Hi from Charmaine Gordon. I’m so pleased to be with you today talking about what else? Writing, a subject dear to readers and authors.
A bit about me: An actor for many years in NYC and other memorable venues, I performed in daytime dramas; eleven years with One Life to Live, All My Children, Another World and more, commercials, on stage and in movies. A sweet time observing how plays and movies are put together, soaking up information from director Mike Nichols when I sang Happy Birthday to Melanie Griffith in Working Girl, singing with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan and the gang during a break in When Harry Met Sally, dining with Anthony Hopkins. Yes, he said call me Tony and took me by the arm where we lunched at a private dining room with the other stars. One month gig at Mohonk Lodge upstate, NY. And then, at the end of a run of an off-Broadway play, my voice was stricken with a disorder and I was forced to bid farewell to acting. Creative juices still alive and well, I turned to writing as a new career.
Another Mature Romance… with a twist!
Grace didn’t say no to the Big Man On Campus, Scott Dwyer. And then her life changed…
Grace makes her way to a new town and with the kindness of strangers, establishes a business called The Pet Emporium where she grooms, what else? Dogs and cats.
Years later, a too-close encounter of an unpleasant kind with a skunk and Scott’s German Shepherd reunites the former lovers.
What happens in between are their stories of beginnings and endings and love lost, then found.
I read about a fifty + year old Mom in Seattle who became the surrogate for her daughter and thought about the extremes women go through for their children. Picture this, my actor’s mind said to me. And a story came to life about a young girl still in school, smart yet innocent with rigid parents unwilling to guide her. Like a woman possessed, I fleshed out the story laughing and crying until I typed The Beginning. . .Not The End.
Instead of ice and snow getting me down, I’ve written story after story. One titled No Time for Green Bananas received a 5 Star Review from the eminent LASR. Happy Dance here.
My first book with Vanilla Heart Publishing, To Be Continued, is optioned for a television movie. Another Happy Dance for this author.
Soon to be released come April is Dr. D and the Dad. Working on edits and having fun with this unusual story about a pediatrician and a foster care Dad who meet when he literally falls for her at St. Augustine Beach, FL. More to follow.
Ideas come if you listen. I’m a watcher, a listener and observer of people. I think most authors are. You might overhear a conversation in the supermarket that triggers a story. Hurry home; put perishables where they belong and forget the rest. Hurry to the computer and begin.
I love the quiet, the solitary life as my imagination brings a fictional world alive. By contrast, the instant gratification of an audience was seductive and gratifying. Strangers applause fed the tremendous amount of physical and emotional effort and made the long days and nights worthwhile. Writing and afterward wondering if anyone will read and love your babies—well, that’s the hard part. You can’t run around yelling, “Buy my books.” No. Very gross and turns readers away. So you wait and write more stories and then your name becomes known and hopefully readers say, “Have you read her latest book?” That’s Applause.
Give me a beach, palm trees swaying, hard packed sand and a comfortable lounge chair. Add to this a Hunk, six pack abs, whitest teeth on the East coast. Wait. Hold that thought. A scene from every woman’s erotic dream and I don’t write erotica. Have you noticed most book covers have the same theme? Abs, kisses, soulful glances. Check out my covers. No abs, just a good story told with humor and love and an intriguing twist.
Excerpt from She Didn’t Say No
1960. A year full of promise
I focused on studies; my goal to be a veterinarian required concentration and high grades. The library emptied most Saturday afternoons as the campus prepared for dates, parties and events that had nothing to do with me, a country girl from way upstate New York with ambition and parent’s expectations of greatness from their only child. One student, I’d seen him before, a guy called a BMOC, Big Man On Campus, glanced over from another table and grinned.
“Hey, you. I’ve seen you a bunch of times before with your cute little nose in the books. Don’t you ever come up for air?”
Me? He spoke to me? This handsome guy, captain of the swim team said my nose is cute.
Next thing I knew, he plunked books next to me and grinned again.
“Scott Dwyer.” He extended his right hand, muscles rippling through his white tee shirt.
I tentatively reached over to shake it and he pulled me closer. “Don’t be afraid. I don’t bite.”
Grasping his hand with a firm grip, I shook it. “I’m not afraid of anything. I’m Grace Meredith. Now I must finish this chapter before the library closes.”
“What’s your goal, Miss big brain. You’re young to be graduating this year. How did that happen? Did Daddy pay off someone?”
I stiffened, wanting to smack his face. “Hey, not that it’s any of your business but I’ve been an accelerated student all the way through school and I’ve earned my way to graduate by studying.”
“Hey, Grace, I’m sorry. I’m not stupid even if I am a jock. I heard you were nineteen and I had to meet you.”
He grinned. “So what’s your goal with all this,” he gestured to the heap of books on the table, “all this uh, studying?”
“I plan to be a veterinarian. How about you?”
“Law with a strong leaning toward criminal justice.”
“Like FBI or Police Academy?”
He frowned. “Not sure. It’s all so far away but maybe I’ll specialize in the K-9 Corp. See, we both care about animals. We have something in common.”
He sat back and appeared to be very pleased with himself. I liked his self confidence, something I lacked even though I’d boasted about not being afraid of anything. Right. My parents frightened me with their expectations and pressure. A buzzer sounded signaling time’s up at the library. I slammed the book shut and jumped to my feet. “Scott, how about playing hooky from studying and let’s go to the beach.”
Did I catch a surprised look on his handsome face? “I’m with you, Grace. Just so happens I have a car.”
“Oh.” I blushed. “Cool.” And we were off on a late spring afternoon in 1960 driving in a shiny yellow Volkswagen Bug.
He zoomed down the road laughing when the scarf I’d tied over my hair blew off and landed in the back. “Your hair is pretty blowing around in the wind.”
So this is what it’s like being with a guy, I thought.We went to Nyack about a half hour north of school and parked at the hiking section. “There’s a small beach a little way up over some boulders.” He gave me another half grin, grabbed a blanket from the trunk and we climbed a short way.
And suddenly Scott wrapped his arms and the blanket around us and we were all alone. Body heat warmed and overwhelmed me with a yearning I’d never experienced before.
The kiss, tentative at first, made me tingle all over. I’d never had a boyfriend before. This feeling was new to me. Too busy being the obedient daughter appeasing my parents demands on time to experiment at being a kid, a teenager. So here I am at nineteen not knowing what to do with a first kiss, for God sake.
“Well, uh hi Scott. You’re a um, good kisser.”
Laughing, he hugged me tight. “Only good? I can do better than that.” This time the kiss curled my socks and knocked me for a loop.
Gasping for breath, I yelled, “Bingo.” The wind carried my word across the river and boomeranged back for an echo. “Bingo, bing, bin.”
“Tell me one secret about yourself.”
I giggled. “I’m nineteen and I’ve never been kissed before.”
Babette, thanks for inviting me to your space today.
I’m offering an eformat copy of She Didn’t Say No to one commenter. Consider this, please, dear readers, do you recall your college or high school days when you were a virgin? In today’s world how would you discuss this with your daughter and if you have sons do you talk about the impact of casual sex and possible consequences? I look forward to hearing from you.