Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tattle and Wrye column July 2015



Tattle stares at a picture of a snowman and sighs.  "I miss snow."

Wearing Bermuda shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, Wrye gulps half his ice tea.  "It's snowing somewhere, I'm sure, just not in our neck of the world.  By the way, how do snowmen travel around?"


"By iceicle!"  After a quick two-step, Wrye adds, "Ta da!   What sort of ball doesn't bounce?  A snowball! What do you get if you cross a snowman and a shark?  Frost bite!"

"Errr, my remark wasn't a cue for you to become the snow-comedian, y'know."

"Ahhh, I get it, it was my cue to take you out for snow cones."

"By George, I think, he got it!  And since it is time for our Love of Literature Leap Interviews with two of Champagne Books Authors, let's leap into a couple of interviews with Julie Eberhart Painter and Ute Carbone.  Let's bring snow cones!"

"Great idea!  But, umm, who's George?"

Rolling her eyes, she snaps her finger and the two show up in an award winning and dedicated author's kitchen just as she is pouring her first cuppa of the morning. 

T:  (Paraphrases) There is nothing wrong with your vision. Do not attempt to adjust your sanity.  We are now in control. We control the interview and snow-cone flavor. We can deluge you with a thousand questions, or expand one single question to feel like a thousand.  We can shape your vision... 

W:  (Interrupts) In other words, we are here to interview you, Julie Eberhart Painter.  We had (grins and offers up a snow cone) a hankering for snow cones and mystery!  Interested?

J: What proof is that cone?

T:  (Settles down at the table across from Wrye and Julie) Now, to get down to a bit of gossip... errr... queries about you and your work.  Tell us, Julie, which of your female heroines do you feel is most like you? 

J: Ellen in Mortal Coil.

She’s the administrator in a nursing home in Marietta, Georgia, northwest of Atlanta. She’s honest and sensitive, recently widowed – courtesy of the Pony-tailed Perp. Her ten-year-old daughter, Patti, is the spitting image of my real daughter Lynne at the same age. Wonder how that happened.

W:  Now, for those of us who need to know.  (Becomes very serious) Do you consider yourself a good liar?

J: I’d be lying if I said yes. My face is a dead, not-quite-dead, giveaway. I get hot flashes just thinking about it.

T:  Have you ever been so into plotting and writing that something important was left undone?  For example, I once kept putting off laundry and ran out of clean underwear.  So, have you ever experienced anything similar?  If so,  tell... tell... tell.... 

J: Often, especially before my husband retired. Now he keeps me on my toes. FYI: I keep a stash of extra drawers in my drawers.

W:  Very good planning!  (Looks at Tattle pointedly) Any hoo, you need to think like a killer to write about killers, so 'fess up.  Do you enjoy creating those nasty little souls?  And even more importantly...  (narrows his eyes and peers at Julie intently)  Do you kill spiders or carry them outside? 

J: The bug man kills the spiders; he’s a hired killer. I carry the geckos outside, all the while telling them I’m returning them to their families.  They are usually dehydrating, so I put a drop of water in two clear plastic cups, scoop them up and redeposit them near their homes. They are, in real life, just as cute as the one on TV.

On the evil side, I have a devious mind, short
earlobes, and a wild imagination.

Killer plots are another matter. In my unpublished memoir, Pathways Home, an adoptee's story, I show myself at age 15 bereft of a boyfriend. I describe it thusly:

Toward the end of our sophomore year, Bobby (a tuba player) added a trombone to his collection. Her name was Henrietta.
(Then a friend told me a secret about her, and I grew up fast.)

…I was speechless.

            “…Henrietta’s mother loved the man so much she couldn’t give up her daughter.” 

Johnny pointed to where they lived across the street from his house. “It’s that third floor apartment,” Johnny said.

I looked up at the four story brick building with its twisted fire escape precariously clinging to the side.

            “Her mother’s got that fire escape stacked with magazines and old newspapers. It drives Henrietta crazy. She’s always moving them away from the door—scared to death of getting trapped in there.”

            “A metaphor for her life, trapped in this town,” I said, thinking, for one fleeting moment, I could destroy Henrietta.

            But I didn’t.

            Losing Bobby to such a pathetic girl gave me new insight. Passion was replaced by compassion and empathy. I saw the irony: “There but for the grace of God go I,” the adopted one. I recognized that if my birth mother, equally downtrodden and disapproved of, had chosen to keep me, I could have been Henrietta.

            I never told anyone, not my tight-lipped adoptive mother, Henrietta or Bobby. Not until now, more than sixty years later, when no one cares anymore, am I revealing her secret. I learned people are not simple, sketched onto velvet. They are complex and three-dimensional.

            Keeping Henrietta’s secret empowered me and helped me forgive her. Yet in the fifties, we didn’t speak of or define such things in psychological terms. Yet, that’s how kindness works for good. I could not be Henrietta’s friend. I’d never trust her—ever.  But the sick feeling, the intense desire to murder her in ways not yet been invented went away. I was healing. …

T:  Oooh, thank you for sharing that intimate part of your life with our readers.  (Pauses to gather her thoughts)  Which of your characters would make their bed and which one would leave it messy?

J: Ellen’s daughter, Patti would leave it messy, probably strewn with sports equipment, but her mother Ellen would tidy up.

W:  Unlike my cohort in tattling, I have a serious inquiry, is your muse a night owl that keeps you up till all hours or a morning bird that greets the dawn?

J: A bird that greets the dawn, after the night owl of my subconscious wakes me up early. “Stupid bird!”

T:  Now, think food, savory or sweet, meaty or veggie, creamy or gritty?  If you were a food, what food would you want be?” 

J: Savory, meaty, and textured: Beef Burgundy over wide noodles, al dente.

W:  Thank you so much for allowing us to invade your kitchen.”  He offers a gentlemanly bow. 

T:  We fully appreciate your time and totally enjoy your books.  We impatiently await your next book, especially since hearing Champagne Books has invited you into the
Cozy mystery/quirky character club with a deadline for a full manuscript by September. The novel takes place in my home town, a beach town in Florida known for odd crimes, and nutty seniors. Tim Dorsey and Carl Hiaasen have already harvested some of the funniest mysteries from Volusia County where the novels about New Smyrna Beach are set…  Looking forward to reading it!

Tattle nods and winks, imitating Santa's up-the-chimney trick.  Except the two simply vanish and appear in Ute Carbone's writer's garret.    

T:  Be not afraid, we come bearing snow cones... and questions.  (Hands Ute a cherry snow cone)  Oh, everything in cyberspace, as you know, is calorie-free.  

U:  Thanks so much for having me. Mmm snow cone (she slurps at the cone) and red, my favorite. Did you know that if you eat these you don't need lipstick?

W:  So, Ute, be honest, how many clones do you have?    

T:  You can't ask her that!  

W:  Yes I can, look at all the books she has written in various genres, all the awards and the fabulous interviews.  There are only twenty-four hours in a day, how can she possibly do it all without having clones?  Hmmmmm?

T:  Ok, you have a point, but let us rephrase.  Ute, if you could clone yourself, how many clones would you have and just what tasks would you have them do?

U: Oh, I don't need clones.  I already have multiple personalities. But minions...Now there's something I could use. They could do all the housework I avoid by writing. And they'd bring me chocolate and coffee. They'd be very handy...yes, yes, very handy. (She nods in agreement with herself)

W:  Interesting, I’d like a few of them round about here as well.  Having said that, if you could be a character in any of your books, which one would you choose and why?  

U: Hmm, well, since they all live in my head and it's very crowded up there, anyone of them could actually be me at any one time. But, honestly, the answer changes like the weather. Depends on my mood. I'm a little funky today, so Lenora who is prone to adventure would probably get me out of my funk. Plus, she gets to bed hunky Anton and...I might need another snow cone.

T:  (Fanning herself thinking of Anton, Tattle gives Ute another cone and grabs one for herself)  Now that you've confided in who'd you'd like to be, tell us which antagonist in one of your books you loved to create and if there is any of you in the villainous character?

U: Oh, I think there's a bit of villain in all of us (laughs maniacally and rubs hands together)  I like creating all characters, villains and heroes, and all of them have (I think) some good and bad in them. Except for Abercrombie from the Sweet Lenora Series. That guy was just pure evil. He was fun to create, especially since in the next book I get to hang him.

W:  Does the tribe of weird and strange apply to you?  Or is logic your muse?  (Points to Tattle and mouths)  Weird.  (Thumbs his chest) Logical.

U: Well, since I play with my imaginary friends all day and write down their stories, I'm probably not too logical. Or normal. Then again, voices in your head are normal, right? Right??? 

T:  But of course they are!  Personally, I am proud to be a member of the weird persuasion, but I guess, (lets out a long breath) there is a place for logic now and again.  After all I am quite fond of Data and Mr. Spock.  Which brings me to another question.  Do you read the type of stories you write?  

U: Absolutely. I read an adage once—Write what you love to read. I think it's true, and so I try to write the kind of stories I'd enjoy reading.

W:  What does sci-fi characters have to do with....  Oh, never mind, like I mentioned earlier, weird!  Now, for a more sensible query.  If you could live on a planet of your own creation, what sort of planet would it be?

U: I do live on a planet of my own creation. It's very nice here, too. The inmates...I mean citizens...are very friendly. They give you snow cones. And wine. And they sing and dance around a lot. When they've had too much wine, they do.

T:  (Offers a dreamy look, muttering,) Can I live there, too?  

W: Did you say something?

T:  (Shakes herself out of her momentary trance)  Yup.  Was just asking Ute, if there was an alien invasion, and you could only take one thing, would it be your laptop, best sneakers, heels or your stash of candy?

U: Hmm, I'd take my kindle. So many books, so little time. And really, who needs a toothbrush when you've got books?

W:  Agreed!  Again, let me bring everyone back to a good ole basic interview question.  (Leans forward, rises a bushy brow and looks at Ute pointedly)  Do you prefer slippers or bare feet?  

U: (Stares back). Bare feet. Slippers are for sissies.

T:  Thank you so much for allowing us to steal a piece of your busy schedule.  You have been a dear.

W:  And exceptionally patient.  Next time we'll bring donuts.  (Eyes glaze over just like a sugary treat)

U: Oooh, donuts. I like donuts. Can I come back soon?

T: For sure, just bring us your latest release so we can review it!

Hope you all enjoyed our jaunt into the world of CBG authors.  Until next month, keep reading.

Dona Penza Rutabaga Tattle, Esq. and Associate Wrye Balderdash
of Blather City, Wannachat


Created and written by
Angelica Hart and Zi

Books by Angelica Hart and Zi

Books by Vixen Bright and Zachary Zane

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