BLAST OFF!

JANUARY 17, 2022

So, how’s the weather at your house? Ah, cold enough for you? Brrrrrrr. At my house, down here in the south, snow fell on us. We do get a bit of the white stuff every now and then. The schools close because the counties won’t let buses try and maneuver on the icy back roads. You could say that we make it an event—a holiday!!!

Speaking of holidays, I do hope yours was a healthy one. We were lucky and were not sick, but we did have a few friends and family who were under the weather, so to speak.

EXTRA, EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT!

RELATIVE CONSEQUENCES will soon be released. LAUNCH DATE is MARCH 12, 2022. (Pre-Orders for Kindle Select are available NOW on AMAZON!}

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GOING BACK IN TIME TO 1955-1956

A good bit of RELATIVE CONSEQUENCES takes place in a time in history remembered as the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. Events surrounding the everyday lives of the children portrayed in the story act as a backdrop for their innocent actions.

Everyone had to have a television in his or her home. One could see programs like American Bandstand, Gunsmoke, and Lassie. Not only did small town diners provide old timers and families a place to catch a hot meal, but the news of the day and neighborhood gossip attracted most of the customer base.

Children pledged allegiance to the Stars & Stripes standing in the corner of the classroom; teachers made sure every child could write in cursive across blackboards. Kids explored the backroads, deserted buildings, and empty lots of their hometowns. Adults never worried about their children’s safety and rarely locked their doors. After all, the County Sheriff and maybe even a Deputy Sheriff took care of the town. Surely, local officials proved to be trustworthy and responsible souls.

What were Jessy Blanchard (Jessy Tate) and her friends up to in 1955?

Below is a sneak peek from PART TWO of RELATIVE CONSEQUENCES.

Clark bent over to pick up a stick. “Maybe he’s dead. I’ll poke him and see.”

Recalling her mother’s cautionary words, Jessy whispered, “You better not. If he’s asleep, you’ll wake him. He might be dangerous.”

The man’s foot wiggled. The shocked children shuffled backward. The vagrant then extended his arms above his head and stretched. Gazing into the sun, he lifted the brim of his hat and opened one eye then the other. “Uh, can I help you kids?”

Rita May inched closer. “Just checking to see if you were breathing. You looked deader than a mackerel.”

The hobo chuckled. “No, missy, I ain’t dead. I’s hongry and wore out is all.”

Jessy took a step forward. “My daddy owns the diner over there. I’m sure he’ll give you something to eat, if we ask him.”

Next time we get together, we’ll talk a little bit about the relationship between Jessy Tate and her friend, Rita Rhodes.

See ya’ next time, Jody

What a Character!

Hi there! How’s your Autumn going? Mine is great and busy–a lot of sitting in front of my laptop.

Right now, during this month of Gratitude, I’m so thankful for my family’s health in this time of strange viruses. I hope and pray your family is healthy. I’m also thankful for the new piano students my husband, Mike, has acquired since we moved. Although, I have asked for a set of noise-eliminating headphones for Christmas. 😊

I’m excited to let you know that I can reveal the cover to my upcoming published book – Relative Consequences. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Here is a peak at the cover.

The Subgenre of RELATIVE CONSEQUENCES is Mystery & Detective/Historical and the book listing will span several categories, i.e., contemporary women’s fiction, historical mystery fiction, southern mystery fiction, I am looking forward to a launch date and anticipating the ability to pre-order the book soon – first in eBook form then in Mass Market Paperback.

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What do you think of when you hear someone described as a character? I have relatives that I consider real characters and I love them dearly. My grandmother Susie, rest her soul, was a unique woman. A tiny, little thing, she could outwork any man she arund her. During WWII, she held two jobs – one where she played the organ (like a church organ) in a restaurant lounge until late at night. She could play any tune you could name. Funny what you remember. She had a fondness for ceramic birds and she had an outhouse in her backyard. She was definitely a character, but a gentile southern lady.

My Aunt Dolores (my father’s sister) was also considered a character. With striking red hair, a fair complexion and freckled from head to toe, she stood about 5 ft. tall. Dolores never married and was a steadfast Catholic. I remember her laughter. She had one of those throaty laughs, unique and boisterous, which deepened as she continued to laugh. More often than not, she would laugh so hard she’d get choked up. Eventually, Daddy would have to slap her on the back in order for her to catch a breath. Of course, the several toddies she’d downed beforehand might have contributed to each extra-long fit of laughter. My father and his beloved sister would tell family stories when they got together. As a child, I loved hearing them speak of the good old days. Aunt Dolores would take the lead and the floor, always illustrating her point with broad hand gestures, and a pantomime or two, often with a hint of naughtiness. My Aunt Dolores was one fun lady!

Here a few of the definitions of the word character used as a noun and described in the Collins Dictionary (American English version):

  1. A distinct trait quality or attribute, characteristic
  2. Essential quality, nature, kind, or sort
  3. The pattern of behavior or personality found in an individual or group; moral constitution
  4. Moral strength, self-discipline, or fortitude
  5. Reputation or Good reputation
  6. Informal definition – such as an odd, eccentric, or noteworthy person
  7. The role portrayed in a play, book, or movie.

Let me introduce you to my protagonist or main character, Jessy Blanchard Tate in Relative Consequences. She’s definitely a character in every sense of the word. You first meet her in 2004, a retired schoolteacher living in North Atlanta with her husband Phillip. Attractive and looking young for her age, she stands about 5 ft. 1 in. tall with dark brown straight shoulder-length hair (almost black, courtesy of her hairdresser). As I wrote about her, I pictured her to be a shorter version of the actor, Anne Archer. (FYI. She played in her most recent movie in 2017 – Trafficked. I always liked her as Jack Ryan’s wife, Cathy in Clear and Present Danger (1994).

Being somewhat of a perfectionist, Jessy Tate always dresses well, never leaves the house without makeup, and prides herself in the appearance of her home. She loves to ride her horse, Nutmeg, and has a passion for creating jewelry out of seashells. Jessy has a few good friends but at the time you meet her, she maintains a social life that revolves around her husband and his colleagues, their church and neighborhood. She has a daughter, Gretchen and a granddaughter, Mimi.

Relative Consequences begins on October 24, 2004, the day Jessy buries her husband, Phillip. As the first chapter unfolds, you witness her emotional struggle at the reception. With the help of lots of wine and a satirical sense of humor, she seems to take everything in stride. Inside, she’s spinning, her coping skills eventually letting her down. She allows conflicting feelings of grief and guilt to consume her. Jessy, as a character, is a mess.

I know I created Jessy, but I have to admit…I like her. She’s a good person, extremely personable, a bit outspoken, but kind. Like a lot of folks we all know, she keeps a secret side. She’s definitely flawed and lets her emotions get the better of her.

Jessy loves her husband; although during the story, there are times you might think otherwise. Every now and then, her ambivalence illustrates hint at problems within their long-term marriage. However, when Phillip dies, Jessy is heartbroken and must deal with her problems all alone. Anxiety and old nightmares resurface causing her to search for truth among her memories. Once she decides to dig into the past to find answers to the questions that haunt her, the quest becomes an obsession.

See you next time when we will venture back into the 1956, when little towns kept big secrets. By that time, I hope to have a timeline for the book launch!

Thanks for stopping by…

Jody

Bonita Bonita!!

Wow, September is almost over.

I hope you are healthy and safe during this second wave of this annoying and seemingly redundant virus. I’m good to go. I wear my mask when necessary and, like my sweet dog, Bella, I’ve had my shots.

So, my novel, RELATIVE CONSEQUENCES (RC), categorized as historical fiction or southern mystery fiction, has gone to the publisher. I’m so excited and scared to death. It’s like really putting yourself out there. No more hiding and waiting. I sent the publisher my manuscript, a concept drawing for the front cover, a picture and a headshot to put on the back cover, and a few relevant pictures to put inside at the beginning of the Part Two.

RELATIVE CONSEQUENCES takes place in several locations:  (1) Atlanta, Georgia; (2) Bonita Springs, Florida; (3) surrounding areas of Washington, D.C., and (4) Beaufort, South Carolina. The characters visit Atlanta and Bonita Springs more than any of the other spots.

Today, I’d like tell you a little about Bonita Springs, Florida. It is a beautiful town, which is only twenty minutes from the beach. Yes, I did live there for a brief two years when I was a small child. In a previous blog, I mentioned that while doing research several years ago (2016) for my book, I took a trip down to southern Florida. The day I met Martha Simons, the dear lady who helped me regain my bearings at the Historic Liles Hotel, was a lucky day indeed. She sketched a map of “old Bonita” for me. I took that image and expanded it, creating a more detailed hand-drawn map of what it was like back in the 1950s. I placed it on the back of the Part Two divider page. I hope that anyone who reads RC will be able to visualize scenes from time past. Check it out!

“1950s Bonita Springs”

In Part Two of my soon-to-be-published novel, the main characters frequent several prominent destinations shown on the map. One in particular is Aunt Prissy’s Kitchen, the diner where they serve the best biscuits in town. That roadside restaurant resembles the diner my father owned and operated when I was a child. Below is a description of how Jessy, the protagonist, sees Aunt Prissy’s dining room.

“When Jessy shoved saloon-style doors into the heart of Aunt Prissy’s Kitchen, a rush of cool air from a window unit stroked her cheek. A soda fountain counter and eight red-vinyl topped stools occupied half the diner’s service area, with matching booths and chrome-edged Formica tables inhabiting the rest. Top-forty tunes played from a jukebox in the far corner.”

Another cited point on the above map, the Everglades Wonder Gardens, a popular tourist attraction, is another major location in the story. The attraction has been in operation since 1936. Take a look at their website at www.wondergardens.org.

A lot has changed in Bonita Springs since the fifties (the years reflected in Part Two), but some things never change—they just grow larger. For instance, there’s the Bonita Banyan tree. The huge tree stands at the corner of Old Hwy 41 (Tamiami Trail) and Childers Street and across the street from what is now the Riverside Park Band Shell (the baseball field in my memory). This tree plays a significant role in the story. According to the Bonita Springs Historical Society (www.bonitaspringshistoricalsociety.org), the ginormous thriving and now-protected growth has been around since 1921. I remember the relic standing in front of The Pavilion (see the map) where the city held events and gatherings. They tore the Pavilion down later, replacing it with the Community Center.

If you’re ever down that way, visiting the beautiful Gulf of Mexico beaches in South Florida, drive down Old Hwy 41 and make a stop in Bonita Springs. Drive across the bridge that spans the width of the Imperial River, check out that tree down the block, and check out the shops and restaurants that keep the town thriving today.

Next time, we’ll talk a bit more about a few of the other characters in Relative Consequences.

If you enjoy reading this blog, please FOLLOW ME.

Thanks,

Jody

SIMMERED FOR FLAVOR

Thanks for sticking with me through this long, hot summer. In June, I underwent a hip replacement, which put me out of commission for a while. I’m doing well and back on track with the publication of my book, RELATIVE CONSEQUENCES.

Now that I’m ambulatory, as they say, I’m actually cooking again. My poor husband has had to carry the load for quite some time, and we’re actually making meals a joint effort.

During last year’s stay-at-home year, Mike purchased an Instant Pot, which has a slow cooker setting. Many a time, we’ve made roasts, both beef and pork, stews, etc. with that setting, and for some reason, it would always take a lot longer than expected. In addition, I wasn’t always satisfied with the results.

I decided I wanted an original Crock-Pot like the one I used to own—the old one breaking down a few years ago. Remedy – I bought one on Amazon. I can pop in a chuck roast and expect it to turn out according to plan. Now, some people might like the other kind of cooker, but it’s just not for me.

Dishes cooked in a Crock-Pot must simmer for a long time. I compare the birthing of my novel, Relative Consequences, to a long-simmering recipe that cooked for at least FIVE YEARS as I added flavor, a pinch at a time.

The story of Jessy Tate simmered in my mind for a few years before I began to type it on my laptop. I changed it, molded and shaped it, reversed this or that, and tore it up and started over more times than I can count before I could say, “It’s done.”

A little about Jessy

We first see Jessy Tate, the fictional protagonist of the book, living in Atlanta in 2005. A retired schoolteacher, she is married to a successful corporate attorney, Phillip. She has a grown daughter, Gretchen, and a college-age granddaughter, Mimi. To this day, she keeps up via letters and emails with Rita Rhodes, an old friend from childhood who lives in D.C. However, Jessy has only seen Rita twice in the last fifty years.

Jessy Tate is a creative and artistic person who loves to ride her horse and enjoy a glass of wine now and then. She seems a bit introverted, and remains persnickety about her home and her appearance. She’s kind and generous to a fault, but keeps her distance, not involving herself too much in church or neighborhood functions.

Jessy keeps secrets—like the crush, she has on her psychiatrist. Her unconscious harbors a different kind of secret, an unintentional one from the past, one that if known, could shake up Jessy’s world.

Jessy Tate would be content to go along with her life as planned if she could cope with her mysterious nightmares. However, plans change.

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I’m on the home stretch and it won’t be long now. Shooting for a release date before the holidays!

Thanks for stopping by.

Jody

“March”-ing Back in Time

palm-tree-1391573Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thanks for being patient with my return to blogging. It’s been an interesting Spring and now Summer. My husband and I sold our house and moved AGAIN!!! While final edits (as in professional) are being made to RELATIVE CONSEQUENCES, my upcoming book, I decided to go ahead and have hip replacement surgery. Due to a major fracture I had 13 years ago, the surgery was imminent. So, I’m recovering nicely, and the new house is great though I haven’t been able to do much to help my sweet husband. Now I’m ready to get back to reality, so to speak.

By going forward, today I’m going backward. Back to March of 2016. The following RE-POST will be self explanatory, but I believe necessary, as my book is close to being published. Thanks for your patience.

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Happy Pre-Spring!

I’ve been working on my new book, lovingly referred to at this time as Book 2, which takes place in the South, of course. Part of the story centers on South Florida’s Gulf side where I was fortunate enough to live for several years as a child. Research on this book, while conjuring up old memories, has led me to appreciate two glaring truths—things really do happen for a reason and good people, in this case, women, are not hard to find.

In November, my husband and I flew Delta into Fort Myer’s to see a dear sick friend, to make time for a little relaxation and to visit Bonita Springs, Florida, now a full-fledged resort town, the outskirts resembling nothing like what I remembered so long ago. Traveling south on I-75, Mike and I veered off onto Old Highway 41. Once into the small downtown area, a detour sign and barricade blocked our attempt to cross over the Imperial River. Despite Lee County’s roadwork, we found Historic Bonita Springs to be intact as it snoozed comfortably on “The Tamiami Trail.”

After parking the car, we strolled across the road to the Historic Liles Hotel, still a working establishment and the site of the Bonita Springs Historical Society. A nice man at the front desk offered his assistance satisfying my initial curiosity. However, since the business offices remained closed at the time, most of my questions were unanswered. Thinking I would simply tour the city on foot and gather random information along the way, I was set to leave.

In walks Martha Simons who had lived in Bonita Springs her entire life. She and I th3ZIF2WEFintroduced ourselves and immediately fell into a conversation about my research and quest for a dated map of the city. After discussing where I could find such a relic, the friendly woman shocked me by offering to draw a map for me . As she sketched each landmark, the image of 1950s Bonita Springs emerged from a blank piece of paper. Childhood memories flooded back with each stroke of her pen—churches, stores, restaurants where they used to be. A few still stood erect, unyielding like the old trees that hover the stucco homes a block from the highway. Martha brought it all back to me. It was more than I had hoped for.

I thanked her and we promised to keep in touch. After my husband and I left the hotel, he guided our car through the parking lot and turned onto a side street. Spotting Martha waving her hands to flag us down  with a woman by her side, Mike stopped the car and I climbed out.

“Jody, this lady remembers you. This is Peggy Gunther,” said Martha.

At first, the name didn’t ring any bells, but when she mentioned her maiden name was Pope, I recalled the little girl whose family lived in a house behind my apartment. She and I had played together through a school year and a hot summer. Her appearance was icing on my cake!

That visit provided me the catalyst to create the scenario whirling around in my head. My imagination is now on overdrive. A good chunk of the story I’m writing will center on Bonita Springs back in the day when people were learning about change and freedom. Other sections of the book will concentrate on the present day or close to it—where people continue to learn about change and freedom.

I was supposed to meet Martha Simons and Peggy Pope Gunther that day. Things definitely happened for a reason. More importantly, those two women, whom I hope to get to know even better in the future, were kind and thoughtful to help me, a strange (I use the term loosely) woman who descended upon them one sunny afternoon in November.

Thank you, Martha and Peggy, and by the way, I’ve thought of a few more questions . . . .

Jody

My Apologies to Barbra!

April 14, 2021

How is everyone?

I hope you are well and staying safe. Trying to get through 2020 has been a challenge for everyone. I’m hopeful that as we keep moving through 2021, one month at a time, the year will improve.

We (Mike and I) are in the process of putting our house up for sale. So as I anticipate another move, I also take a few more steps toward actually publishing my book, Relative Consequences. It’s really going to happen!

Do you remember this old song? “Memories, in the defects of my brain, lost and faded and forgotten, I sing the same refrain.” You’ve never heard that version? Really? I’m sorry, Ms. Streisand.

The definition of Memory:

  1. The faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information.
  2. Something remembered from the past; a recollection.

I’ve never had a great memory. Ask my kids. Therefore, I have to make lists. However, it seems my lists are more refined and detailed than in the past. Those brain farts come with age. One of my father’s sayings when someone was about to ask him a question was “What’s on your feeble mind?” He said it with sarcasm and humor, a silly saying he picked up from his father, I’m guessing. Unfortunately, that sentence hits home just a little bit. The phrase, “Why am I standing in front of the refrigerator?” comes out of my mouth at least once a week. It’s getting scary, folks.

However, recalling memories is good for one’s “feeble mind.” I love looking at old pictures of my family. I can easily pick out most of the familiar faces of aunts, uncles, and cousins. In the past, I relied on my mom to fill in the blanks—people who passed away before my time, the old pics of relatives I never knew. The first picture you see in the upper left corner is an example. I have no idea who those people are.

I find myself getting all teary-eyed when I see pics of my kids when they were little, but that’s what Moms do. For the memories that aren’t too far back and yet blurry, I can usually depend on my daughter, the ace with the photographic memory.

I have to say I have good childhood memories though. Do you have pleasant memories from your youth? Do they bring a smile to your face? On the other hand, do they make you feel stressful or sad? I sincerely hope they give you joy not pain.

Possibly, your memory is a little cloudy where you only remember pieces of the past.

In my soon-to-be-published book entitled, Relative Consequences (RC, for short), the main character, Jessy Tate, has no memory of a specific time in her childhood when she lived in Bonita Springs, Florida—a time which should evoke innocence and wonder, not doubt and uncertainty. She not only wants to know what she can’t remember, but why.

If you couldn’t remember a chunk of time from your past, would you want to know what happened? What you missed? You hear about people who awake from comas with no memory of their life. That must be unbelievably difficult.

Image result for Free pictures of A Memory Loss. Size: 195 x 110. Source: www.warrelatedillness.va.gov

In 2007, I experienced a major fall. Walking my good friend’s dog late one night with another friend, I didn’t notice where a stretch of black pavement curved downward into a sewer drain. As a result, I took a misstep, tripped and fell—HARD. I apparently blacked out because all I remember is waking up sitting on the pavement, tasting blood and my friend’s sweet pup licking my face. I ended up with a gash in my forehead, a dislocated and fractured hip, a dislocated shoulder, and a cracked wrist. How could I have bounced from the front of my head to my butt? I’ll never know. My brain blocked out that snippet of time. It’s long gone.

Now, consider someone losing his or her memory for a year or maybe two. It might not only be frustrating, but the stress may cause mental anguish. In RC, due to a horrible event that wiped out her memory, Jessy suffers anxiety and depression. Flashes from the past appear in her nightmares and offer disturbing clues to her dilemma.

Jessy Tate wants to remember—but at what cost? The results might be complicated or even devastating. When she finally discovers what happened during that time, she decides not only to confront who was responsible, but seek justice for someone she once knew. No matter what.

See you next time.

Jody

Remotely Controlled (Re-post)

buzz 1

Since I first posted this, my sweet Buzz (pictured on the left) has gone to kitty heaven. He was such a handsome boy. Now, I need to apologize for my 3 year absence. I’m back now and raring to go and in the process of publishing my book, Relative Consequences. My next post will dig a little deeper into the book. I enjoy this re-boot.

CONTROL—everybody wants it. My husband, God love him, is a little bit of a control freak (she said nicely and with love), but in a good-hearted way. Me, I might be borderline, but hey, I know what I want and I usually want it right away. 🙂 My sweet dog, Bella, is even on that spectrum – she is maybe more of a manipulator than control freak though. But, the cat, my handsome Russian Blue, Buzz, – he’s in control. This main man pretty much runs the show.

There’s all kinds of control—birth, appetite, acne, pest, gun, and self, to name a few. But the word “control,” well, sometimes that can get sticky. We all know that when control becomes forceful it can become a dangerous thing. That’s another subject for another blog.

Speaking for myself, the older I get, I strive to lesson control or at least try to stop hurricaneworrying that I’ve already lost it in so many aspects of my life. I’ve accepted that there are way too many things of which I have absolutely no control. Let’s see – hurricanes, storm surges, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, summers that are too hot, winters that are too cold, oh and did I say, hurricanes?

So if I pretend I’ve got a nice, shiny, new black remote control for life in general, what would I put on those all important buttons? Mine would have to a multi-colored buttons. A red one for peaceful solutions to our country’s problems; another one for the world. Green for patience. Blue for empathy. The purple one would make me do the right thing even if I hesitate or have doubts. A yellow one would cure diseases that take away our loved ones too soon. The extensive list would make my remote control too heavy to carry, and it certainly wouldn’t fit on my coffee table.

How about you? What buttons would be on yours?

remote controlToday, my own personal remote is not so complicated.

  1. I’d push TOOLS. It would immediately heal my post-surgery shoulder. It’s taking way too long, and I have things to do, hair to blow dry myself, tall shelves to reach, books to write, etc.
  2. Next, the button that says CANCEL would convince my husband to retire (that’s wishful thinking).
  3. The ENTER button would allow me to complete this post today. (I think I can handle that one.)
  4. And, lastly, I’d press PLAY so I could eat a hot fudge sundae with real vanilla ice cream, and a warm and gooey chocolate brownie. Okay, I went way off track here a little. I can’t even get that luscious dessert near my mouth for I’m Dairy, Gluten and a whole lot of other Free’s.

I do consider myself a strong woman. I try not to dwell on regrets of the past anymore, but I love to wallow in the bliss of the todays that I’m given, and I pray and hope for lots more tomorrows. So if you’re anything like me, you sit back and sometimes (I said sometimes) hand over the imaginary remote control. You might do it with a smirk, a whimper or a frown, but you do it anyway. What does that girl say in the song from the movie, Frozen? “Let it go . . . .”

In my newest novel, two women friends think their lives are set until one of them opens a old can of worms forcing life to spin out of control for both women. There’s that CONTROL word again.

In October, we’ll see what’s on the horizon for Guest Blogger, Author, Linda Joyce.

Thanks for stopping by,

Jody

With a Dash of Humor

Yes, I write about strong women. Women who have come out of life’s tornadoes bent but not broken, women who may have started slow but come out ahead in the end, women who bite off more than they can chew then take one more morsel. These are the women I admire. Most of them, I believe, have maintained a positivity about them through thick and thin in spite of what life has dealt them.

laughterAs we all know what Proverbs says—“A merry heart doeth good like medicine . . . .” I, myself, am a great believer in nurturing a sense of humor and the notable art and enduring gift of laughter, in general. I’m blessed to have adult children, a husband, a dog and a cat who keep me giggling along with grandkids who constantly make me smile.

I have to add that I’m also pretty good at laughing at myself. I do believe it comes naturally. As I get older, I crack myself up on a daily basis due to mild forgetfulness, a clumsy misstep or my ever-constant companion, sarcasm with a capital S.Marilyn pic4

My guest blogger is someone who knows a lot about humor for she has the ability to flavor her writing with it. Marilyn Simon Rothstein is the author of Lift and Separate, winner of the Star Award presented by the Women’s Fiction Writers Association for Outstanding Debut Novel. Husbands and Other Sharp Objects is her second novel.

Marilyn grew up in New York City, earned a degree in journalism from New York University, began her writing career at Seventeen Magazine, and owned an advertising agency for more than twenty-five years. Marilyn received an MA in Liberal Studies from Wesleyan University and an MA in Judaic Studies from the University of Connecticut. She enjoys speaking at book festivals and community events.

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An Interview with Marilyn Simon Rothstein

Can you tell us what your novels are about?

My debut novel, Lift and Separate, is the story of Marcy Hammer, a woman in her fifties whose husband, Harvey, The Bra King, leaves her for a 32DD after thirty-three years of marriage. Marcy has three grown children and has given up her career to raise her family. After the initial shock, and with the help of friends, Marcy becomes determined to lift herself up by her own lacy straps and start all over again.

Marilyn pic3Husbands and Other Sharp Objects is my new book–released in March by Lake Union Publishers. It continues Marcy’s adventure. The two books can be read independently of each other.

What is the story behind Husbands and Other Sharp Objects?

Now that Marcy Hammer is ready to get herself unhitched everyone else in her life is looking for a commitment. Her new boyfriend wants to get serious and her soon to be ex-husband is desperate to get back with her. When her headstrong daughter announces a secret engagement to Harvey’s attorney, Marcy finds herself planning her daughter’s wedding as she plans her own divorce.

Her daughter Amanda is headstrong. For example, instead of being married by a rabbi, Amanda would like to be married by her psychiatrist. When Marcy meets the shrink at the wedding, he says, “I’ve heard a lot about you”.

When Lake Union published your first book, you were 63. How has your life changed?

It has been a real time saver. Now I don’t have to waste hours each day wishing my book was published.

The truth is I’m almost as busy as I was in my thirties and forties when I raised two daughters, owned an advertising agency, and went to graduate school. Whew. I’m tired just thinking about all of that.

Why did you name the book Husbands and Other Sharp Objects?

The sharpest objects are the ones closest to us. As Marcy recreates her life, it’s her grown children and her new boyfriend and her almost ex-husband who appear to be standing in the way.

Are you married? Is your husband a sharp object?

I met my husband in an elevator and we have been married over forty years.

When Harvey leaves Marcy, they are married thirty-three years. My husband and I have had fights that lasted that long.

The truth is my husband is anything but sharp and anything but dull. We are very different people. His glass is full and I don’t have a glass. Because I write books about the bra business, I’ll describe my husband Alan as supportive and uplifting.

Have you travelled to promote your novels?

Yes! I love speaking at libraries and to community groups. Some of the places I visited last year were Atlanta, Georgia, St. Louis, Missouri, Naples, Florida, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and many places in New York. Also, I travelled a lot in New England. I live in Connecticut.

What is the message in Husbands and Other Sharp Objects?

No matter how difficult it seems and how much determination it takes, a person can change at any age.

Can you talk a bit about your favorite characters in Husbands and Other Sharp Objects?

Well, of course, I love the wit, loving nature and determination of Marcy Hammer. Of the other characters, I had a lot of fun writing the mother of Marcy’s son-in-law. Her name is Mrs. Berger, but Marcy calls her Mrs. Burglar because she steals anything that will fit in her shoulder bag–from tampons in a restroom to muffins on a buffet.

Do you spend much time on social media?

Until my first book was published, I didn’t know the difference between Facebook and face cream, but now I love social media.

I have an author page on Facebook, Marilyn Simon Rothstein Author, as well as just a personal page, Marilyn Simon Rothstein, so I hope your readers will friend me. I am on Twitter @nounsandverbs1. As for Instagram, I am @Marilynsimonrothstein.

What are the Amazon links for your books?

My Amazon links are

amzn.to/2BirM5k http://amzn.to/2EafApA 

What are you working on now? Is Marcy in your next book?

No. I’m saying goodbye to Marcy for a while to write a book about a woman who is overweight and can’t stop eating. I’ve done tremendous research on this book my entire life! But just in case I need more information, I am going for ice cream after I finish this interview.

Thank you so much, Marilyn, for taking time to be a guest on my blog.

See everyone in July.

Jody

Happy Strong Women’s Day

Now I could have said Mother’s Day, but just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’m been overwhelmed with the need to talk about some of the strong women I know. Sure, there have been famous ones blogged about by me and other authors like political figures, astronauts, doctors, presidential wives, even a celebrity or two, but today I prefer to recognize those unknown to the media.

Lola and meFirst on my list, my mother. Yes, my that’s Mama and me. I don’t speak of her a lot; she was what one might call an “interesting” woman. To this day, my sister and brother and I have a hard time explaining her sometimes unique behavior (another story awaits). If you’re as ancient as I am, you know the song, “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.” That was my mother’s theme song. She was creative but strong willed, a good wife and I suppose she was never wrong (or at least that’s what she told me). She never drove a car yet when I was a child, she walked blocks to volunteer at a nearby children’s hospital. She loved to write and concentrated on poetry. Liked to be the center of attention but wasn’t particularly social. An enigma, she passed away over twenty years ago and still remains somewhat of a mystery to me for she never talked about her childhood.

Lola was born in Montgomery, Alabama and living in Mobile when she met my father. A beautiful woman, she married at eighteen and a year later lost her first baby. She went on to have two healthy pregnancies, but losing two more babies before I came along. She wore the sorrow of the loss behind her eyes until the day she died. She lived through the Depression, my father’s failed attempts at business, and moving around a lot. She turned to alcohol late in life,  as a last resort to ease the pain from extensive osteoporosis. She was the first strong woman  I remember.

My daughter and daughter-in-law are next—two strong women who took different paths.

My daughter, Jennifer, chose to be a high-school English teacher. To my mind, one of the hardest jobs on the planet. And she’s not mediocre in this effort, she’s excellent. Ask her students. I admire her and am proud of her choices as a wife and a professional woman whose work ethic is beyond reproach. Her strength lies in her convictions while keeping family at the top of a demanding priority list.

My daughter-in-law, Kathie, is a busy, stay-at-home mom blessed with six children (ranging in age from 7 to 21) including one adopted from Guatemala and one from China. She carried her third child for close to nine months before finding out only he had already died. A wonderful wife to my son, her strength comes from within through her faith and having lost her own mother to Cancer.

There are others in my extended family and there are countless friends, fine women who have proven over and over again what it means to have a quiet strength of resolve in their everyday lives. None of them will make the headlines or rock any big boats, but each one has a story.

To name a few . . . Susie, Patty, Leslie, Shannon, Robin, Jane, Nancy, Patsy, Barbara, Diane, Cathy, Dixie, Kim, Gayle, Jenny, Julie, Willa, Dolores, Shelly, Lisa, Stephanie, Jan, Debra, and another Nancy. Plus many more.

How many strong women do you know? Think about it and you will be surprised. Each one has a strongwoman3different kind of strength and they’ve acquired it through life’s upheaval, sorrow, hardship, and often survival. These are women who seek out the joy, the calm, and the compassion rather than dwell on the negative and who are laying the groundwork for the future. If there’s a problem, they tackle it, face it, and most of the time find a solution or die fighting. In a time when brave women are speaking out about abuse, voicing their opinions, turning ripples into tsunamis, I have great hope that the women of the future will have even more strength to represent our amazing gender.

Remember, never underestimate a strong woman.

Next month – guest author post by Marilyn Simon Rothstein.

Thanks for stopping by,

Jody

 

Edit, Polish, Fix, REPEAT

 

snowI hope everyone had a wonderful and warm holiday season, and you have thawed out.

As you can see, we’ve had our share of cold already. So we are welcoming a little warming spell right now. But we’re not easily fooled down here. We know winter will return, but maybe not as harsh as a week or so ago.

Did anyone make resolutions this New Year? Not me. Since last year’s didn’t make it to fruition, I’ll just hit the REPEAT button. I’m good at that.

2017 wasn’t a terrible year. It wasn’t an outstanding year either. I’d say just an OK year, progress wise. Regarding my second novel, Relative Consequences, I’m repeating the editing process.

I would honestly love to say that I’m done with this novel, but every time I think I’m close, something happens . . . life happens . . . to stall my progress. Here it is 2018, and I am still editing.

Believe me, I know that life is short, and that time is literally running out on the amount Bellaxmasof writing I will be able to accomplish. I have so many ideas, so many stories swirling around in my little brain. But reality says, “Whoa, Nellie!” Husband, children, grandchildren, bronchitis, holidays, the dog, the cat, etc. I blame my unfinished manuscript or rather my UNPOLISHED manuscript on all of the above. Especially, the dog. There, I’ve said it.

That actually feels pretty good to blame someone or something other than myself. (I’m smirking while I type this.)

So, here I go again. REPEAT button pushed. I’ve given myself a deadline March 1, 2018.

writingbooksThere are hundreds, possibly thousands, of books, websites, and blogs giving help to writers on how to do it correctly, how to avoid mistakes, how to create better characters, better dialogue, more conflict, etc. If I read them all I’d be too busy to write. So I do it backwards. I write the book, have someone else read it, edit it, and then I read someone’s (a smarter person than me) book. REPEAT.

Went to a conference over the summer, where an agent critiqued the first 20 pages of my novel. Now this is a good thing to do. Writers receive unbiased opinions, which are either accepted or rebuffed. I have a very hard time rebuffing.

This agent, who shall forever be nameless, took her red pencil and circled every personal pronoun that I used. My first page looked like it had a skin rash.edit manu

The funny thing was a nameless editor once told me not to use character names repeatedly in a paragraph unless there was character confusion for the reader. Now you see my dilemma. I believe everyone.

REPEAT. Now, I’m almost through. One hundred pages to go. I take out a pronoun here and there, add or delete a character name. I’m using the “how does it sound to me right now” method of editing, and I think it’s going to work. I’ll let you know. I will print out the entire book and read it aloud – ONE MORE TIME, fix any mistakes. It will be March 1 by then.

Wish me luck!

Happy New Year!

Jody

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