Friday, May 31, 2013

How Do I Annoy Thee?


 
When I’ve accused my husband of laying awake nights concocting new ways to annoy me, he disagrees. “I don’t have to lay awake—I irritate you without trying.”

I recently discovered how he invents all these bothersome habits of his that seem to multiply daily as he ages. He is the founder and lifetime president of the Annoyance of the Hour Club for Men.

                He never upset me when we were dating and engaged. Well, maybe once a week or so, but it was easy to overlook the wee little quirks that everyone must have. Love and passion trump those prickly frustrations hardly worth mentioning.

                Until the honeymoon. While I was sleeping, washing my hair, or glancing at the moon, he called the first meeting of the AOHC, with only himself in attendance. And he’s been devising new ways to bug me ever since.

                 How can a person make noise getting underwear out of a drawer? He’s invented a way.

                How can he always need to be in the same spot at the same moment as I, in my extra large kitchen?  He’s figured that out, too.
 
 

                Can he listen to high-pitched snippets of irritating music as he transfers cassettes to cd’s on the computer when I’m gone to work all day, and he has the house to himself? Oh, no. He must do this never-ending job when I’m home, trying to concentrate on my writing in the next room. 

                When I’m at Bible study on Friday nights, I’m sure he holds meetings of the other men who belong to his Club—all married men—and they share their secrets and new discoveries.

                “I found out that when I trim my toenails during her favorite TV show, it drives her nutso.”

                “Dude, that’s nothing. You need to trim them when her mother is visiting. Or better yet, don’t trim them at all, and then stab her with them just as she’s dropping off to sleep.”

                I can imagine the back slaps and high fives when one of them comes up with an original annoyance.

                “Hey, you guys know how we decided to start mumbling to ourselves all over the house? I discovered this week that humming the same tune hundreds of times in one day works much better. They can ignore the mumbling after awhile, but the humming makes them crazy. Especially if there’s no definable rhythm or melody. Just make something up with the same six notes over and over.” They then practice for each other, perfecting their hums until they reach the perfect pinnacle of irksomeness.
 
 

                Next on the agenda comes smacking, slurping and spilling of the noisiest snacks and drinks they could find, and closing their eyes to the leftover mess.

                They end the meeting with a secret oath to work harder at grating on their wives’ nerves, proselytize every new husband they meet, and teach their sons from infancy how to develop exasperating habits.



                I thought of starting my own club for women, so we could retaliate. But after two minutes of consideration, I realized none of us would live long enough to catch up, let alone even the score. I’m forced to concede: as creative as we are, we women cannot hold a—drippy—candle to the ways men find to annoy.   

 
 
Since beginning her writing career, Jeanette Levellie has published hundreds of articles, columns, stories, greeting card verses, and poems. Last year her debut book, Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top, became a bestseller on Amazon in the Christian Humor category. Find more of her mirthful musings on www.jeanettelevellie.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

FUDDY-DUDDIES UNITE--IT'S GOOD FOR YOU

                       

                     
 
                        FUDDY-DUDDYS UNITE – IT’S GOOD FOR YOU!       
 
Are you “set in your ways?” Do you have rituals you just have to perform at certain times of the day? 
A novelist wrote of a character that “she sought the consolation of underwear.”  As for me, I find my consolation in pink flannel pajamas with hearts printed all over them..
I cherish the cozy feel of the soft fabric, but getting into them is just one of several steps in a bedtime ritual I choreograph as carefully as I used to for my children.

MY PJs.
My back exercises.
Two minutes of tooth brushing.
Popping into bed (that delicious moment). Pillow under knees, just so.
Radio tuned to my cheerful local station. 
My crossword (with a certain pencil).
My book.
No wonder going to bed leaves me totally exhausted!

                         What are the things that you just have to do in a certain way?



When you are not only quirky but quirky alone, you can act as oddly as you want (at least within the walls of your own house).   I love to talk to myself. 
When I used to goof up around the house (trip over a rug because I’m reading a book, pour the orange juice in the coffee mug) I would chide myself – “You idiot! What a klutz!”  Nowadays, I have knocked that yammering self-critic off my shoulder and  reassure myself: “That’s what I love about you — you are so funny!”   When life deals another random blow I say  “There, there, sweetheart, of course you are upset; let’s sit down and talk it over.”
Sometimes I conduct whole conversations. 
“I’m so embarrassed.”
“If I were you, I’d be embarrassed too”
“But you are me.”
I stick to rules for these things. When a snatch of song comes to my head, I have to sing it out loud, as much  as I can remember.  This works well with short ditties, like
                                Delicious
                                Nutritious
                                Makes you feel ambitious!
                                A giant of a cereal
Is Quaker Oats.

It gets stickier when it’s a ballad with lots of verses, like “The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night,” leaving me frustrated when I can’t remember it all the way to “and the little ones chewed on the bones, O!”
               
     Poet Marie Howe says that the rituals of ordinary time, like the water glass you’ve just rinsed and held up to the light, are to be cherished.  “Life is so daily,” Virginia Woolf once exclaimed.  I find myself clinging more and more to the particulars of daily life.  My pink pajamas, my bedtime quirks, my need to stand under the flowering crabapple tree to gaze and gaze, are ways of slowing things down as life streams by, faster and faster. Our fuddy duddy habits seem so solid when, after all, we are passengers on the Titantic in dire need of something to cling to as the deck tilts under our feet. 

Fuddy-duddies, unite!  Send me some of your habits.



Although she grew up in New York City, Annis Pratt makes her home in the Midwest, where she taught English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for many years.  In 1990 she threw her full professorship out the window to move to Michigan, where she is engaged in community activism and novel writing
    Passionate about the environment and an enthusiastic sailor, canoeist and kayaker, she chose a genre where she could create compelling fiction about ecological degradation.
At 75 years old, she feels like she is in the second out of her ninth inning, having published the first volume of her historical fantasy trilogy when she was 73.

Blub: The Marshlanders and Fly Out of the Darkness are the first two volumes of The Marshlanders Trilogy, historical fantasies about the conflict between self-sustaining Marshland communities and Merchant Adventurers trying to drain their lands. These are page-turners about the conflict between people who respect their environment and developers who see it as a source of income.

links www.marshlanders.com , www.marshlanders.blogspot.com, and a humorous blog:
Novels may be purchased at www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com






                                                             


Monday, May 27, 2013

FROM REAL ESTATE TO MURDER PLOTS

By Nancy Lynn Jarvis


After years as a Realtor, I’ve given up my career in favor of murder.

I never planned to kill anyone and never intended to write anything other than enticing advertising copy for my listings, but in 2008 when I was fifty-nine and the real estate market tanked, I decided to run away from the too-real world of foreclosures and short sales, take a time out, and pretend to be retired. I quickly got bored so, as a purely time-filling intellectual exercise, I began killing people, at least on paper.



The logic and careful structure of mysteries has fascinated me since the days when I sat in a wicker rocking chair at my grandmother’s house and read Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, sworn to secrecy in case my mother wouldn’t approve of a young girl reading something other than Nancy Drew.

I discovered that writing mysteries is like solving a logic puzzle — Sudoku on steroids — and if that isn’t fun enough, mystery writing gives me an excuse to delve into a world of fascinating but unsettling things like decomposition, accidental mummification, and how ligature strangulation and death by hypothermia work. 

I took my twenty-plus years of situations — that’s a polite term for all those things that happen in the world of real estate that makes agents say, “I could write a book” — and used them for background.  I created a real estate agent protagonist named Regan McHenry who is kind of like me, only younger, thinner, and more daring, and used my favorite agents, clients, and associates  as inspiration for characters.

The murders in my books are made up, but the real estate stories are real — yes, Realtors do come across bodies in the course of doing business — so a Realtor who solves mysteries isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem.



After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, Nancy worked for the San Jose Mercury News, as a librarian, and as the business manager for Shakespeare Santa Cruz at UCSC before starting a long career as a Realtor.
Nancy’s work history reflects her philosophy: people should try something radically different every few years. Writing is the latest of her adventures.


Friday, May 24, 2013

THE MUSIC GIFT


by Ed Crumley


I think all of us were born with a gift or two, but some of us do more with them than others. One of my first memories was Mom singing Frere Jacques to me as a lullaby. I loved music early on but it took me a while to figure out what to do with it.
Mom sent me to a piano teacher who plastered herself beside me on the bench and yelled in my ear, "PLAY", resulting in my hating the ordeal, fearing recitals, and never learning to sight-read the notes on the page. Years later, I taught myself to play by ear after deciding the key and which three chords I needed to play a song.
I took up the clarinet in the junior high band, but was soon jealous of the guys in the trumpet and trombone sections because brass seemed more macho and they could make more noise. I ditched band in my high school senior year to sing in the school chorus. There, four of us formed a quartet we called "The Stair Steps" and sang Blue Moon on trembling legs before a packed school assembly. The name fit our shortest-to-tallest, tenor-to-bass lineup. During those teen years, I also sang in our church youth choir which took a 12-state tour which included Washington D.C.
In college, I taught myself guitar chords and serenaded my future wife on many sojourns to the park and lake. But, after that, decades rolled by before I seriously took up music again. When I finally did by joining a church choir, I realized what I'd missed all that time while steeped in work and kid's activities. Our lady director, also a voice teacher, and maybe a marine drill instructor in another life, taught us how to sing and led us in many enjoyable and creative concerts.
The church eventually declined to a point where we had to move on and I thought that, sadly, my music days were over. But the One Who gives us our gifts always has another plan for us to use them even if we can't see down the road.
We joined a church to be close to our son and his family and, miracles never cease, found another great choir I could join. But it didn't stop there. Later, a fellow new to that choir sat down next to me at practice one night and after some conversation invited me to join his gospel music band, The Firewheel Gospel Jubilee, which played at senior centers several times per month. Since then I've been singing, playing side on harmonica, and writing songs for the group which also includes guitars, banjo, fiddle, bass, mandolin, and keyboard players.
Neglecting to use our gifts is a drag on our spirits and we can never be really fulfilled until we find and develop them. Took me almost a lifetime to realize that. But better late than never!



About the Author


Radically changing careers after receiving a BBA degree in business administration from Baylor University in 1961, Ed founded Ed Crumley/Architectural Arts in Dallas in 1969 and began a forty-three year career producing architectural illustrations and architectural models for architects, real estate developers, and corporations locally, across Texas and around the nation. Later he wrote, illustrated, and self-published a basic correspondence course on architectural illustration which he marketed through small ads in art publications.
He has also used his writing talents observing modern culture as a freelance movie critic for Preview, a publication of Movie Morality Ministries for which he has detailed the plots and both the redeeming and objectionable material in the latest motion pictures. He has also written human interest pieces for the Christian Pulse.
After attending American Christian Writer’s conferences for several years where he attended many workshops on various phases of writing, Ed completed his first novel, a suspense/thriller, The Host, a novel of life and death on the high desert and has begun a sequel which features the same core characters, adds new ones, and deals with new issues.
 The Host is available from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and Trafford Publishing.


Read an excerpt from The Host at:
www.edcrumley.com

Ed Crumley may be contacted at:
edsart@sbcglobal.net
214-232-2318


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

CREAMING




By
Linda Wood Rondeau

I pulled out my recipe for snicker doodles, an old-time favorite for the holidays. As I put in the shortening, butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla, the recipe said to blend until creamy. My mind flashed to when I first learned how to bake, back in the day when cake mixes were a novelty or used for last minute church suppers.

The kitchen was my mother’s paradise and her instructions were gospel. To deter meant banishment from the stove.
First: “Wash your hands. No good cook comes to the kitchen with dirty hands.”
Next: “Now read the recipe, and put all the ingredients on the shelf.”
Third step, to my mother the most crucial in the whole process: “cream the shortening, butter, eggs and sugars.”

I stuck in the rotary beaters, set it on high and splashed wet globs from one end of the kitchen to the other. “Done,” I said.



Mother knew better, knew I was always in a hurry to get to the end of a project. “Nope. It’s too grainy. Set the beater on low, scrape the sides frequently, fold the batter together and repeat. Let time and the ingredients do their magic.”


Reluctantly, I started again, following her directions blowing out my frustration all the while. “This takes too long.” 

“Don’t rush it,” Mother said. “Creaming is the most important step in the whole process. If you hurry the creaming, the cookies will come out crumbly and dry. Creaming is what makes them chewy and delectable. Don’t rush the creaming. It takes time but the result is worth it.”

I slowed down and watched with wonder as the goo gradually melded into a creamy, light texture, the ingredients transforming before my eyes.

As I carefully creamed for the snicker doodles, Mother’s words came back to me. I thought about our instant society, how we crave immediate results, the growing tendency to hurry through life in the fastest checkout line. In our haste we blunder through the mix of it all, leaving globs of broken dreams in the muck of our speed.


I thought how the creaming principle is true in all the rooms of our lives, not just the kitchen. We tend to rush for the pleasure without enduring the process. God has given us the recipe for a rich, textured life.

 If we take the time to cream it, not be satisfied with grainy goo or toss it aside because of its unpleasantness—if we repeatedly scrape, fold and beat for as long as it takes, the grimy gook of our shattered hopes will become that creamed foundation that awakens the flavor of our human experience.  


About Linda Wood Rondeau

A best-selling author and award-winning author,  LINDA WOOD RONDEAU writes out of the box. Her stories are told with poignancy and always splashed with humor. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. A veteran social worker, the author now resides in Jacksonville, Florida.








        

Monday, May 20, 2013

THE TALK





BY LINDA LANGE

Reprinted by permission

When my father died, it was almost a relief, because it meant we wouldn’t be having The Talk.

The talk in question has nothing to do with birds and bees.  It’s that other discussion—the one about Dad’s driving.

By the time Dad was in his seventies, he’d had cataract surgery and wore thick glasses.  Surgery to reattach his retina was only partially successful.  He’d had a collision with a truck that I ascribed to his impaired vision. When he mentioned one day that a young friend had asked him to pick up her son after school, I almost choked.

Like many children of elderly drivers, I dreaded The Talk and put it off.  I lived 500 miles from Dad, so I couldn’t become his wheels.  When he passed away in his sleep at seventy-seven, keys on the dresser and car safely stowed in the garage, grief wasn’t the only emotion I felt.

I was forty-three then; I’m sixty-five now. I don’t know when my turn is coming, but I know it will. I’ve always had faulty depth perception, and it’s getting worse as I age. And my neck doesn’t turn as far as it used to.  So far my occasional driving misjudgments have been confined to parking attempts.


A failed parking attempt

For now, I’m planning to buy a smaller, more maneuverable car. I hope I’ll know when to turn in my keys.

So I was intrigued when I picked up the April 7 Cincinnati Enquirer and read about a program called Beyond Driving with Dignity. It has been offered in Cincinnati since 2011, and it’s spreading throughout the United States and Canada.

Matt Gurwell, a retired Ohio State Highway patrolman, founded the program in Cleveland in 2008. In his twenty-four years on the force, he delivered hundreds of death notifications to families of crash victims, including older drivers.  Now CEO of Keeping Us Safe, parent company for the BDD program, Gurwell developed a curriculum, workbook, and exercises to help senior citizens assess whether they can keep driving safely.  Families can elect to work with elderly drivers on their own or engage a certified BDD professional at a cost of a few hundred dollars.



BDD workbook

I wanted to know more.  I sent for the workbook and was pleasantly surprised when it arrived with a thank-you note from Gurwell saying, “If I can be of assistance to you or your family, please let me know.”

I flipped through the workbook. I liked its guiding principle, “This project needs to be worked as a collaborative effort between family and the older driver.  It cannot be approached with an ‘us vs. him’ attitude, or as two opposing forces waiting to meet in a dark alley.”

Gurwell covers all the bases with chapters on initiating driving-related conversations, understanding an elderly driver’s fears, and assessing health issues such as vision, hearing, memory, reaction time, strength and flexibility, and medication.  There is a guide for rating the older driver’s performance and another for modifying the vehicle, if appropriate, to make it safer for him or her to drive.  Finally, there is an all-important chapter on finding workable transportation alternatives.

From what I read, I’m good to go for a few more years, at least.  But I consider this book a valuable resource.  I plan to keep it and check it periodically—before my son decides we need to have The Talk.

For more information on Beyond Driving with Dignity, visit the Keeping Us Safe website, http://www.keepingussafe.org/, or call toll-free to 877-907-8841.


Incomplete Passes, Linda’s first book, was named a finalist in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
Linda has been married since 1969 to Scott Lange, an announcer and narrator.  They have two cats and a son who is not named after “Mr. A” in Incomplete Passes.
Follow Linda Lange and Incomplete Passes on the Internet:
Incomplete Passes blog:  http://lindalange.authorsxpress.com/


Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/lindafromgb/     





Contact Linda Lange:
513-378-4730


Friday, May 17, 2013

Health Care- It's Making Me Sick!

Health Care- It's Making Me Sick!

by Kevin Parsons

I'm not whining that health care is expensive, but the other day I refinanced the house for my annual exam. And yes, my doctor drives a Mercedes, but when I saw a laboratory rat driving one, that seemed excessive. 
When you visit the doctor's, they hand you a pen and clipboard. Wow. Welcome to the 1800s. And you know you fill out the paper and hand it to the nurse, someone back there is going to take your information and sell it to Google.
And the questions, you don't know these people! 'Do you smoke? Do you drink? Do you have an irregular heartbeat?' Yes, when I see my bill.


But actually, if they need so much information from you, why don't they get it from Google? They wouldn't even have to ask the questions. "So, Mr. Parsons, we see that you engage in risky behaviors. Did you know you ran twelve yellow lights last month?"
They always check your blood pressure. Wouldn't it register lower if they checked it before you had to pay? Or before you filled out the questionnaire? I look at the list of questions and wonder if I DO have some of those maladies. Maybe you could check your blood pressure before you got there. You could pay homeless people to give blood pressure checks out on the sidewalk. Now you could shave health care costs and help somebody else out. 
And the waiting room. There must be a service that provides seven year old magazines. I read an article about how the ice man's job is in jeopardy. And who wants to sit around and wait? Maybe they could learn from the Apple Store. The doctors and nurses wander around and help you on the spot. Oops, got a visual there. Definitely not going to work. 
When they put you in the examination room, they should heat it. You put on those thin backward gowns and stick to the frozen table like a kid's tongue to a flagpole. Why don't they heat the tables and chairs? And since health care is so expensive, they should make it feel like you're getting something. That paper tablecloth you sit on, for instance. Wouldn't you feel better if it was smooth and soft, like the hide from an almost extinct animal? 
And everyone is in such a hurry. The nurse rushes in and takes your temperature. The doctor flies through and off to the next patient. Another nurse dashes in and takes all your money. 
The examination room is so sterile too, nothing on the walls except dire warnings about diseases. Why don't they show photographs of the doctor and his family on vacation at a five star hotel in Fiji? You'd get the message: "If you answered 'no' to more of the questions on the clipboard, we wouldn't be here."


 
Follow Kevin's '50 States in 50 Weeks' tour

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

MARJORIE RAWLINGS HOME


Annette Bergman

For years we have driven highway 301 in Florida and each trip I saw the sign that said Cross Creek: Home of Marjorie Rawlings.  With each trip I became more curious. This time I was determined to stop and find out for myself.
I was so grateful to be able to walk the ground of this Cracker
style home where Marjorie Rawlings had written so many novels.
Painted white with forest green shutters, the long windows was just perfect for peeping. Several round braided rugs covered the time worn natural wood floors.
The furniture seemed to be the original furnishing in the home. The screened porch had a sitting room at one end with a daybed covered with a chenille bedspread.  The other end of the porch held a round oak pedestal table. A manual type writer was situated on top of the table where the view was to the road in front of the house. The chairs were ladder back and the caning had been replaced with deer hide.  Some of the hide was bear of hair and other spots still had the deer hair on them.  This was the table and chairs that Marjorie Rawlings used to write.
The small bedroom had a crocheted bedspread on the bed. The closet still held her clothes. This was Marjories room, there again with a view of the road. A treadle Singer Sewing machine was opened, a red pin cushion and a Kerr jelly jar, with old buttons in it, were sitting next to the machine.
A second bedroom had a small pieced quilt on the bed and was very neat and sparsely furnished.
The bath room had been added later, the claw foot tub was painted pink on the underside and the floor was covered with rose colored linoleum with yellow and turquoise flowers.
There were porches on all sides of the house. Some screened and some not. The back of the house had a big wooden bench complete with wash tubs, and the boiling pot was upside down in the yard.
A peek into the summer kitchen that was separated from the house by a breeze way, held a wooden ironing board with a pop bottle sprinkler top on it.  A wooden bucket and an ice cream churn were sitting next to a wooden bench.  A homemade clothes pin bag hung on the wall. The kitchen had an old wood stove and small table, along with cooking utensils of the twenties and thirties.
The garden at the back of the summer kitchen was complete with a high fence to keep out the wild animals.
I could see how Mrs. Rawlings had found the peacefulness to write in such a setting.  I was just hoping that by some strange miracle of nature I could experience some type of osmosis, from walking where Marjorie Rawlings had walked and lived, would give me some talent, or just a fractions of the talent, that this Pulitzer Prize winner possessed.
I went there thinking The Yearling, was her first and only novel.  It was her third book.   She cranked out six more books after that and then three others were published after her death in 1953 at the age of 57. Three of her novels were made into movies. Yet, she chose to never leave her home on the edge of Orange Lake where she had lived in her inspirations to write.

Annette Bergman
Author of:
Things That Make Me Nuts
and Return To Tybee
Web site: www.annettebergman.com
http://annettebergman.blogspot.com/2012/...




Monday, May 13, 2013

THE PURPLE ELEPHANT


The Purple Elephant
By Dr. Jeri Fink

They think I’m crazy.
I can name every resident and their address in New Amsterdam, 1660 – but only a few of my present
neighbors.

I can tell you what foods came from Dutch New York – but can’t eat any of them because of my geezer diet.
I can describe exactly what Peter Stuyvesant wore in 1664 – but can’t remember what I wore yesterday.

It’s hard enough being a geezer. It’s worse if you’re a geezer author.

I’m presently completing my fourth book in a series of six historical novels. You guessed it – the book is located in New Amsterdam, 1660. When my friends discuss the best shows on Broadway, I tell them it was originally a dirt path filled with wood houses, roaming pigs, drunks, and hookers. It doesn’t impress them. When they want a glass of wine, I offer tankards of ale or brandywein and inform them that the New Amsterdam children were given watered-down beer because the drinking water wasn’t safe.


Now my kids are afraid I might put something . . . unusual . . . in my grandsons’ Sippy cups.


What’s a geezer-author to do? I have to prove myself as a robust, red-blooded American grandparent. Does playing competitive soccer with a one-year old count? Or discussing the purple elephant that lives in my grandsons’ backyard? How about “stealing” noses and “eating” little feet? (toes are very tasty).

Everyone around me is too literal – not literary. I need a best-seller to be validated but that isn’t happening any sooner than the purple elephant is leaving the backyard. I have to be realistic. No more elephant. No more baby soccer. Perhaps I should buy a Makey Makey – a real device that lets you control your computer with bananas or silly putty? Maybe I should visit with an amazing stacking Gadzooks “big bad wolf” toy?


I trained my 100-pound dog to “read” by barking when I hold up a
sign that says “talk.” The four-year old was impressed. His brother, a worldly 6-year old, now demands that my dog read an entire book. Even worse, he’s insisting that the dog read my book. You know - the one with his name in the acknowledgments.
BTW how long does it take to teach a child that “nana is a bit crazy” and he shouldn’t believe everything I say? Especially when he’s still trying to figure out how I can be nana and an author.


I think I have the same problem.


I confess. Young or old, life is boring when the purple elephant doesn’t live in the backyard and dogs can’t read books. The New Amsterdam neighbors are much more interesting than the people next door who talk about taxes and termites. And if I can’t eat Dutch panicakes, I’ll try (or make) the sugar-free version. An author’s life is rich with reality and imagination. We’re very
fortunate.


Except for the fact that they all still think I’m crazy.


Dr. Jeri Fink is a proud geezer and the author of hundreds of articles and nineteen published books. Trees Cry For Rain, her latest book, is a gripping historical novel where the past crashes ruthlessly into the present. It can be purchased at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.


Her new series, Broken, consists of six separate novels that follow dramatic, related paths through genealogical time, from the Spanish Inquisition to the present. Each novel focuses on a psychopath who lived in the era. The Broken series will be introduced in fall, 2013 in the new genre of Baby Boomer Thrillers.

Visit Jeri at her website www.drjerifink.com or email her at drjeri@drjerifink.com




Friday, May 10, 2013

RIDING THE ROLLERCOASTER





by Larry Constantine

I’m not a boomer—too old—and I do not write boomer lit. I write intrigue and action-filled page-turners. True, some of my recurring characters are almost as old as I am, and in The Rosen Singularity, a work that walks a wobbly line between literary fiction and thriller, some of the players are much older than any human being has a right to be. (To fully understand that throwaway line, you will just have to read the book.) 

If you pick up any of my novels, make sure your pacemaker is functioning, because my readers are taken on a figurative rollercoaster and may even end up shouting at the pages.
Besides giving readers an amusement park ride, I write to get people thinking.

 Among my interests is the part that age and age differences plays in love and friendship. One of the central characters in my first novel, Bashert, is Karl Lustig, who emerges as a protagonist for the entire Homeland Connection series. Karl starts out as a settled and self-sufficient older bachelor who gets manipulated by a manufactured mystery into a connection with a significantly younger woman, the widow of a college chum. Their relationship evolves over four novels, reaching a point where Shira has to step in and take the strong, decisive lead in looking after an incapacitated Karl.

The screenplay that has been written for Bashert and is now being floated under the working title, “Destined,” highlights the dilemma my story creates. The screenwriter rejected the core bit of subtext and made Karl much younger and a contemporary of Shira. This basement-level renovation not only compressed the time span of the novel, simplifying filming, but would make the couple ever so much easier for the movie-going public to identify with. So the argument goes.

There is still plenty of action and suspense in the script, but the age issue and the dynamics it introduces have been rubbed out. The opening scene of the screenplay is straight out of my prologue—I tend to write quite cinematic fiction—and most of the dialogue is taken almost verbatim from the book, which pleases me no end, since reading dialogue aloud and revising repeatedly are important parts of my writing process.

All in all, the screenplay is very good, and a savvy studio would be smart to option it before some competitor gets to film the first Lior Samson blockbuster. But it is a very different tale than the one I told. That in itself is to be expected; feature films and novels are profoundly different art forms. My disappointment—which I expect may vanish the moment I step onto the red carpet at the world premiere of the movie—is that one of the important pieces of what the story and series is about—age—has been lost. If the first film is a success and the other novels become onscreen sequels, the heroes will have to continue as an ordinary, middle-age couple stumbling onto and defeating terrorist plots. Heck, it could even be the basis of a television series. I can see it all now.


There are, of course, plenty of “older” protagonists in movies, television, and fiction in general, and aging has been at or near the heart of a number of Hollywood hits—“Driving Miss Daisy” and “The Notebook” spring to mind—but I was trying for something different. I wanted age and age difference to be important but incidental, as in real life, where we are not defined by our ages or the differences in or ages, but where these are nevertheless unavoidable subtexts in the narrative of our lives.

Bio
Larry Constantine is a designer and university professor who writes fiction under the pen name Lior Samson. His most recent novel, Chipset, is the sweeping conclusion to the four-volume Homeland Connection series of techno-thrillers. He teaches at the University of Madeira, Portugal, where much of the action in Chipset is set. He is working on his sixth novel, his first murder mystery, which also explores the role of age in human relationships. He is known among family and friends as an inspired chef, resonant baritone, and sometime composer of choral music.