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My turn with the million

Genilee wrote last week about what she would do with one million dollars.  She suggested that maybe this week I could do the same because desires change with age.??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Fifteen years ago, I would have bought my husband a new fancy new luxury car.  As Genilee said in her blog, that kind of gift would give me a personal thrill. Today, however, he might still want one, but I wouldn’t buy it. What good is a car to him or to me when neither of us can drive.  Fifteen or 20 years ago, I also might have chosen to take a long European trip, but that’s hard to envision today since we are both using canes and walkers. I can’t see how such a trip would be pleasurable.  However, I do have a substitute for that European jaunt―a worldwide cruise on a luxury liner.  That would be wonderful.  I don’t know how much we would be able to see of the different countries we visited, but I’m sure if I was that rich, I could work something out.

But before I take that trip, I think the first thing I would do with my million would be to give each of my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren $50,000 to spend in whatever manner they wished.  I would also give monetary gifts to a few of my very good friends and to the Alzheimer Research Association in hopes that families in the future won’t have to go through what my family is experiencing.  Those few things would easily eat up about $600,000; then I’m figuring $200,000 for that cruise (like I said, I want a luxury liner.)  What was left, I’d put in the bank and then move my husband and I to an assisted living community I have visited and found ideal because of how cheerful the people are, how good the activity director is and what a great feel I had for the place (yes, Chancellor’s Village, I’m talking about you folks!).

I know all this will not sound very exciting to our younger readers (and we have many of them); but our desires change with age. Well, maybe desires isn’t the right word. I guess I mean our needs change.  I think our desires actually stay pretty much the same, but get adjusted as our daily realities change.

To be honest, though, I don’t think I will have to worry about any of this.  I don’t seem to be winning any lotteries, and I don’t think I can achieve a million bucks with $15 royalty checks from our books!  It’s surely a good thing we enjoy the writing and seeing our work in print―we certainly aren’t going to earn a million in my lifetime.  Maybe Genilee will reap a little of it someday.

Either way, it’s fun to dream!

F. Sharon Swope

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Life of the not-so-rich, pretty poor

wheel

Dreamstime

My household is full of excitement this week as both my husband and I are perched on the edge of fame. Okay, okay, maybe not fame. But we’re both floating above our usual clouds of obscurity just a tad.

My husband is set to go this morning to a second round of tryouts for the Great Mobile Wheel of Fortune. I know that “Great” is not really part of the name of the big bus that travels around the country overseeing hordes of excited fans trying to get on the most-popular-game-show-ever, but it should be. This show has been on the air for 35 years, the longest-running syndicated television competition ever, and there’s a good reason. Even my 88-year-old Daddy, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, still shouts out answers occasionally—and he’s usually right. He can’t remember what he did five minutes ago, but he loves this game. It’s an American icon, the nighttime ritual of millions—one half hour of excitement that ties a hugely broad diversity of people together, even if that tying occurs in front of the boob tube.  And it isn’t exactly easy to get on. This is my dear hubby’s third time of trying to get past that initial two-day mass tryout. He’s proud and excited to be called back for a second round, and if you want to be part of this household’s brush with fame, you’ll get on his facebook page and wish him luck. (that’s Raymond Parente, Dumfries, VA, folks!)

Then there’s me, and my amazing 86-year-old mom of course. We are appearing three times the last week in February on Conversations with Rich, a local (Channel 10, Fairfax [VA] Public Access Station). Rich is well known in the Washington, D.C. area for hosting different types of talks shows, including two of his most popular, which feature restaurants and cooking. Mom and I won’t be talking about cooking (I’m hearing great sighs of relief out there!); we’re talking about our successful two books—Twist of Fate and Wretched Fate. But we have already spent two luncheons discussing at length what colors we might wear that would de-emphasize the reason we’re on in the first place: we’re old (Amazing, yes, but old).

Which brings me to point three of this blog: true “fame,” or at least glory. Mom and I had a second visit at the Emeritus assisted living community in Manassas this week. The residents there read our first book, Twist of Fate, during the month of January, and agreed to give us their comments, then purchase Wretched Fate if they liked the first book. By the end of 45 minutes of discussion, mom and I had to try to stuff our inflated heads back into hats. Lynn Hess, the dynamic life enrichment director of this facility, said she feared she’d be mobbed if she made residents stick with the original plan: to read (then discuss) only a certain number of pages per week during the month. There is no greater compliment to a writer than “I couldn’t put it down.” Lynn truly has a great bunch of intelligent readers in that community and their comments were invaluable, full of insight, and right on the mark. Needless to say, we’ll be returning to hear about Wretched at the end of February. To mom and I, who know we’re probably too advanced in years to build up an audience that can provide the riches, their enthusiasm was our reward for the hard work that goes into our books.

We’ll have to rely on my handsome, charming and talented husband, to win the big money prize!

Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The excitement of being picked

Sometimes the little thrills balance out even the biggest challenges, which in writing include long hours of creation following by painful periods of waiting for your books to come out.

Mom and I recently had the pleasure of showing our book at a community fair at Potomac Woods apartments, Woodbridge, VA. We were returning to the Woods after a successful book signing, and like the first event, residents were enthusiastic about buying our book.

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Sally Okuly (middle) and the authors

But the nicest surprise came not from sales, but from two other factors: first, there were a number of residents who stopped by to comment on the book because they’d already read it. But the second surprise was even better: Mom and I donated a copy as a door prize drawing. Those fair participants whose names were drawn had a table full of goodies to choose from as prizes. When it came time for lucky Sally Okuly to pick, she walked up to the table and, ignoring the baskets of bath goodies, bags of cosmetics, warm fuzzy blankets, terrific gift certificates and other goods from the generous fair vendors, picked up Twist of Fate, a big smile on her face. She had already stopped by our display table with infectious enthusiasm about what we’d accomplished by writing a mystery/romance. But to have her select our book as her prize was an honor we won’t soon forget.

It shows us we’ve reached one of our main goals—to pass along to people who are readers the pleasure that mom and I (avid readers ourselves) get out of jumping into a good plot. Enough people have told us how much they enjoyed losing themselves for a few hours in Twist of Fate that we know we’ve attained that goal.

good smiling

Thursday Thrillers

Which brings me to this week’s event. Mom and I were featured speakers at the Potomac Community Library’s Thursday Thriller’s club. And let us just say: the thrill was all ours. There were about 20 avid mystery readers in attendance, and they provided us fresh perspective on our work. Nothing is more rewarding to the writer than to hear that your readers 1) did not figure out who the villain was, and 2) loved your characters, which made it a pleasure to read.

We’ll write more about that experience in our next blog, but to my writing friends reading this week, let me leave you with advice: get book clubs to read your material.  What they have to say around a table can be an eye-opening experience. And being invited to tell an audience how you became a writer is a heady experience.

Our thanks to Potomac Woods management, who put on a terrific event for their residents, and to Barbara and the members of Thursday Thrillers.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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