Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Next Big Thing

I am participating in a The Next Big Thing blog hop and today it’s my turn to talk about my Work in Progress.  Here are the questions I was asked, followed by my answers.

What is the working title of your next book?  I have no idea, but I hope to come up with one by the end of the book.  The subtitle is, Two Cranky Seniors Get Married.

Where did the idea come from for the book? It will be the second in the Cranky Seniors Series.  The first was Mishaps and Miracles about two cranky seniors taking a ten thousand mile cross country road trip in a small car.  Talk about extreme togetherness!

What genre does your book fall under? Hmmm.  Humor, senior citizen interests.  Probably not romance.  :-)

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? 
Fred Mertz  - Fred
Ethel Mertz - Linda

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  Can a marriage survive when the bride and groom are independent, advanced in years, and set in their own ways?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  Like the first in the series, it will be self-published on Kindle.  If I can remember how.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?  I don’t know, I haven’t finished it yet.  At the rate I’m going, it may take more time than I expected.  It would go faster if I uninstalled Solitaire and Mahjong from my computer.  And emails.  And the San Diego Zoo Panda Cam.  And the WeatherBug.  And a few hundred other distracting sites.  There’s a lot to be said for writing with pencil and paper when the biggest distraction you have is making doodles in the margins!  I’m sorry, where was I?  You should see what the panda cub is doing.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  Ma and Pa Kettle, if anyone can remember back that far!

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?  I invited a man behind a drive-thru window that I barely knew to go to England with me on a vacation; he didn’t take me up on it; I went alone; we eventually got married.  I got more than a burger at the drive-thru!  I’m a self-confessed, card carrying cradle robber since I’m eight years older than he is.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?  I wanted to write the second book of the Cranky Seniors Series while I was still on this side of the grass.  The third installment, God willing, will be subtitled, Two Cranky Seniors Buy a Restaurant.  If you think two independent people living together is difficult, try working together.  Cranky takes on a whole new meaning.

Here’s an excerpt from my current, as yet untitled, story.

I was so used to my own space and quiet time, that I had a hard time meshing with him.  He got home from work before I did and was happy to see me as soon as I walked in the door.  The TV was on.  There was him, there was noise, there was no quiet time.  From morning to night, my formerly quiet little apartment was filled with noise.  I couldn’t stand it.  I needed SPACE.  I needed me time.  I needed quiet.  I told him I wasn’t sure this was going to work.  He had already sold his house so he had no other home to go to.  I felt bad and relented and told him he could stay.  “But,” I said, “I am going to have to have some time to myself once in a while.”  He agreed.

Turns out we had yet another problem.  I had a waterbed which was the mainstay of my life.  When I lived in New England, my bed was always cold at night and I tried everything from an electric blanket to a hot water bottle, to warm up the bed before getting in.  The first thing I did when I moved to California was buy a waterbed.  It had a heater under the mattress and no matter where you stuck your leg out, the bed was warm.  Beautifully warm.  The highlight of my day was coming home to my warm waterbed.  It was a luxury I never dreamed of in cold, bitter, New England.  Granted, Southern Californians don’t have a big need for a heated bed, but after forty-five years of putting up with cold temperatures, I absolutely loved my waterbed.  

Then Fred came along.  We could almost put up with the fact that when one of us moved around in the bed, the other felt like he or she was on a Disney waterslide ride.  It was uncomfortable, but doable.  But one morning, I woke up and said, “Boy, the bed sure feels cold.  I wonder if there’s something wrong with the heating element.”  

“Oh,” he said, “I shut the heater off last night, it was too hot.”

“You what?” I screamed.  “How dare you shut the heater off on my waterbed.  This bed is my lifeline, my solace in a cold world, my constant in my life, my….”  I went on and on, sobbing as I spoke, as though he had just torn out my heart.  When a heater goes on a waterbed, you end up laying on a mattress full of cold water and that was the very thing I had avoided for twelve years.  I moved to California to get warm, not to be cold all over again.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Family--One of the Perks of Being Human

I'm in a family mood.  This is President's weekend where we honor two of our greatest presidents--George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  By the way, if you haven't seen the movie, Lincoln, you should make plans to go.  It's a wonderful movie that takes you behind the static history books and brings the events of that time to life.  But I digress.  George Washington is considered the father of our country and that brings me back to the family mood I'm in.

I had a terrific father and mother and a happy idyllic childhood.  Someone recently asked me what my favorite book as a child was and I said, "Little Orphan Annie and the Gila Monster Gang."  Why?  Because my mother used to read a little bit of that book to my sister and me every night before we went to bed.  How clever she was, reading just enough to make us WANT to go to bed the next night to hear more of the story.  A few years ago, my sister found the book at a book sale and sent it to me as a reminder of the bond we had with each other and our mother.

Now I'm a mother and I'm thrilled to pieces that my daughter and son-in-law are coming out to sunny California from snowbound Connecticut to visit this week.  This is the daughter who, with her husband, survived a horrendous motorcycle accident last June.  Finally, I will have a chance to put my arms around her   and give her the hug I've been saving for eight months!  We video conference each other every Sunday, but now I'll be able to see her in person and touch her and give thanks that she's alive and well.  Neither of them are one hundred percent better, but they're alive and they're coming to visit!  And, we'll be sitting together in church on Sunday--my heart may just burst with happiness.

Family.  One of God's better inventions.

So what was your favorite book?  And why?

Today's Quote:  Whatever you are, be a good one.  Abraham Lincoln.