Monday, December 4, 2023



Recently, one of my friends who collects realistic-looking baby dolls spent over $100 on one that was advertised as looking so real, it was guaranteed to make people think it was a genuine newborn. In fact, the doll in the photo in the advertisement resembled an actual living, breathing baby.

In retrospect, it probably was.

What my friend ended up receiving was a package from China (even though the company’s address was listed as being in New York) that contained a cheap plastic doll that looked as if someone had won it at a carnival after hitting a balloon with a dart.

I really could empathize with how she felt, mainly because of something that happened to me back in the 1950s…when I was an impressionable young child.

And it still causes me trauma to this day.

I blame it on those evil, deceiving comic-book advertisements that crushed thousands of children’s spirits back then. After all, if you can’t trust an ad in a Little Lulu comic book, then what can you trust?

I probably sound overly dramatic, but I feel justified.

Growing up, I loved dolls so much, I couldn't get enough of them. My dolls all had names and I treated them as if I were their mother. I talked to them, sang to them and slept with them. And on Christmas Eve, I even hung up stockings for them so Santa would fill them...(enter devious chuckling here).

So when I was about nine years old and saw this advertisement in the back of one my comic books, my eyes grew as big as saucers and my heartbeat increased.

I ran to my mother, who was watching her soap opera, and waved the comic book in her face just as Patty was about to confess something shocking to her mother on TV.

“Please, Mommy!” I begged. “Can I get these dolls? I really, really, really want them!”

My mother took the comic book from me and scanned the ad. She then read the details as I held my breath and stared, not even blinking at her.

There was no way she could refuse, I told myself. I mean, a hundred dolls made of Styrene (whatever that was!) for only a dollar? Where else could you buy dolls for only a penny each?

Granted, a dollar was a lot of money back then. It could buy 20 full-sized candy bars, or admission to a double-feature movie, including a box of popcorn and a box of Milk Duds.

But heck, that wasn't nearly as exciting as having a hundred dolls!

“I don’t know..." my mother said, frowning, after she'd finished reading the ad. "You know what they say about something that sounds too good to be true…it usually is."

“But look at them!” I said, beginning to feel desperate and pointing at the ad. “They have dancers, cowboys, babies and clowns! I could play with them and make my own town!”

“That’s not a real picture of them, though,” Mom said. “It's only a drawing. So you don't know what the dolls really look like.”

When she saw my look of disappointment, she finally sighed and said, “You’ll have to save your allowance. Once you have a dollar, then I’ll send away for them for you, OK?”

My allowance was only a quarter a week, so to me, saving a whole dollar seemed as if would take months, maybe even years.

That night, when my dad got home from work, I showed the advertisement to him – mainly because I knew he was a soft touch. Within five minutes, I had a dollar bill in my greedy little paws.

And as promised, Mom sent for the dolls. Every day after she did, I practically stalked the mailman. I was on summer vacation from school, so I was able to keep a close watch on the mailbox.

Finally, after my patience completely had run out, the mailman delivered a package to me. But instead of the squeals of delight I’d anticipated would be my reaction, I only stared silently at it. My expression was one of total confusion.

The package wasn’t even the size of a box of tissues. How, I wondered, could 100 dolls possibly be in a box that small? One doll, maybe, but no way could 100 ever fit in there.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. When my mother and I opened the box, it contained mostly packing material. The dolls were in a plastic bag about the size of a modern-day sandwich bag. When I saw the actual dolls, I burst into tears. In my naïve little mind, I had envisioned them as being actual dolls wearing real dresses and colorful outfits.

But all of the dolls and their outfits were made of the same pale-pink plastic and were so tiny, they looked as if they had come straight out of a gum machine. And they all were standing on bases, which hadn't been shown in the original ad.

My mother didn’t look too pleased either. She frowned at the bag of dolls and said what I knew she was going to say but had hoped she wouldn’t…"I told you the ad sounded too good to be true. But honestly, I'm really sorry I was right.” She arched a brow at me and forced a smile as she added, “Maybe we can have fun painting their outfits, though. How about that?" 

I was much too upset to be interested at that point. I didn’t ever want to look at those cheap, plastic, gum-machine dolls again. They, in my opinion, didn’t even deserve the honor of being called dolls.

Still, the advertisers in the comic books didn’t care or have any conscience, because they continued to dupe young kids for years. My cousin, for example, not long after I received my crappy dolls, begged his parents for this log-cabin playhouse he saw advertised in the back of a comic book. When they said yes, he practically danced a jig, he was so excited. He even told a bunch of his friends that after it arrived, they could come play “Davy Crockett” in it with him.

What ended up arriving, however, was a large manila envelope that contained a folded, thin plastic sheet with a picture of a cabin printed on it. The instructions said to drape it over a table and then crawl underneath the table.

My cousin didn't even want to show his face in school after that, he was so humiliated. I honestly felt sorry for him.

But on the other hand, at least I had someone to commiserate with.

That is, until I saw the ad for sea monkeys...

 #   #   #

Sally Breslin is a native New Englander and an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at:
























Monday, November 27, 2023



Last Monday morning, the week of Thanksgiving, I was cozy and warm in bed when my dogs suddenly barked and woke me up. I barely managed to pry my eyes open when the doorbell rang, which incited another round of frenzied barking.

Well, there was no way I was about to crawl out of bed and open the door. For one thing, I had no idea who was out there. Anyone who knows me is fully aware I'm not a morning person. So that meant it probably was a stranger.

Like a guy selling driveway paving because he had some leftover asphalt from his previous job.

Or an escaped criminal looking for a hideout.

Or a hungry bear looking for…well, just about anything.

Secondly, if I answered the door looking the way I usually do when I first wake up in the morning – thermal pajamas, hair curlers, face cream, and my bangs sticking up like porcupine quills – I’d frighten away anyone who was out there…including the bear.

So I didn’t budge.

Within a few seconds, the doorbell stopped ringing, the dogs stopped barking and I rolled over and went back to sleep. 

About 45 minutes later, however, the doorbell rang again. By then, I was feeling slightly irritated, especially since my dogs were acting as if a UFO had just landed on the front lawn and alien beings were surrounding the house.

But this time, the doorbell ringer wasn’t satisfied with just the usual “ding dong." No, it was "ding-dong-ding-dong-ding-dong-ding-dong" in rapid succession. And when all of those dings and dongs failed to elicit any response from me, I heard the visitor walk back and force across my porch, then switch to knocking…loudly…also in rapid succession.

When it continued, I became annoyed – so annoyed, I no longer cared how I looked. I got out of bed, shoved my feet into my fleecy slippers and stomped out to the living room. The front door has an outer storm door, which I also keep locked, so I felt safe enough to open the inside door just a crack.

I did consider shouting “Who is it?” first, but finally, I just creaked open the door about two inches.

Never would I have guessed who was standing there.

It was a police officer…a tall, young and handsome police officer. In fact, I had to stop and think about what occasion it might be that would inspire one of my friends to play a joke on me and embarrass me by sending over one of those male exotic dancers who dressed like a cop.

But this officer turned out to be a real policeman (darn it!).

He asked if I was Sally and then, “Are you okay?" 

Why, I wondered, would he be asking me that? Had I slept so soundly, some natural disaster had struck while I was snoring? Or maybe there was a vicious, drooling, wild animal (or person?) running rampant on my property?

“I’m fine,” I said. "I was sleeping."

I think the fact I wouldn’t open the door any wider than a crack made him think I might be hiding a fugitive or someone in the house, because he stretched his neck to look past me and into the living room.

“Sorry to wake you,” he said. “But we received a call to do a wellness check on you. The caller said he hadn’t seen you or heard from you in weeks.”

I hadn’t expected that one. 

“Weeks?” I repeated. “I can’t think of anyone I haven't been in touch with, and I'm always posting stuff on social media. Also, I take my daily walk around the neighborhood and say hi to or wave at everyone."

“Well, I'm glad you're all right. Sorry again to disturb you. Have a nice day."

I closed the door, locked it and went back to bed, but my eyes were wider than an owl’s by then, and my heart was pounding like a jackhammer. There was no way I was going to get any sleep until I found out who had requested the wellness check.

So I got up and called the local police department. When I gave my name to the woman who answered, she said, "Oh, Sally! I'm so glad you're all right! I was worried about you when I saw your name!"

To be honest, it made feel good to know that people were so concerned about me. I’ve often had visions of myself lying on the basement floor after tumbling down the stairs, and not being found until the spiders down there had completely wrapped me in webs, like a mummy.

I asked the woman if she could tell me who'd contacted the police about me, and she gave me the information – a very nice couple who live about a mile up the road from me.

I thanked her and then called the couple. The husband answered and was happy to hear I was still kicking. He then explained he’d been out walking his dog and noticed I hadn’t picked up my Sunday newspaper in the tube out by my mailbox. He said he was worried I’d fallen or that something bad had happened to me, so he rang my doorbell to check on me. When there was no answer, he phoned the police. 

Well, that explained it.

I also hadn’t put my trash out for the weekly Monday-morning pickup because there was only one bag in the container (which is big enough to house a family of four), so I figured I could be lazy and wait another week. 

In retrospect, that probably didn’t help much either. 

I thanked the couple and told them I really appreciated their concern...and I truly meant it. 

In fact, they can call back that same police officer to come check on me again any time they’d like.


#   #   #


Sally Breslin is a native New Englander and an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at:








Monday, November 20, 2023




It’s that time of year again when I have to start thinking about Christmas shopping. And believe me, just the thought of it causes my palms to get clammy and my heart to race.

Every Christmas season I struggle for weeks until I finally come up with what I feel certain is a perfect gift for each person on my gift list…only to have it turn out to be a complete disaster.

For example, I still vividly remember the year I decided to buy my mother a necklace she had seen a woman wearing and raved about, saying she would love to have one like it. Her description of it turned out to be something called a ladder-style necklace, which was popular at the time. The pendant resembled a tiny gold ladder, narrower at the top and wider at the bottom. About two-thirds of the way down the ladder, there was a rung with a diamond on it.

I figured that for once, it would be a snap to buy my mother a gift she was certain to love...and with no racking of my brain involved.

And once again, I’d figured wrong.

I searched in the fine-jewelry departments in two big department stores, and then in two jewelry stores...with no luck. Finally, I entered a third jewelry store. A sales clerk who was at the far end of the store spotted me and made the 20-yard dash in two seconds flat. I barely had set one eye on the display case of diamond necklaces when she leaned over the counter and gushed, “Aren’t they all just beee-yoo-tiful?”

I frowned and sighed. “Sorry, no, they’re not. The necklace I want isn’t here.” I turned to leave.

“Wait!” the clerk called out (obviously eager to still snag a commission). “I’ll get our goldsmith. He can make you anything you want.”

Before I could open my mouth to protest (because I knew anything that had to be specially made would require me to rob a bank to pay for it), the goldsmith appeared, asking me to describe the necklace I wanted. I did, and after I was done, he took a pen and pad of paper out of his pocket and quickly sketched something.

“Is this it?” he asked, holding up the pad.

His drawing of the pendant was perfect, absolutely perfect. I was impressed.

“I can have this for you in three days,” he said. He then quoted a price that was far below what I’d anticipated. I ordered the necklace.

Eight days later, I received a call from a woman at the jewelry store. “Your necklace is ready!” she excitedly said. “It’s absolutely gorgeous! Stunning!  I can’t wait for you to see it!”

 I rushed over to the mall.

The goldsmith, smiling with pride, showed me a necklace. It was a solitaire diamond, bezel set, dangling from a big gold triangle through which a chain was strung. 

What do you think?” he asked.

“It’s lovely,” I said, feeling just slightly impatient. “But I’m really anxious to see my necklace, so please, don’t keep me waiting any longer!”

The goldsmith’s face dropped. “This IS your necklace.”

I just stared at him, waiting for him to tell me he was joking. Unfortunately, he was serious.

“Do you still have that sketch you drew for me?”  I asked. He quickly retrieved it. I took it from him and looked at it, then laid it on the counter and set the necklace right next to it.

“So tell me honestly,” I said. “Do you really think this necklace resembles the one in the sketch?”

He shrugged and shook his head. “No, but it’s still a beautiful necklace, so you shouldn’t be disappointed.”

Again, I just stared at him. I suspected he'd either forgotten all about making my necklace or he'd tried and thought it was too much work, so he'd just grabbed some other necklace he'd had out back. 

Several moments passed before I finally said, “Then what you’re saying is if I were a seamstress and you ordered a business suit from me, it would be okay for me to give you a sequined gown instead, just because it’s beautiful?”

His cheeks flushed. “Well, no, of course not. What on earth would I do with a gown?”

“Probably the same thing I’m going to do with this necklace,” I said, louder than I’d intended. “I’m not going to buy it! 

Within seconds, the store’s manager was by my side, asking if there was a problem. I showed him the sketch, then the necklace. His expression told me he also thought the goldsmith should invest in a good pair of bifocals.

“I will personally make this for you,” the manager said, studying the sketch.

“There's not enough time left now,” I muttered.

“You will have it tomorrow. I give you my word on that.”

Sure enough, the next afternoon he called and told me the necklace was ready. I rushed back to the mall.

The manager looked as if he’d just crawled out of bed. His hair was messy, his eyes were red and puffy, and his shirt was wrinkled.

“I spent the entire night making this necklace for you,” he told me. “But I guarantee you will be pleased.”

Call me fussy, but I wasn’t pleased. The pendant looked like a short, fat letter “H.”  The sides weren't long and tapered, so they made it look chunky instead of graceful. Still, I just couldn’t bring myself to tell the poor guy I didn’t like it, even though I had visions of my mother being asked what the "H" stood for whenever she wore it.

I sighed. “It’s fine. Wrap it up.”

The manager was so relieved, he grabbed my hand and vigorously shook it, then said, “I’m so pleased! For a moment there, I had a sinking feeling you didn’t like it!”

The man definitely was perceptive.

After I left the store, I wandered into J.C. Penney’s in search of a handbag. As I walked past their fine- jewelry counter, something in the case happened to catch my eye. I moved closer to investigate. It was the exact necklace I'd wanted for my mother all along…at half of what I’d just paid for the short, fat “H.”

It’s not often you see a grown woman stomping her foot and shouting, “No! No! Nooooo!” in the center aisle of J.C. Penney’s jewelry department.

To this day, I'm still hoping they thought I was shouting, “Ho, ho, ho!”           


#   #   #

Sally Breslin is a native New Englander and an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at:









Monday, November 13, 2023



I was surfing the Internet the other night when an item popped up about something called the SRT test. It said it was a simple test people age 50-80 could do at home to determine how long they will live, and it involved simply sitting and standing. 

Curious, I decided to check it out.

When I entered the website, it immediately began to run a video that demonstrated the test. A woman who looked like a fashion model was shown standing with her legs crossed and her arms straight out in front of her.

“Now all you have to do,” she said,  “is keep your body straight, and while bending only your knees, sit on the floor.”

One moment she was standing, and the next, in just one smooth motion, she was sitting cross-legged on the floor, her arms still straight out in front of her.

“If you can do this without having to use your hands or without stumbling, give yourself 5 points,” she said. “If you had to use your hand, arm or other body parts to brace yourself, minus a point for each part you used.”

She then went on to demonstrate the procedure to get up. Still sitting cross-legged with her arms straight out in front of her, she used the outer sides of her feet to push herself up to a standing position. Once again, she moved so smoothly, not even one lock of her perfectly coiffed hair fell out of place.

“If you are able to stand without using your hands to push you up,” she said, “give yourself another 5 points. And that’s all there is to the test!  Simple! If you scored a perfect 10, you’re in optimal health. If you scored less than 3, however, statistics have shown you’ll probably be dead within five years.”

To be honest, I thought the whole thing seemed completely ridiculous, especially the part about dying within five years. I mean, what was the test supposed to prove? Someone with bad knees obviously wouldn’t be able to pass it, but that wouldn’t mean the poor guy was on death’s doorstop, would it?

So without pausing to think of the consequences, I decided to try the test for myself, mainly because my curiosity was driving me crazy.

I stood on the rug (to cushion my fall in case I lost my balance) in the middle of the living room, then crossed my legs and held my arms straight out in front of me. Slowly, I bent my knees, lowering my body to the floor. When I was within a few inches of my goal, I started to lose my balance, so I had to use my hand to brace myself.

“Not too bad,” I thought. “I used one body part, so I have to minus a point. But I still got 4 points.”

If there’s one thing I should know not to do in my house, it’s get down on the floor. In my dogs’ eyes, anything on the floor is something to play with…even if it’s a human. Within seconds, I had two huge dogs pouncing on me and knocking me over backwards. I began to wonder if the test offered point adjustments for interference.

I shooed the dogs away and then concentrated on the next part of the test – standing without using my hands. I sat there in my cross-legged position, thrust my arms out in front of me, dug the sides of my feet into the rug and tried to stand. 

Nothing happened.

I leaned forward, stretching my arms farther out in front of me. Still nothing. My butt felt as if it weighed 300 pounds. I knew that unless a crane magically appeared, there was no way I was going to get up off the floor. Still, I continued to try. I grunted so much, I sounded like a hog at feeding time. I finally surrendered and used my hands, my knees, and even one of the dogs for leverage before I was able to stand again. By then, I think I owed points to the test.

Frustrated, I was determined to get a better score. Not wanting any four-legged interference this time, however, I locked myself in the bedroom and tried the test there.

Not only were my results even worse, when I tried to stand from the cross-legged position, I pulled a muscle in the back of my thigh and ended up with the world’s worst Charley horse. And my knees made sounds like someone in baseball spikes walking across bubble wrap.

Two days later, I still was limping…and begging Charley to come get his horse.

But now I think I’m better able to understand why the video said if you flunk the test you probably should go shopping for a headstone.

Trying to pass the darned test is what kills you.


#   #   #


Sally Breslin is a native New Englander and an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at:






Monday, November 6, 2023


I hate to admit it, but I’ve begun to notice that several of my friends and I aren’t hearing quite as clearly as we once did. 

Phone calls are particularly bad because I find myself either having to repeat things or shout when I’m talking. And in return, I notice I’m saying “huh?” so often, I probably sound as if I’m trying to hack up something that’s stuck in my throat.

Cell phones definitely don’t help the situation, especially when people call me from their cars. I have one friend who often phones me on his drive home from work. Bad enough he uses the speaker-phone mode, which makes him sound as if he's calling from an orbiting space station, he also loses his connection every time he drives by a certain area.

“Wait till you hear what happened to me last night!” he’ll say. "I was driving home and didn’t know a cop was right behind me. All of a sudden he put on his flashing lights and then…" 

Static and silence.

Meanwhile, I’m shouting, "And then what? What happened? Hello? Are you there? Do you need bail money?”

The calls I have the most trouble with are the ones to customer service, which usually involve being connected to someone who barely speaks English and is in some obscure, foreign place I’ve never heard of, like Atowedudu. I can’t hear clearly to begin with, so add a heavy accent to the mix and I’m pretty much doomed.

The last time I talked to a technical-support guy when my computer was acting up, his accent was so thick, I had no clue what he was saying through most of our conversation. At one point, he instructed me to “click on Internet options.” 

I honestly thought he’d said he was sick and nauseous.

“Have you tried drinking ginger ale?” I asked him.

He must have thought I was the one who was drinking…something much stronger than ginger ale.

And I remember when my husband started to lose his hearing. At first, I couldn’t figure out whether he was just ignoring me, or if he actually had a problem. 

But as time passed, I noticed that no matter what I said, he’d just answer, “Yeah.” He probably figured I’d be happy if he agreed with me, so “yeah” was a safe answer. 

I’d say, “Do you want steak for dinner?” 


“You want fries with it?”


“Or would you prefer mashed potatoes?”


“Is it OK if I run off with Ricardo, the Brazilian landscaper and part-time exotic dancer I met last week?”


I have to confess I’ve also been guilty of using my husband’s “yeah” technique fairly often lately when I’m on the phone. It was evident last week when my friend in Scotland called to chat. Her thick Scottish accent made my struggle to understand her even more challenging. 

So I uttered a lot of “yeahs” throughout most of our conversation.

Judging from my friend’s tone of voice after some of my responses, however, I’m pretty sure I said, “yeah,” when I should have been saying, “no,” or “Oh no, that’s terrible!”  I’m also afraid I might unintentionally have offended her.

I mean, I’m still not sure if she said, “I’m getting a cat” or “I’m getting fat.”

Either way, I answered “Yeah!”

If she doesn’t call me again, then I guess I’ll be able to figure out which one she actually said. 

It’s tough getting old.


#   #   #


Sally Breslin is a native New Englander and an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at:


Monday, October 30, 2023


I’ve arrived at a point in my writing career where I’m seriously considering retiring and finally giving up on my dream of ever penning a bestseller. The truth is, there’s just too much competition out there nowadays, and many of the writers whose books have made it to the top of the bestseller list have done so by spending thousands of dollars per month on ads and promotions.

Heck, I don’t even have thousands of cents to spend on promoting my books, so that pretty much leaves them (and me) at the very bottom of the literary barrel. 

Each book I’ve written took me months, even years in some instances, to complete. And upon finishing each one I've thought, “This is it! This is the one that finally will earn enough money to make it worth all of my hard work.”

But it hasn’t happened yet...and alas, probably never will.

I think part of the problem is I’m not certain which genre I write the best, if any. I have tried them all – romance, humor, sci-fi, paranormal, nonfiction, fantasy and more, hoping to attract a large audience to at least one of them so I'd know which was my true calling.

I remember when I searched online years ago to find out the most popular genre at the time. It turned out to be erotica. Laughing, I immediately searched for the second most popular. It was romantic thrillers. So I decided if that was what readers wanted, then that was what I would give them, even though I had no clue how to go about writing one.

I did have a plot idea in my head, but putting that idea into words that actually made sense and flowed perfectly turned out to be as challenging as trying to teach my dogs how to perform in a dance routine with the Rockettes.

After working on the manuscript for months and rewriting it at least a dozen times, I was satisfied I’d finally created a winner: Heed the Predictor, a thriller about a young woman who has the ability to accurately predict the exact day, time and way in which every person she meets will die.

I’ll never forget when I told my friend Bob I’d finished writing the novel. Its title, however, Heed the Predictor, obviously confused him.

“Is that like Conan the Barbarian?” he asked, thinking "Heed" was my character's name.

I probably should have taken that as a sign.

When the author’s proof copy of my book arrived, I thought it looked great. Smiling, I grabbed a cup of tea and sat down to read my masterpiece. I didn’t think I’d find any mistakes or typos in it because I so carefully had checked and rechecked every page before I’d sent the manuscript to Amazon, the publisher.

To my shock, there were so many mistakes, I began to suspect they secretly were breeding and multiplying as I read each page, just to defy me.

For example, on one page I’d written, “He walked over to the table and took a seat across from her.”

On the very next page I wrote, “Don’t just stand there,” she said, “have a seat.”

And then, I wrote, “Meg’s green eyes locked with his blue ones.”  But a few pages later, “His hazel eyes narrowed.”

The guy must have been part chameleon.

I know this sounds crazy, but I also wasn’t pleased with the deaths in my book. As I reread them, they just didn’t seem as scary as I’d intended them to be. For one thing, I had my characters die in very weird and unusual, even comical, ways. I couldn’t help it, my sense of humor kept bullying me and taking control, no matter how much I wanted the deaths to be worthy of the best Stephen King novel.

Finally, I made it all the way through the proof copy and submitted the corrected version of my manuscript to the publisher. Then I waited for another proof. When it arrived, I decided not to read it myself. Instead, I gave it to my friend Nancy to proofread for me.

After she and her husband both read it, she got right back to me.

“So what did you think of my thriller?” I asked.

“Well…for one thing, it’s not really thrilling,” she said. “Your sense of humor kept popping up and ruining things. And the first two chapters seemed a little too rushed with not enough depth.”

Her husband added, “I loved the surprise ending!  I didn’t figure out how the story was going to end until the fourth to the last page!”

The fourth to the last page? My “surprise" ending was supposed to remain a surprise until the very last sentence!

So once again, I sat down and rewrote the book. I changed my first two chapters by adding more details and dialogue so they would seem less rushed. Then I attempted to make the deaths in the book more tense and frightening. I added racing hearts, beads of perspiration and shortness of breath, which actually made my potential murder victims sound more like victims of cardiac arrest than homicide. And I changed the pages leading up to my surprise ending so the readers wouldn't be able to guess it until the book’s final paragraph.

By the time I was through, I’d unintentionally increased my manuscript by about 10,000 words. I had no idea if that was a good thing or a big mistake. I mean, by adding so much more to the plot, I'd risked turning the book into the equivalent of a giant sleeping pill.

I also decided, after doing some serious thinking, to add a few mild curse words to the dialogue. It just didn’t sound right for a maniacal killer to be saying things like, “Oh shucks!” and “darn it!” in the heat of anger.

Again, I waited for another proof copy to arrive. And once again, I started reading the book, even though I was so sick of it at that point, I’d have preferred to be doing anything else, like getting my underarms waxed.

The more I read, the more I found fault with just about everything in the book. There was something I wanted to change on every page. So I did. That’s when I realized I couldn’t be objective any longer – that even if I read that book another hundred times, I’d still change it a hundred times and not be satisfied with it.

So the book finally was published the way it was – good, bad or otherwise. And I didn’t remove all of the humor from it, so I suppose it can be called a “campy thriller.”

But to my delight, it has received positive reviews, with an average rating of 4.4 out of 5. Not too shabby, I guess, for a humor writer turned novice thriller-writer.

So I wrote a sequel, Conceal the Predictor, thinking I’d finally found my true calling, and then offered the original book free in e-book form (you can click on it below for a free download) to entice new readers.

To date, the free copy has been downloaded over 15,000 times and is in the top 75 in its category.

And I’ve sold a whopping 20 sequels.

Does that mean people prefer not to spend any money, so they specifically search for and read only free books? Or does it mean my original book is so terrible, nobody even cares about the sequel?

I guess I’ll never know…not unless I also offer the sequel free and see what happens.

But how can I ever fulfill my wish of writing a bestseller if I'm not actually "selling" the books?

As I said, maybe after 50 years, it’s finally time to retire from writing and do something less stressful that also will help supplement my income.

Like there’s an opening for a greeter at one of the area Walmarts I think I might check out.


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Sally Breslin is a native New Englander and an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at: