Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Don't Pick the Abby-Normal One

   "I'm so happy you liked it," said Clara.
   "Well, I'm just call 'em like I see 'em," I replied. "However, it does need a little editing ... to smooth out the rough edges and get it ready for prime time."
   "Oh, I know that ... I've already sent it to a freelance editor."
   I drummed my fingers on the manuscript. "You don't waste any time, do you?"
   "I don't have a lot to waste."
   "So, how do you think you'll publish it?"
   "On Kindle ... that's how your neighbor, Mr. Nesbaum, got started."
   "How do you know that?"
   "I follow him on facebook."
   "Of course. So, you think you can duplicate his success, eh?"
   "Well, I'm going to try ... I'm meeting with him for lunch tomorrow ...  to pick his brain."
   I took a sip of my coffee. "Good idea."
   Clara's face got serious. "By the way, have you talked to William lately?"
   "No, why?"
   "I stopped by his table at breakfast this morning and he sure seemed to be acting strangely."
   "What do you mean?"
   "I asked him if he wanted to join me and Mr. Nesbaum for lunch and he said no."
   "He's probably going to the casino."
   "It was the way he said it ... like he was offended by the idea."
   "Well, Uncle Billy talked me into subbing for a sick friend on his bowling team tonight ... I'll ask him what's going on."
   Clara smiled. "Oh, would you?"
  "And shoot me a Tweet after you've talked to him."
  "I'll call you."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Party On

    Uncle Billy set his beer back on the bar. "Well, whaddaya think?"
   "It's not really my sort of thing, you know." I hoisted mine for long draught.
   He waited until I finished. "I figured that, but have you even looked at it?"
   "Yeah, I looked at it."
   "It's pretty darn good."
   "You read the whole thing?"
   I had not intended to actually read Clara's manuscript, but after skimming two pages I was hooked. It was well written and very engaging. "Yep."
   Uncle Billy pushed his cap back and scratched his forehead. "Well, I'll be dipped. Whodda thought Clara could crank out a book that was any good."
   "Not me ... but remember, it's just my opinion ... and I'm not really the demographic she is going for."
   "Yeah, but you're a writer ... you know whether or not something is any good."
   "I thought mine were pretty good."
   "Sonny, you know it's all about the marketing ... and I hate to break it to you, but you kinda suck as a marketer."
   "So, you think Clara will do better?"
   "Woman's a whiz ... she be all over it."
   I took another drink.
  Uncle Billy pulled his cap back down."I got a Tweet from, your neighbor, Alma Beeler ..."
   I looked at him. "Alma Beeler?"
   "Yeah, your neighbor, remember?"
   "I know who she is."
   "Anyway, she wants to know if I can come to her holiday party."
   "That might be fun."
   "Maybe. But somehow I doubt that Clara would be happy about it."
   "Why not take her along?"
   Uncle Billy gave me a sideways glance. "Are you nuts?"
   "What's the big deal?"
   "Well, bright boy ... that would pretty much queer the deal with Alma, doncha think?"
   "So, what are you going to do?"
   "I don't know ... if I went, I'm sure Clara would find out ... "
   "How would she?"
   "Have you seen the crap that flies around Facebook?"
   "So, what if she does?"
   Uncle Billy gave me another sideways glance. "You really are naive, boy."
   I pushed my empty beer glass across the bar. "Well, I can't help you."
   Billy looked the clock on the wall above the bar. "Let's go, Sonny ... I wanna get back for the Lions game."
   "We could watch it here, Uncle."
   "I rather be in my Barcalounger, if you don't mind."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Dodge

   Cheryl was about to whip up some bodacious biscuits for breakfast last Sunday, when she discovered that she was out of baking powder. Since my time is not nearly as precious as that of our breadwinner, I was sent down the street to ask Alma Beeler if we could borrow some.
   It was a nice day, so I didn't really mind the walk, although my jaws did tighten a little when I saw the new Buick parked in Irv Nesbaum's driveway. He couldn't keep it in the garage? I shrugged it off and continued on the Beeler residence.
  Mrs. Beeler opened the door. "Well, how do, stranger."
  "Hello, Mrs. Beeler."
  She open the door. "Come on in ... and stop calling me Mrs. Beeler ... it's Alma." She has become much less formal since Mr. Beeler passed.
  I stepped inside. "Cheryl needs some baking powder ... you wouldn't happen to have any around would you?"
  "Well, of course I do."
  I followed her through the living room, past an impressive Hummel figurine collection, into the commemorative plate festooned kitchen.
  "How much does she need?"
  I admired the new William and Kate royal wedding plate."She's making biscuits ... you probably know better than I."
  She nodded and went about the business of getting the baking powder for me. "Say, I haven't seen your uncle around lately. Is he okay?"
  Although it had blown by me, Cheryl had noticed that she had taken somewhat of an interest in Uncle Billy when they were at our fourth of July party. This could be delicate. "Um, well, Uncle Billy has been ... well ... um ... busy lately."
  She handed me a small plastic container. "Busy? He hasn't said anything about that on his Facebook page. Perhaps I'll shoot him a Tweet and see what's up."
  I nodded vaguely, said, "Thanks," and turned to go.
  Alma walked me to the door. "Say, do you know a 'Clara Rickenbacker'?
  Oh, oh. "Why do you ask?"
  "Her name popped up as a mutual friend of William's."
  "Oh yeah, she lives at Back in the Day."
  "William's apartment house?"
  "That's right ... hey, thanks for the baking powder ... I'd better get this back to Cheryl taco pronto."
  I slipped out the door before Alma could respond.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Star Crossed

  "Thank you so much for taking the time to read this." Clara slid the manilla envelope across the table toward me.
  "Oh, it's no problem ...  happy to help out." I opened the envelope and pulled out the manuscript and glanced at the title, Star Crafters. "What's it about?"
  "Well, it's about a young girl, Leith, who learns that the new boy, Rex, who just moved in next door is really part of a family of aliens from the planet Xercon ... she fears for her safety until she the boy saves from a gang of bullies and she comes to find that his race is benevolent and trying to help mankind from themselves. Leith and Rex fall in love, but must part because his mission has ended and he has to return to Xercon. It really sets up the sequel."
  "Oh, really ... sounds interesting."
  Uncle Billy appeared holding a tray. "Three senior coffees." He set the tray on the table and sat down. "So, are the authors getting to know each other?"
  Clara picked up one of the coffees. "I just gave your nephew the book."
  I patted the manuscript. "So, Clara, tell me, how did you happen to get into the ... ah ... this particular genre?"
  "Well, I've always wanted to write a book, and Bill was telling me about how successful Irv Nesbaum has been with non-fiction ... "
  "He's taking off like a rocket," said Uncle Billy.
  "... but that's not really my thing," Clara continued. "I read that young adult romances and science fiction were both hot areas ... so, it seemed logical to combine the two."
  I picked up a coffee, took the lid off and blew on it ... to give me time to digest what Clara just said. "I guess that makes sense."
  "Yes. I'm sure if I package it properly it'll be successful."
  "Gee, it sounds like you've done your homework ... what do you want me to do? I mean, I'm not exactly the demographic you're looking for."
  "I know, but you're an author ... I just need a professional's reaction to the structure and pacing."
  I sat up. "You've read my books?"
  Clara blushed slightly. "Well, no ... but your Uncle told me you were published."
  Uncle Billy shrugged his shoulders and I sank back in my seat. "I'm pretty busy right now ... I'm not sure how long it'll take me to read this."
  "Oh that's okay ... I'm not in any hurry ... even if you don't get back to me until next week ..."
  Next week? I looked at the stack of pages. If I started reading it today it would take me a month at least. I leered at Uncle Billy. He shifted his gaze out the window. "I'll do what I can, Clara."