Monthly Archives: February 2013

No Chat About Cats Today. I’ve Got A Book To Flack!

IMG_0141I had in mind to write about the frenzy over cat this and that, especially videos.  Then, while studying how to promote an e-book, I read that an author is supposed to blog about his novel and post comments on social networks as the book takes shape and makes its way into the market place. Sigh.  I learn this in the last month of a writing project that has taken years.  As most everyone who knows me will attest, I have no gift for timing, except on the dance floor.

So here goes.

Next month, as long as that wicked non-planet Pluto and his two moons are not hanging over my head, Cooley & Rose will be published as an e-book that will be compatible with all makes of readers, plus I-Phones, Droids and computers.

I’ve yet to write the zingy blurb for the distributors to use as a sales tool, but this novel, set in South Norfolk, VA during the summer of 1948 is about a married couple who part ways after their love sours.  Rose takes off to start a new life in Hollywood; her husband, Cooley, goes to visit his girlfriend, LaBelle.   Erle Stanley Gardner, Bob Hope, Louis Prima and a young Keely Smith make cameo appearances, as do an Indian preacher and thieves posing as rich Southern Baptists.  But more on that at another time.

For now, I offer the following:

From Janet Peery, National Book award nominee:

“This eminently readable story is a romp in the tradition of Crazy in Alabama and a love story as rewarding as Cold Sassy Tree.

Cooley & Rose is imbued with place and period but never at the expense of story.  As these original and unforgettable characters explore the vagaries of love and the boundaries of connection, they leave their marks on the reader’s imagination, providing the best that can be asked of a good book; a feeling that we’ve encountered people we thought we knew but now more fully understand, the sense that – like family, whether near or far – they’ll stay with us, ours for life.

“Terry is a gifted storyteller with an eye for detail, an ear for the rhythms of what’s said as well as what’s unsaid,  and a heart for character depth.  I hope you’ll give her a read.”

From Bob Shacochis, National Book Award winner:

“I loved reading Terry Perrel’s first novel, Cooley & Rose. And feel that it’s a wonderful . . .work of comic Southern literature.  And it goes without saying that Terry is a terrific writer.”

A third author, who read Cooley & Rose in a shorter form, said it has “echoes of Anne Tyler, Flannery O’Connor and Eudora Welty.”  I told this to my agent before he died last year, and he thought the comparison was a bit over the top. Ha!  What an understatement.

By the way, the photo at the top of the page?  That’s my writing shed that my husband, one of my brothers, a few of our friends and I built.  That’s where I work and nap and, sometimes, hide out.

UPDATE: Cooley & Rose is available as a paperback from Amazon and as an e-book everywhere!

I Was Already Naming the Lambs — Meatloaf, Ali Baba and Elias.

Dear Family,

Again, it has snowed — even though the azaleas have buds and the daffodils have burst through the ground. I am so over the cold, and another storm is on its way.  Why, oh why, must Mother Nature tease us so?

Speaking of mothers, Sidney and I were so pleased to learn that Mom W. wants to leave us the family homestead.  Already we are making plans for the Edith Grace Wenger Home for UnWed Dogs.  We so hope the furniture is included since we envision this as a home where girls in trouble can lie around in comfort and nestle in Mom’s homemade quilts.  Already we’re busy, busy, busy planning a puppy daycare, menus free of chicken and grain, a hair salon, etiquette school and a formal dining room with the table’s legs sawed off.

Of course, our enthusiasm doesn’t mean we want to rush anyone to the great beyond.  Mom looks and acts young for 159.  We celebrated her birthday at Pargo’s, and just as she was about to blow out the candles, fire trucks showed up.  I think the attention embarrassed her.

By the way, because the cake was decorated with a family portrait, we were only allowed to eat the edges, and there was not enough of those for seconds. She took the rest home and put it in the freezer where she can look at her children whenever she wants.

Your Favorite In-Law, T.

Dear Family,

The Friday before Mother’s Day, Mom W. told me that she and Pop were planning to hire a few sheep to mow the field at the side of their house.  I thought that was a splendid idea for reasons both practical and fun.  Within moments I was dreaming up names — Meatloaf, Ali Baba, Elias.

Perhaps you remember a couple of years ago when the folks rented a room to a woman who brought goats with her?  (Talk about a lax pet clause. . .)  Anyway, Mom and I spent some wonderful afternoons pulling weeds and feeding them through the fence of the pen, all the while laughing.  Then the renter moved, and the goats did, too, a while later. So, upon hearing about the sheep, a lovely vision of us playing with them came to mind — until she told me that they might put up an electric fence.

“What?” I protested.  “We won’t be able to feed the sheep.  We’ll get shocked!”

And here is what my mother-in-law said to me:  “It wouldn’t hurt you a bit to be shocked.”

The implication!  That I could do with a bit of electro-shock therapy!  I tell you, that broke my heart, and all of this came upon the heels of my 50th birthday which we celebrated with a Sunday dinner at her house.  But I didn’t know the party was for me until after the meal when I excused myself.  Upon coming out of the bathroom I saw the reflection of fire on the wall and immediately put two and two together,  Mom W. had set the kitchen ablaze!

But I was wrong.  It was the dining room.  Flames leaped from the fifty candles on my birthday cake.  Later my brother-in-law confessed that there were only 48 because he was too cheap to buy another box, but Mom W. said he was wrong.  She’d come up with two more and stuck them into that yummy whipped cream.

So, you can see how I was feeling all warm and fuzzy about my mother-in-law until she said that I could use a good shock.  Oh, well, I’m going to turn the other cheek because I don’t want to risk losing the Edith Grace Wenger Home for UnWed Dogs.

Your Favorite In-Law, T.

These are actual letters, edited down, that appeared in the family newsletters nine years ago.  I’m sharing them today in memory of my late mother-in-law, a sassy and kind woman whom I miss like crazy.  Monday would have been her birthday.  She was not partial to dogs, especially in her house, and it was only because I told her that we named our border collie Gracie after her that she not only invited her in but also fed her treats.  In the photo, Mom W. (far right) is with her sisters. 

The Birds, the Bees and Clematis. A Story that Takes a Sexy Turn.

ClematisI wouldn’t tell what follows if my late stepfather had been the least bit shy or embarrassed about it, but I can still recall the day he laid back in his recliner, told me this true story as tears streamed from his Paul Newman baby blues and laughter deepened his always prominent dimples. He had hardly said two words before my mother started laughing and tearing up.  She knew what was coming.

First, you need to know that before my mother and stepfather downsized to a condo, both were gardeners.  On temperate days, the exceptions being my stepfather’s golf on dry Tuesdays, their standing dates on Fridays, and Sundays when they attended the Southern Baptist Church where they met and were fixed up on a date by a deacon, they worked in their yard.

In addition to taking care of the tedious chores of cutting grass, weeding, edging and raking, they tended huge flowers beds of heirloom azaleas, roses bushes, hydrangeas, and assorted annuals and perennials, both low-growing and climbing.  When they were done and had showered off the muck and dirt, the two would sit out in the backyard and sip iced tea, enjoying their own private paradise, one they sorely missed after their move.

They took care to make sure their front yard was beautiful, too, with beds of neatly trimmed boxwoods along the front walk and tall pines ringed by azaleas.  On anything else rising from the ground – a trellis, a light pole, a mailbox, they grew clematis.  Neither my mother nor stepfather were interested in the mini-versions.  They loved the huge showy blossoms of white or purple that could be seen by anyone passing down the street.  The bigger the clematis bloom, the more awed they were by nature and God’s hand in it.

One day on the golf course at Ocean View as my stepfather hit a round with old friends from his youth and others from his church, the talk turned to yard work.  I wasn’t there, but I imagine there was grumbling by some who’d prefer to spend less time on the grass at home and more on that at the course, but eventually the conversation turned to the growing season and how flora of all kinds were flourishing – squash plants spreading like octopi, dahlias stalks breaking ground, hydrangeas clumps taking on tinges of blues and pinks.

And it was during this talk that my dear stepfather, picturing the dazzling clematis abloom on the mailbox, said,  “You’re not kidding.  You should see the beautiful clitoris I have at home!”

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