I don’t know. This may be worth a try at my next party…

Hey, hey, hey! I’m part of this new dance called the Blog Hop Challenge. It sounds both supercalafragalistic fun (due to the “hop” part) and killer tight-shoesies-doozies (due to the “challenge” part). But I never let either fun or challenges get in my way when it comes to saying, “Sure, heck yeah! I’ll do it!” I’m just that kind of a girl.

So thanks, Paige, for naming me as one of the five authors you picked in this “Next Big Thing” Challenge Blog Hop. Paige Addams has been blogging here at WP since March of this year and is contributing writer on DarkJade’s blog, Legend’s Undying. She currently working on her “Next Big Thing,” The Blood Curse, her first fantasy novel in what will be a trilogy. Check out her description of her project. (Rule 1, thank the blogger who named me, done.)

Pretty little badge of honor, huh?

Rule 2 has to do with hopping the challenge over to five (5) other blogger writers. Hmmm. People who have projects they are working on and/or want others to know about. Hmmm. I found seven. I guess that Bunny Hop got to me.

  1. Peter from Counting Ducks (Wouldn’t a collection of his thoughtful essays be grand? Or maybe a novel based on a man who writes thoughtful essays…)
  2. Arthur from Pouring My Art Out (A humorous sci-fi novel, anyone? I think it’s time for some cosmic comedy, don’t you?)
  3. Pam from Hawleyville (She’s been diligently working on her novel for quite some time and it’s nearly ready for prime-time, just like mine.)
  4. Patrick from Simple Observations (His hilarious romp through mundane aspects of life, make us see things in a whole new and delightful way.)
  5. Vanessa from Vanessa-Jane Chapman’s Blog (Leave it to Vanessa to give a us light-hearted but practical glimpse into surviving parenting. Where was this book when I needed it?)
  6. Victoria from Victoria Sotto (She has a website for her published book and is currently editing her second novel. She also writes enchanting poetry on her blog Live 2 Write 2 Day.)
  7. Gerry at Gerry’s Space (He’s been busy this month with NANOWRIMO, completing a love story. Maybe we’ll hear about it?)
  8. Dawne at Dawne Webber’s Blog (Her book is about a couple’s fight to save their marriage after they both made some mondo bad in-the-heat-of-the-moment decisions that make “I’m sorry” a little hard to accept.)

No more slacking, People! The Next Big Thing Blog Hop Challenge has come your way.

The only other rule is to answer these burning questions you all should want to know about my book.

What is the title of the book? Since I’m a sociologist, you know it has to be long and include a subtitle. I simply cannot abrogate the tenets of my profession. Here is a mock-up of my book cover.

Yes, I know it needs some work–like my name on the cover. But I’ll leave that up to the professionals. I provided the picture and title. Isn’t that enough?

Where did the idea come from for the book? Short answer: my life. Longer answer: When I got sick with the Dizzy Blondeness (the neurological manifestation of Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome) back in 2001, I needed something to remind me of happier, normal times. So I started to write funny stories about zany things that happened to me before I got sick. After a while I had quite a pile of stories and thought that maybe I could do something with them. Being psychic, I always knew I “had a book in me.” I didn’t know it would be this one. I thought it would be about horrible male bosses I encountered throughout my career and it would be called Little Men, Big Problems. I still might write that book…

What genre does your book fall under? This book is a memoir, not to be confused with an autobiography (which would be really boring because I’m neither famous nor infamous or a car worthy of carrying on about). A memoir is a journey that allows the writer to reflect on some aspect of her or his life for a specific purpose (other than just to say “Hey, read about me!”–that’s what blogs are for). A memoir can cover only a defined episode in life (an illness, alcoholism, divorce, death of a parent) and how it was navigated or its consequences and lessons. Or the memoir can cover most of one’s life (like mine does) but is told with a very specific theme woven throughout the book. It is not a history lesson about the writer. It’s told so that lessons from the writer’s reflections might be passed on to the reader. The best memoirs make readers think about their lives.

Which actors/actresses would you choose to play your main characters in a movie? Getting a bit ahead of ourselves, aren’t we? This is tough because I have young and old versions of me and some other main characters. Plus, I’m not up on who’s hot in Hollywood unless they were born before 1960. But I’ll give this a try.

Okay, an admittedly odd pick for me as a little girl, but bear with me. He’s a versatile actor and has the innocent-but-clever thing that I had as a kid. Just put a blonde wig on him, some blue contacts, and make him wear tee-shirts and shorts, and he’s my girl.

Yup, that’s me, only she famous, skinny, rich and seems to have her shizzle together more than I do. But maybe that’s because she’s a great actress. Then again, so am I.

And playing the role of Victor, my ex-husband, would be Colin Firth. He must wear glasses and have salt and pepper graying hair–more salt than pepper. He’ll have to put on a bit of a belly for the role. That he is pictured here admiring fine art is perfect. Victor liked to collect nice things, but then lost interest in them after about 26 years.

Only one actor could play my Philip.  And I would have to be on set EVERY day to supervise.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I started writing the stories in 2001. I started putting them together in 2006. I decided on the theme and structure, pilot testing the bones of the book on my blog in August, 2011. I took a break from my blog for about 3 months and pulled a manuscript together this past spring. So you tell me…how long did it take?

What other book would you compare your book to within your genre? Gosh, there are so many–most I haven’t read, but want to. I know that A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel really inspired me as did I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed: Tales of Growing up as a Jehova’s Witness by Kyria Abrahams. The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club by Laurie Notario, too. All are laugh-out-loud, but touching stories about little (or not so little) girls trying to figure out how to navigate some pretty challenging circumstances. They showed me that your life events shape you but don’t need to define you and that, as a writer, you can tackle difficult subjects with grace and humor. Both are Indie books and you probably haven’t heard of them. That doesn’t bode well for me, but becoming a millionaire was my ex’s dream, not mine.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? I spent most of my life wanting to make a positive difference in the lives of people. When I had to retire from the job I loved–college professing (there are enough dizzy professors, right?), I knew I had to do something to reach out and hopefully touch people. I wanted to turn what happened to me into something that could perhaps help others cope more productively with their life challenges, even if they weren’t the same as mine. Even if all I could offer people was a few chuckles to brighten their day.

What else about the book might piqué the reader’s interest? How about a teaser? Some may think that this book will only appeal to divorced, quirky women. Stop that snarky thought in its tracks, Mister!

My only market demographic? I think not!

My book has broader appeal. Ask yourself, have you:

  • struggled with addiction?
  • felt like you got short-changed during your childhood ?
  • looked at your life and seen a series, um, unfortunate choices?
  • wondered if you would have made the same choices if you knew then what you know now?
  • struggled with relationship issues (with yourself or with others)?
  • been curious about how other people face their fears?
  • wished you could laugh more or lighten up a little?

Well then, this book is for you!

The following excerpt is from the very beginning of the book. The beginning is always a good place to start, don’t you think?

*****

Note to Readers

(Or anyone who refuses to read this book

but wants to know what I said about you)

Extraordinary events happen to ordinary people every day. I have examined my life and tallied up the number of remarkable events that pushed and pulled me (an ordinary person) to places I never expected to go. How was I supposed to know that I—a girl whose name, Lorna, as in “forlorn,” means lost—could find the security I always craved by walking blithely through a minefield of fluky experiences? If there were warning signs, I missed them.

Well, maybe I ignored them.

This is the story of my journey told from my perfectly imperfect and idiosyncratic perspective. It is based on my recollections of the facts of my life as they happened, keeping in mind that time and experience have shaped my memories. My having consumed a small pond of vodka in my early years may have affected a few of my recollections. Blacking out tends to make you forget details you wish you could recover when writing a memoir or trying to find your underwear.

I fully understand that others involved in my life would write a different account of the same events that we experienced together. Truth, like beauty or how spicy that “mild” chili was, is subjective. My memoir is as true as my recollections about the events of my life and my feelings about those events.

I name names in this book, but when I use names, I use only first names or cleverly fashioned pseudonyms to protect the privacy of those involved in my journey. If I use a real-sounding name, either I obtained permission from the very real person, or I made up a name very different from the person’s true name. Only those very close to me or those who are psychic will know the real from the phony names.

I also gave myself creative license to break up long pages of prose with snappy, witty dialogue that captures the feeling of what transpired. I cannot swear that everything—or even anything—in the dialogue you will read is a verbatim transcription of a real conversation. The essence of what transpired in the conversations is what I attempted to capture.

Everything that I am about to reveal to you happened to me in the sequence in which I present it. I omitted many events of my life, however, because they didn’t add to this particular exploration of my life. This does not mean that what I chose to exclude was not important to me; it just means that I have material for other books or that I wish to keep those memories for my heart only.

 *****

Humphrey, step on it and get me out of here before she blathers on longer than she already has. I’m exhausted by this blopus. That would be the blog equivalent of an opus, Humphrey. Now give her some petrol for the love of God.