between romance authors and their audience.  The reader needs to trust us, to trust that we will deliver a happily ever after, no matter what.  There’s nowhere else in life or fiction which has that promise, which is why I remain a happy resident of Romancelandia.

I write paranormal romance full of suspense, action, and adventure.  My first book with Soul Mate is Deadly Potential (Federal agent Ben will do anything to protect songwriter Katie from a supernatural stalker who can hide in plain sight), available on Kindle Unlimited.  Or there’s my original series about a secret society of superheroes living among us.  Begin with Revelations for FREE!

Or check out my previous SMP Favorite Things blogpost on bodyguard-romance.

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Spring Awakening

The other night I found a duplicate device charge on the family mobile bill. I contacted customer service, and they told me that the charge was for a phone that had been shipped March 20, 2020 and not activated or returned.

Somewhere deep in my memory, I recalled my husband had ordered a new phone which had been lost and second device was shipped. He’d provided the doorbell camera footage of the time period the shipping company stated they had delivered the phone (which showed it had not) and that the charges would be reversed. They weren’t, and we were owed over $300.00.

On or about March 20, 2020 all Hell was literally breaking loose. I can recall cold, wind, rain, darkness, screaming sirens, whispered fears, empty streets littered with discarded masks and gloves, isolation in break rooms and offices in between suiting up in layers of gowns and makeshift PPE for hours on end, day after day.

Everything else had been cancelled, and all anyone was thinking about was survival–and getting daily necessities.

I had also forgotten the rare moments of sunshine and warmth, when the sight of tulips, daffodils and soon after azaleas and roses broke through and I would sit outside after hosing off my work clogs wondering when this would all come to an end.

In March of 2021, hope arrived along with tiny vials of COVID 19 vaccines. I still suit up, but this time to provide hope in the form of syringe. Each five to seven minute encounter is a joyous event with laughter, tears, cheers, and elbow high fives as each recipient wheels off, shuffles, or happy dances to the observation area, dispensing blessings and a multitude of thanks to everyone along the way.

Last year annual spring and summer conferences, book sales, author events and signings have been virtual. But to my surprise, a socially distanced opportunity arose in the same town in Cape Cod, Massachusetts where the Unfinished Business Series is set.

Brewster In Bloom, an annual celebration of Spring, has set up a trail of socially distanced events hosted outside the homes or businesses of those participating, with a virtual map that will lead right to my driveway. I’d wanted to install a Little Free Library there for folks headed to the beach, and this is the first step on that journey.

The $300.00 the phone company owed was credited back to my account. And this upcoming event provides a glimmer of hope that the daffodils and tulips are not the only things coming back this Spring and Summer.

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Writing Through Stress…The Spring Edition

I hope you’re all doing well! I know things aren’t too much different. In some places, I guess things are changing, but not where I live.

Though, I am going back to the office in a few weeks. I’m not sure how I feel about that. My whole day/routine is definitely going to change and it’s going to take some time to get used to that.

The only thing really changing around here is the weather–like constantly. Yesterday was gorgeous. Today is gray. And tomorrow we will have to turn the heat back on. The mud is awesome, too. Oh, and the shedding animals. It’s like living in a swamp. Ha! And don’t get me started on the pollen.

I have two gorgeous covers for my two re-releases coming out. I am always stunned at how the cover artist can capture a vision I wasn’t even sure of. I’m excited for these books to get back out into the world!

That Man and I took a little trip last weekend. We went to our favorite beach, even though it’s kind of a drive. We had attempted this trip last April, but everything closed down. After some back and forth, the owner gave us a credit for this year. I am so glad it worked out. The place was amazing. Just a studio, but with everything needed. Plus, we were steps from the ocean. I could leave our little spot, go back to the house, do what I needed to do and be back in my beach chair within three minutes. You can’t beat that. We cooked in the tiny kitchen, did a lot of deck sitting, read, got sunburned (don’t get me started. I applied constantly), ordered pizza, and generally just enjoyed it being just the two of us and nothing else.

It was absolutely amazing.

And that’s all I have…

I hope you are doing well and are surviving the best you can! I hope the things you want to do happen and that you get your shot if you want it.


Posted in Soul Mate Publishing, The Heart of Victoria Smith | 2 Comments

Eat Your Veggies – Still a Great Idea!

Writing four books in four years put me in a chair more than my body appreciated. A friend began a plant based eating journey, and I’ve done the same. The result is a slow and steady loss of excess weight without my normal yo-yoing. I’m a fill your plate kind of gal, and eating fresh, roasted, or stir-fried veggies keeps me satisfied. The idea is to stick with foods low in calorie density, so I cook with miniscule or no oil and butter. Once you try the method, you won’t miss those fats. Popcorn is my go-to snack. Check with your doctor first, of course!

But what about PROTEIN, friends keep asking? Well, there are plenty of healthy alternatives. Whole grains like quinoa, teff, oatmeal, wild rice, and coucous can get you to the recommended 50 grams of protein per day. I love chick peas (garbanzo beans), soybeans (tofu), lentils, black beans, and split peas. All are other great sources of protein. I don’t eat a lot of nuts due to their calorie density. I eat an egg, seafood, or sprinkle of cheese occasionally.

We began getting Imperfect Produce delivered during the pandemic. Soon I’ll have more edibles growing in my garden. Farmers markets have begun to open in our area, and I know I’m blessed with the means to get organic produce. I didn’t include fruit, but I keep mandarins and apples in a bowl for snacks. I hope if you’ve been contemplating healthier eating, I’ve given you ideas to try. I was the only kid in the fourth grade weighing in at over 100 pounds. One-O-Four, stated loudly by the nurse to whomever was recording the data – in front of the other students in line is a sound I’ll never forget. I’m hoping after 50+ years (and multiple dieting methods) later, that I’ve found an eating formula that’s healthy for my body, the planet, and is animal friendly. Oh, and baked Yukon Gold or sweet potatoes without butter are delightful. My taste buds are now tuned in to subtle flavors, another plus. Happy trails!

Look over your shoulder, he’s watching…

Posted in Motivation, Recipe, Simply Stated By Sally!, Soul Mate Publishing | Tagged | 4 Comments

The Write Word with Wareeze

Interview with the leading character: the heroine

Hello Friends, Old and New,

Welcome to the Soul Mate Publishing blog. Under my pen name, Wareeze Woodson, I write historical romance books with a twist of suspense.My books are all available on Amazon: Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman, An Enduring Love, A Lady’s Vanishing Choices, After She Became a Lady, Captured by the Viscount, Bittersweep ismy historical western, and my latest offering is up for pre-sale, The Earl’s Scandalous Wager. As you can guess from the title, this is also a historical romance and contains a twist of suspense.

The interview with the heroine in The Earl’s Scandalous Wager:

Lady Emily Lenbridge entered the parlor with her head held high and her heart tripping the pulse in her throat. She didn’t wish to be interviewed, but Phillip thought it would be best to comply so the magazine would print the slant to the story Lord and Lady Lenbridge wish to promote. She sighed. The Lady’s Journal would survive on printed innuendos and rumors if Emily did not grant the magazine’s request. This was an oh well moment and there was nothing she could do about the situation. Phillip referred to the magazine as the Lady’s Tattler instead of the Lady’s Journal. Emily had to bite back a chuckle when she recalled his remark. The thought left a smile upon her lips.

The butler introduced the magazine columnist as she entered the parlor. “Madam Gainsworth.”

Lady Lenbridge bowed her head toward the interviewer: “Please be seated and let us commence with the interview immediately.”

Madam Gainsworth settled and smiled at Emily. “Indeed.”

Interviewer: “I write articles for the Lady’s Journal as you know. I understand you married Lord Phillip Beckely Benton, the Earl of Lenbridge recently.”

Lady Emily Lenbridge: “Most recently.”

Interviewer: When did you first meet Lord Lenbridge? At Almack’s or some such happening? Perhaps the theater? My readers would certainly relish that information in the hopes of copying your success.”

Lady Lenbridge: “My stepmother usually accompanied me to any entertainment offered. However, this time my stepbrother took me to a party, but I can’t recall the name of the host or the establishment. I was to petrified. The first time I looked across the room and met my husband’s eyes, I nearly swooned. You’ve met him so you understand, goosebumps appear on my arms when I recall that meeting. He is so handsome, strong, with broad shoulders and an athletic build. The ladies all find him fascinating.”

Interviewer: “Rumor has it your marriage didn’t go well at first. Can you explain so our readers may profit from your mistakes.”

Lady Lenbridge: “If coming down the stairs only to witness Miss Annalise Dubey fling herself into my husband’s arm and proceed to kiss him was a mistake, I certainly do not own the guilt of that incident, nor of the rumors flying about. My grand-mother-in-law thinks I should have waited to appear at a more appropriate moment, but I say fustian to that.”

Interviewer: “What did you do”

Lady Lenbridge: “Do? I continued down the stairs as if there was nothing unusual in finding my husband wrapped in another lady’s arms. Lord Lenbridge, as most gentlemen, doesn’t appreciate a lady causing a scene and acting like a fishwife.”

Interviewer: “But weren’t you upset at all?”

Lady Lenbridge: “Certainly, I was not best please. I suppose I somehow communicated my views on the subject with a simple look. Perhaps it was the trembling of my lips, which I couldn’t completely control that caught my husband’s attention. He led me into his study to explain.” She smiled. “And explain he did. I was completely satisfied for the moment.”

Interviewer: “Do you regret your marriage?”

Lady Lenbridge: “Mostly certainly not. We find ourselves deeply committed to one another. You might tell your readers that total commitment is the only way to establish a worthwhile marriage. I am blessed with such a union.”

Interviewer: “Is there any thing else you wish to add to your statement.”

Lady Lenbridge: “There is one other thing. Remember ladies, wealthy or not, a man is a male creature. Learn to deal with his nature and you can handle most any situation. It is a man’s world but a good woman supporting her man in his endeavors can accomplish much.”

Emily had managed to avoid the question of her first meeting with Phillip. She shuddered when she considered the fact Phillip won her with the final roll of the dice. If that story ever appeared in print, the scandal would never die. She only hoped she gave the old busybody enough to satisfy her craving for gossip. Settling back in her chair, she waited for Phillip to put in an appearance.

Thank you for taking time to read my interview with one of the characters in my latest book due for release May 5, 2021. It is currently up for pre-sale.

For more information about my writing and my work in progress, please visit my website.


Wareeze Woodson


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Laugh Out Loud!

Today is International Moment of Laughter Day, a day set aside to remind us to laugh out loud each day. According to originator Izzy Gesell, “Laughter comes right after breathing as just about the healthiest thing you can do. It relieves, stress, instills optimism, raises self-confidence, defuses resistance to change, and enhances all your relationships.”

Science backs up Izzy’s claims:

A recent study of 53,556 people in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that women who have a strong sense of humor live longer. The reason? Laughter bolsters the immune system to ward off disease.

Why not take a few minutes to share a funny story, watch a funny video, send a funny card to a friend, or just laugh for no reason at all?

If you’re stuck for ideas, consider sharing the following joke:

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird’s mouth was rude, obnoxious, and laced with profanity.

John tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music, and doing anything else he could think of to clean up the bird’s vocabulary.

Finally, John had had enough. In exasperation one day, he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. He shook his fist at the parrot, but the parrot just got angrier and even ruder.

In desperation, John threw up his hands, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.

Fearing he’d hurt the parrot; John quickly opened the freezer door. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John’s outstretched arm and said: “I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I am sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior.”

John was stunned at the change in the bird’s attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued: “May I ask what the chicken did?”

Source: Aurora Toastmasters

You can find more of my jokes here.

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Pinterest

Posted in Soul Mate Publishing, What's Up With Joanne! | 8 Comments