Saturday, March 16, 2013

Prepare to Bee Dazzled

Well, Bee Dazzle has been launched.  Classified (I suppose) as a ‘chick lit novella’, Bee is a fun little read that show-cases improvisational writing between two authors who’ve never met. 

Saint (my friend and co-author) and I hope that you will honor us by reading this very first in (what’s hoped to be) a long line of ‘a Writers’ Tag’ publications.

To thank you for reading GAG and for supporting my writing efforts over the past few years, I’m starting a new contest.  If you’d like to win a dually signed copy of Bee Dazzle (as in…signed to you personally by both the elusive Saint and yours truly) please take a moment to enter.

The rules are simple.  There ARE no rules. Well, okay… maybe one or two.  All you have to do is guess the first (given) name of the female protagonist in Bee.  For the record, her nickname is “Bee”…but that’s not the name her mother put on Bee’s birth certificate.

It’ not easy, so I’ll give you a hint:  John Cusack.  Heh…..sorry.  It’s a legitimate clue but I don’t want to give the answer away too quickly.

If you’ve already read Bee then obviously…you know the answer – and being the ethical sort (as all my readers are!) you won’t enter your ‘guess’.  But if you were one of the few who read Bee when I posted it on GAG last year, then there’s still another way you can win.  Simply post a ‘review’ of Bee on (found at the above link) then let me know (by posting a comment here) that you did…and what your screen name was, if you used one.  All those names will be thrown into a hat and one will be drawn to win a second autographed copy.

As always, thanks for reading, for writing, for making me smile and for being my friend.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Josie -- All Grown Up

            In 2001, shortly after I began writing “Observations from The F.A.R.M.”, I composed a column about my son Guy, who was graduating from high school.  The article was a bit nostalgic as I reflected on Guy’s wonderful qualities and spoke about the fact that –suddenly and to my dismay – my ‘little boy’ was all grown up.
            It saddens me to say that I don’t have a copy of that column.  Back then (in the ‘olden days’) I typed my columns and dropped them off at The Irregular… at which time Heidi or Bob would re-type them and format them for the paper.  I’m sure I must have kept a copy of the newspaper when that particular story was published (I’m sentimental, that way) but if I did, I’ve since misplaced it.

            Nowadays I type “Observations” on my laptop, save a copy of each column to my “Irregular” file and then attach the document to an email and whisk it on its way through the ether to Main Street in Kingfield.  Those seasoned (and somewhat spicy) experts at the paper can copy and paste me with little effort or fanfare.  Yes, the process is easier and cleaner these days and I’ve got dozens of articles stored on my computer which serve as reminders of the many milestones reached – and experiences survived – here in our little corner of Maine.  I’m pleased about that but I can’t help feeling regret that there are several years’ of my columns (my memories) which are – for all intents and purposes – gone.

            It’s been thirteen years since Guy graduated from Carrabec High School and now Steven and I have another offspring who is attaining adulthood.  Josie-Earl, middle child and Daughter Extraordinaire, will be turning 18 next month and graduating from Carrabec in June.  I know these landmark events didn’t sneak up on me.  In some ways it seems as if I’ve always had kids underfoot and overhead and invading my personal space.  Yes, there have been times when I thought I couldn’t wait until the little darlings grew up and moved out! But then reality hits.  They really and truly will do exactly that.  Grow up and move out.

            As I face the fact that we’ll soon be turning a new page in our lives – a whole new chapter, even – I wonder…and I worry.  I wonder if Josie knows how much I love her.  And I worry I haven’t done a good enough job showing her how very, very important she is to me.  I recognize that I’ve often been too busy.  Too distracted.  Too impatient.  I know that I can’t ever get back all those times when she wanted or needed my undivided attention and I put her off until ‘later’.  Now, here it is…later.  And she’s a young woman who is about to embark on a life that no longer revolves around her family at The F.A.R.M. 


            As I look at this beautiful girl and think about all that which makes up the “Essence of Josie”, I feel extreme pride.  She’s strong.  Kind.  Stubborn. Intelligent. She shares an affinity with animals.  She appreciates beauty.  She loves to learn.  She laughs easily.  She thinks deeply.  She is polite and helpful, charming and witty.

            I’ll say it again.  Wow.

            I often ponder the fates, trying to figure out how I got so lucky. I have three amazing children.  Two boys, one girl.  Three completely different personalities with diverse interests and talents and strengths.  But they are all strong in their own way and that gives me a measure of comfort.  I fret when I think about how tough this world is – how difficult and challenging it can be.  I’m their mother and it’s my job to protect them from all the ‘scary stuff’.  But you see…they aren’t afraid.  Josie isn’t afraid.  Josie is ready to grab this world by the tail.  She is eager to face ‘life’ and the challenges it brings.           

 My only daughter, Jocelia Caitlin Pease…an amazing young woman.  A true woman of substance.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Putting the Bee in Bee Dazzle

Bee Dazzle
By Eugene Saint and Karen Bessey Pease

The Crazy Lady Down the Road…every place has one. But what transpires when – half-naked in her garden – she meets her new neighbor?  When this unwelcome stranger shares a secret about their adjoining properties? 

Karen Bessey Pease (aka “Kaz”) and Eugene Saint didn’t have a clue…but they were dying to find out.  So they teamed up – and Bee Dazzle was born.

Bee Dazzle is the result of an online game of Writers’ Tag between two authors who have never met.  Writers’ Tag is a ‘by the seat of your pants’ approach to writing in which there is no collaboration between the players.  They simply start writing… and the next player ‘takes it from there’.

In the case of Bee Dazzle, Kaz wrote an opening post, then Saint read it – in its raw, unedited form – and continued the story as he saw fit.  The authors had no predetermined plan and no known story-line or plot.  This is authentic improvisation from post to post.     

For this particular game, the rules were simple…there were no rules except that the story had to be wrapped up in under 20,000 words.  Being somewhat long-winded and loving the ‘sound’ of their own literary voices, Saint and Kaz prescribed to the ‘no rules’ portion of the rules and were able to wind Bee Dazzle down in 22,000 words – give or take a dangling participle or two.

Kaz wasn’t sure about combining her well-honed writing talents with those of an ornery and opinionated curmudgeon from Tennessee – but in the spirit of cooperation (and to give Saint a much-needed ‘leg up’) she agreed to this game of Writers’ Tag.  It was a laborious and often aggravating endeavor…but in the end, the results were worth the sacrifice.  

Saint – though skeptical of combining his remarkable writing skills with those of an uppity, self-important woman from the hills of western Maine – has again thrown his body on one for the good of the squad.  Although he’s spent his entire life avoiding greatness, it has been thrust upon him once more.  

While collaborating on this short story was akin to kicking a whale up the beach, reading this soon-to-be “instant classic” should prove much less painful!  

If, after reading Bee Dazzle, you discover you enjoy the Tag format of improvisational writing between two authors – strangers with diverse temperaments, areas of expertise and hair styles – then stay tuned for a full-length Tag novel by Saint and Kaz in the near future.   If we survive the writing…we promise you’ll love the reading!

 And now… an excerpt from this ‘teaser’ novella written by a man and a woman who have (it’s been said) great “synergy”… which is defined as “the interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.”

Saint and Kaz have synergy… of that there is no doubt.  But do the authors have ‘staying power’?  We’ll let you be the judge.

­­­_ _ _ _ _ _ _

“No body?”

“Yeah, it’s a memorial. That is to say there’s no one actually buried there. It’s different if there’s an actual body. The State keeps pretty close track of that stuff. For one thing, if there’s someone buried there then future owners of a property have the right to know it. Plus, if someone runs across human remains on a property then they’ll know whether or not they ought to be there. And you can’t just exhume a body, you know — even on your own land. It’s a big deal.

"Memorials are different. I suspect that’s why Winston had the plot constructed way out there overlooking the bog — figuring it would be a long time before anybody would want to build on that site.”

“Ah...I see. And therefore I should marry you. Of course. It makes perfect sense. Duh, me.”