The Legacy of “Pat the Bunny” or Why My Plumber Still Remembers This After 18 Years

Story is a powerful, consequential thing.

When my son was small, like so many good parents, I read him all kinds of stories. The one that had the biggest bang for the buck, I’d say, is PAT THE BUNNY by Dorothy Kunhardt. It’s available on Amazon for $10.79, but that damn bunny cost me over a thousand dollars.

My garbage disposal is leaking. So I called Brian, our plumber for the past 18 years. I asked him if he remembered what kind of garbage disposal we needed, and he laughed and said he could never forget our garbage disposal … it’s one of his two favorite plumbing adventure stories.

While our house was being built, it was Brian who ran the plastic pipes through our shell-of-a-house while his BFF/dog, Grizzly, roamed the neighborhood. I love dogs. Like truly, madly, deeply, I love dogs. I’m not allowed to have a dog, because of this little guy here (which is another story for another time.)

Who, me?

Who, me?

We were the 5th out of 24 families to move into this neighborhood, so there was construction going on for a long time after we moved in. I noticed that Brian liked to work at night when the other workers had left, but more important, I noticed that Grizzly liked bologna.

Which is why I stocked up on bologna (which is a really pretentious way to say baloney). Jerry (my husband) was traveling a lot at the time and Jerry (my son) was only three, so after little Jerry went to bed, I hung out with Grizzly on the front porch and we chatted and ate bologna/baloney.

Brian knew if he couldn’t find Grizzly, she was probably on my front porch.

One busy night, about three weeks after we moved in, I was talking on the phone, washing lettuce for salad, and running the dishwasher, when little Jerry asked if he could try on my rings. Because remember PAT THE BUNNY? Paul tries on Mommy’s ring. Now YOU try on Mommy’s ring. Jerry loved to try on my rings and I was trained to hand them over.

I finished my conversation, hung up the phone, stuffed the outer lettuce leaves down the garbage disposal and flipped the switch. There was this horrific grinding sound and then something plinked out of the disposal. Then something else plunked. Then another something. Finally, I got a clue and flipped the switch off and looked at the clumps of metal that the disposal had spat at me. I figured there must be some mechanical problem and the disposal was spitting up metallic bits of itself before I realized those clumps of metal were my crushed engagement band. And my crushed setting! AND MY CRUSHED WEDDING RING!

I know there was a diamond on that ring when I handed it over. Where the heck was it?!?

So I learned something that night. I can primal scream REALLY LOUD! Loud enough that my poor child ran upstairs and hid under his covers.

Who? Me?

Who? Me?

I don’t know if Brian heard me scream, but my phone rang within 3 minutes. After I told him what happened, he came right over and took everything apart, right down to the pipes in the basement, to see if he could find it.

Gone. Gone. Gone.

If I hadn’t had the dishwasher running, he said he probably could have found it. You would have to know Brian and my ring to know that there is no way he found it and stashed it to hawk on eBay. First of all, Brian is one of the most trustworthy guys I know (which is why he’s been my go-to-guy for plumbing stuff for 18 years) and second, when Jerry and I decided to get engaged, I told him he wasn’t spending a lot on the diamond because I’d rather he spent money on furniture for our home-to-be. Yes, my ring had sentimental value, but it wasn’t the type of diamond you’d sell your soul for.

Jerry offered to buy me a new diamond, but I said no. I bought a new wedding band, but I told him if I ever had a baby girl, I’d rather buy her a sapphire ring to inherit. I did have a baby girl two years later. She was a planned C-section, and coincidentally, I was offered two dates … September 28 or October 5. What I heard was … sapphire or opal?

And no, I still don’t have a puppy (yet). But after a long and happy life, Grizzly has passed on to doggie heaven, and Brian will be bringing his new BFF/dog with him to install our new garbage disposal. I don’t have any baloney. But I have some chicken ;)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Writing Process Blog Tour

My Writing Process

 

Lisa AmowitzMany thanks to Lisa Amowitz, for inviting me to join the Writing Process Blog Tour. Lisa is an author, cover designer and graphic design professional living in New York City. Her YA noir ghost story, BREAKING GLASS was released in 2013. Her latest book, VISION will be available September 9, 2014 from Spencer Hill Press. Check out Lisa’s website, follow Lisa on Twitter and read about Lisa’s writing process here.

 

As part of the blog tour, I’ve been asked to answer 4 questions.

1. What am I working on?

I’m taking a break from paranormal to work on a YA contemporary about a teenage girl dealing with the frustration of living with her grandfather, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. But since I can’t do anything the neat and easy way, there will also be pirates.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Writers put their own unique spin on their stories according to their own life experience. At different times, I’ve lived with my grandmother, my great-aunt, and my mother while they had Alzheimer’s, so I feel qualified to write about the ups and downs of living with someone who has dementia. I volunteer at a middle school library, and I’ve talked it over with my wonderful librarian, and we can’t find many books that discuss Alzheimer’s from a teen’s POV. Since the baby boomers are getting older and there’s no cure available, more kids will be faced with family members who have some form of dementia. And when a family member has dementia, the entire family suffers.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I have so much respect for ghostwriters – how they can take an idea that’s not theirs and write an entire book. I can’t do that. I have to crawl inside an idea and live with it for a good long time before I can put together the pieces that will make up a cohesive story.

4. How does your writing process work?

 

How I’d like my writing process to look …

 

 

This is what my writing process really looks like ... there's a light at the end, but no clear path and lots of stuff to trip over.

This is what my writing process really looks like … there’s a light at the end, but no clear path and lots of stuff to trip over.

 

My writing process is a work in progress. I “pantsed” my way through Auracle, and two other manuscripts that I shelved. I spent so much time rewriting Auracle, that I decided to outline future work. That didn’t quite work out as planned, either, as it didn’t give me the chance to get to know my characters before sending them off on their journey. The story I’m working on is a combination of research, drafting and outlining. Even though it’s a contemporary, there’s a historical element to it which required extensive research. I like visuals, so if I find a picture in a magazine or on the internet that reminds me of a character, I’ll print it and keep it in my story file. The setting is critical to this particular story, so I broke out the colored pencils and drew up a map. My writing partner and I try to meet once a week, and we email back and forth to keep ourselves on track. Now that I’m finished with most of the research, my goal is to write 1,000 words a day and get the first draft finished in 3 months. At that point, I’ll let it sit for a couple of weeks, then print it out and give it a good hard read with “fresh eyes”, then heavy duty edits before I’m ready to send it off to be beta read. I’ll use that feedback to  edit it a few more times before I’m ready to send it to my agent for her feedback, then it’s back to more edits and polishing before it’s ready for her to shop.

That’s it! Sounds so easy, doesn’t it ;)

And now, it’s my pleasure to introduce two fabulous authors who will be posting about their writing process on their blogs next Monday, April 7th ~

 

My writing partner, Wendy Thomas, is approaching her 1,000th blog on Lessons Learned From the Flock. Wendy is also a journalist – her work has appeared in many newspapers and magazines, and you can tune in next week to hear more about the book she’s working on. You can find Wendy on her blog, Facebook and Twitter.

My Class of 2k12 sister author, Lynne Kelly, is the author of the 2013 Crystal Kite Award winner CHAINED, a heartfelt middle grade story about 10 year old Hastin who takes a job as an elephant keeper to work off his family’s debt.  You can find Lynne on her blogTwitter and Facebook.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Breaking the Rules (And Other Stuff)

Well, today is a Big Day! 30 years ago, this guy and I both said, “I Do!”

Jerry and Gina - October 22, 1983. Yes, those are crutches. I'll explain later.

Jerry and Gina – October 22, 1983. Yes, those are crutches. I’ll explain later.

And we still do, except we’ve added two kids, a house in the suburbs and a minivan.

This might not sound like your idea of Utopia, but for a kid who grew up in a dysfunctional family during the equally dysfunctional 60′s/70′s, the past 30 years have been a little slice of heaven I wasn’t sure I’d ever find. When I was ten, a neighbor asked me how old I wanted to be when I got married. Pfffft. I told her I was never getting married. Two long-term boyfriends later, I still wasn’t sure marriage was for me. Then a friend introduced me to Jerry. At 5’6″, he is fun sized (like me), has a great sense of humor and most important, he is a Nice Guy.  He won the Mom Seal of Approval, too … she took one look at Jerry and said, “I like him! He has snappy eyes.”

So eight months later, I broke the rules. Sure, it was the 80′s. By this point, women could vote, we’d burned our bras and all that jazz. But a lot of women still waited around for guys to make the first move. Patience is not my greatest virtue. I knew Jerry was The One and I saw no sense wasting time, so I asked him to marry me.

I didn’t get down on one knee or give him a guy-ring or anything like that. I just suggested we go to church one Easter (which should have been his first clue since neither of us are religious.) While we were there, we had a whispered conversation that went something like this:

Me: So what do you think of this Church?

J: It’s nice.

Me: Want to go over to the rectory after Mass and see how long the wedding waitlist is?

J: Uhhhh … sure.

And sure enough, they had an opening in just six months. Could I pull together a wedding in six months? You bet I could. My mom wasn’t impressed with the $99 Mexican wedding dress I fell in love with at a boutique in Faneuil Hall, and since Princess Diana was married a year or two before, the style was long trains. Since mom was paying for part of the dress, we finally found one we agreed on. My maid-of-honor and bridesmaids were very gracious about my choice of their dresses, and nobody snickered when I insisted how much use they’d get out of these if they were hemmed.

Oh, sure we'll hem these lovely fashion statements up and wear them EVERYWHERE!

Oh sure, we’ll hem these lovely fashion statements up and wear them EVERYWHERE!

We booked a hotel banquet room for the reception. Flowers, cake, band, photographer, invitations, lists and more lists - it all came together.

Then five weeks before the Big Day, my friend, Cathy (2nd from the left in the photo above, who introduced me to Jerry) was moving, so a bunch of us went to help. I was pretty excited since this was my first friend who was fulfilling the dream of not just home ownership, but actual house ownership. When I get excited, I don’t always pay attention to Things.

In my defense, the light was out, and I thought it was a broom closet. Cathy asked what the plastic contraption on the wall was, so I stepped in to show her how an ironing board hangs from it. Unfortunately, there was no floor in that stupid broom closet because it was actually the basement stairs. My foot hit the edge of the second step hard enough to dislocate my ankle, which broke off that knobby ankle bone that sticks out (the medial malleolus, if you want to get technical) in two places and splintered the fibula.

And I fell backwards, ass over teakettle (as my grandmother would say) down the rest of the steps.

When I got to the bottom, I took inventory. The only problem appeared to be a ridiculously painful lump the size of an orange under my sock where my ankle should be.  This, of course, put a kibosh on the moving festivities. We were supposed to have pizza and beer after we moved stuff, but the highlight of my night turned out to be a ride in an ambulance with crummy shocks. The ambulance guys wouldn’t even turn on the siren for me because a broken leg “wasn’t an emergency” according to them. I also learned that when three guys walk into a hospital room, tell you to bite on a towel, then pin you to the table while some doctor yanks at your foot, your concept of pain will be exponentially redefined.

The next day, while we were supposed to be attending the requisite Pre-Cana class, the doctor screwed my ankle back together. I woke up in a plaster cast from my toes to mid-thigh, and spent the next 5 days in the hospital (which says  a lot about health insurance 30 years ago.) But four weeks made a big difference. I couldn’t have a walking cast because of the way the bones broke, but the week before the wedding, I graduated to a knee-high fiberglass cast.

The day of our wedding dawned brisk and lovely. My mom decorated my crutches with white satin ribbons and silk roses, then she produced a box. Surprise wedding gift? Yes! Just what every bride wants on her wedding day … a brand new pair of blindingly white running shoes. Wedding Sneaker “I thought you’d be more comfortable in this,” my mom said hopefully as she held up one. She made a good point, so I traded my white pump for the running shoe without too much fuss. I wore a fuzzy white sock over the cast to keep my toes from showing, and because it was pretty cold outside. My poor bridesmaids and maid-of-honor were freezing in their short sleeves, but they were so lovely, and my flower girl and ring bearer were adorable. My brother walked me down the aisle (while whispering, “Slow! Down!” because I could move pretty fast on crutches ;) but when I got to my husband-to-be, his face was the same shade as his gray tux. He had arrived at the church during a funeral, and they wheeled the coffin down the aisle a few minutes before I got there.

It turns out that neither the broken leg, nor the recent funeral, nor the missed Pre-Cana class were impending signs of doom.

Today marks our 30th anniversary. Here’s to my best friend and the love of my life <3

30-2

Our goal …

Happily Ever After

xox

Gina

P.S … See where Wikipedia says you must attend a Pre Cana class? Not if you’re in the hospital and you argue that there are no more classes offered before your wedding :)

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

FALL 2013 YA SCAVENGER HUNT … AURACLE WINNERS

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Fall 2013 YA Scavenger Hunt!

YASH scavenger hunt

And more thanks to everyone who commented on my post – it makes me so happy to see how much you love your libraries <3! As promised, I printed out all the comments and my daughter sorted them into two baskets (one for US/Canada and one for International).

And the #YASH/Auracle winners are ...

And the #YASH/Auracle winners are …

There are two international winners, who each get a signed hardcover of Auracle and swag. They are:

Hannah M … thegirlinacafe@gmail.com – Australia

Diana Terrado – reofamelaterrado@yahoo.com - Philippines

And two US/Canada winners, who each get a signed hardcover of Auracle and swag, and the library of their choice each wins this:

AURACLE Library Discussion Group Giveaway, includes silkscreened canvas bag, 10 signed hardcover copies of AURACLE, 50 discussion guides, 50 silicone bracelets, and 100 signed bookmarks

AURACLE Library Discussion Group Giveaway, includes silkscreened canvas bag, 10 signed hardcover copies of AURACLE, 50 discussion guides, 50 silicone bracelets, and 100 signed bookmarks

Nicole Stine chose the Portales Public Library of Portales, New Mexico

and

Sarah @ The Book Life chose the Volusia County Library in Ormond Beach, Florida

Congratulations to the winners!! I’ll contact each winner through email to get your mailing address, and all prizes will be shipped early this week. Winners’ names will also be posted on the YASH website by 5 o’clock Pacific time today (Monday 10/7)

xox

Gina

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

YA SCAVENGER HUNT – FALL 2013

The Fall 2013 YA Scavenger Hunt is now over, and the exclusive content from Michele Jaffe’s upcoming YA novel, MINDERS, has been taken down. I’ve printed out the comments, and I’m in the process of dividing them into U.S./Canada and International baskets. I’ll post a new entry once I’ve picked the winners, and winners will also be announced on the YA Scavenger Hunt website.

This tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

AURACLE's pretty new paperback cover is out 1/28/14 from Square Fish/Macmillan

AURACLE’s pretty new paperback cover is out 1/28/14 from Square Fish/Macmillan

Ohai! I’m Gina Rosati, your host for this part of the hunt. I’m the author of AURACLE, shown here with its new paperback cover that’s available on January 28, 2014 from Square Fish/Macmillan. I live in southern New Hampshire with my husband, two kids and two guinea piggles.

Lily vs. Apple

Lily vs. Apple

I love libraries so much that I’ve volunteered at my local school libraries for the past ten+ years, and I have a special giveaway for two winners and their favorite libraries. Keep reading for details at the end of this post.

Head over to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to learn about the hunt if you haven’t already done that. 

There are THREE contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the GOLD TEAM–but there is also a blue team and a red team for a chance to win different sets of signed books!

Shiny!

GOLD TEAM = Shiny!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.

 
SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
 
Directions: ***Below*** you’ll notice that I’ve mentioned my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the GOLD TEAM, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
 
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
 

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered. The winners will be announced Wednesday, October 9, at noon Pacific Time.

My special guest is Michele Jaffe

Michele Jaffe

Michele Jaffe

I am thrilled to host the lovely, talented and oh-so-funny Michele Jaffe for the Fall 2013 YA Scavenger Hunt!! Michele is the author of at least ***7*** books, including the young adult novels Ghost Flower, Rosebush, Bad Kitty, Kitty Kitty as well as adult thrillers and historical romances. She has a PhD in Comparative Literature from Harvard and a master’s in Controlling Her Hair from Life.

Michele’s upcoming YA novel, MINDERS, sounds so intriguing, I just pre-ordered copies for myself and my middle school library. I can’t wait until January 30, 2014 for it to launch from Razorbill!

EXCLUSIVE CONTENT

MINDERS by Michele Jaffe is available from Razorbill on January 30, 2014

MINDERS by Michele Jaffe is available from Razorbill on January 30, 2014

What if you could really know what went on inside someone else’s mind? Every thought, every feeling? Every desire? Every secret? As the winner of the prestigious Mind Corps Fellowship, Sadie Ames will spend six weeks inside the mind of Ford Winters, an inner city boy haunted by ghosts from his past. Moving deeper into his world, she’s dazzled by the shimmering pinpricks of color that form the images in his mind and finds herself falling for him despite the darkness she senses in him. Until the darkness takes over and he does the unthinkable. Can she save him? And what will it cost her?

Sounds amazing!!! And you get the First Ever Exclusive Preview! Click the link for

And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Michele, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is ***7***. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the GOLD team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

SPECIAL AURACLE GIVEAWAY!

And as I mentioned, I have a special AURACLE giveaway for you and your favorite library!
 
AURACLE Library Discussion Group Giveaway, includes silkscreened canvas bag, 10 signed hardcover copies of AURACLE, 50 discussion guides, 50 silicone bracelets, and 100 signed bookmarks

AURACLE Library Discussion Group Giveaway, includes silkscreened canvas bag, 10 signed hardcover copies of AURACLE, 50 discussion guides, 50 silicone bracelets, and 100 signed bookmarks

 
Here are the details ~
 
Leave a comment below telling me:
1) your name
2) your email address
3) name of your favorite United States or Canadian public library
4) the city/town/state of that library and whether it’s in the US or Canada.
If you’re an International scavenger hunter, leave a comment with your name, your email address, and let me know you’re international because I have something for you too.
 

U.S./Canada names go in one basket, and International names go into another. I will pick two names from each basket. International winners each get a signed hardcover of Auracle and swag. U.S/Canada winners each get a signed hardcover of Auracle/swag, plus their favorite library each gets a Book Club Bag (see above), consisting of a silkscreened canvas bag, ten signed hardcovers, 50 Discussion Guides, 50 silicone bracelets, and 100 signed bookmarks.

Thank you so much for stopping by! Now to CONTINUE THE HUNT

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, who is the fabulous Lea Nolan, author of the newly released The Hoodoo Apprentice: ALLURE.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 150 Comments

ONE MORE DAY!

YASH scavenger huntTomorrow (Thursday, October 3) at noon (Pacific time) is the beginning of the Fall 2013 YA Scavenger Hunt! Are you ready?

Come find me on the shiny new GOLD team … I’ll have two chances for you to win a signed hardcover of Auracle, plus a special book club giveaway  for your favorite public library.

See you tomorrow!

xox

Gina

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Thank You, YA Scavenger Hunters! We Have An AURACLE Winner!

So many thanks to everyone who scavenged and hunted this past weekend … I hope you had fun! I hope you met scads of new YA authors and fell in love with scores of new stories and added dozens of TBRs to your Goodreads lists. I hope you know you rocked my Comments section with over 270 comments!

lily    Ohai – I promised you a giveaway!

fiona

No … I promised you a giveaway!

Um … piggies … I think you BOTH promised a giveway. But since you were both so busy nomming nommy noms, I let The Boy Who Gives You Scritches pick the winner, and he picked …………………….

*requisite drum-roll please *

Madeleine!

Madeleine’s favorite color is blue. Or green. Or blue green. She loves all of those colors! I’ve emailed Madeleine, and I have her copy of Auracle all annotated with lots of comments, and I have a pile of blue, green and blue-green beads ready to string into something lovely and surprise-ish! (which I can’t post now because then it won’t be a surprise, now will it? I’ll post photos later.)

Thank you again, Scavenger lovelies. I’m so grateful for each and everyone one of you for visiting my little website and leaving me a comment.

If you are inclined to read Auracle, please visit your local indie book store or library. If it’s not in your library’s collection, I would be honored if you’d ask your librarian to either borrow it from another library in the system or add it to their “requested books” list.

xox!

Gina

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment