The Baby Boomer Generation Gap

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(Special Note: The Joke’s on Me, ebook edition, will be on sale for $3 off its regular price from Friday, June 28 through Saturday, June 29)

The burgeoning genre of Baby Boomer Lit fascinates me. I love the stories authors are telling about the challenges confronting this generation as we face our mortality but still want to squeeze more out of life.

Often forgotten, however, is that technically, baby boomers represent (mostly Americans) born between 1946 and 1964. That’s a span of eighteen years, for those of you good with math or who happen to have a calculator handy. So theoretically, two generations could be contained within this one moniker: two generations with very different goals and ideals. Continue reading

It’s Boomer Lit Friday!

The-Jokes-On-Me_Cover_webHi, everyone. It’s Boomer Lit Friday, the Passover edition, where we explore books about…yes, you guessed it. And no, I don’t mean matzoh balls. Please pop over to Shelley Lieber’s website to catch snippets from the other twenty-some authors participating in this week’s Boomer Lit Blog Hop. What the heck IS Boomer Lit? Glad you asked. You can learn more about that here.

Meanwhile, here’s a bit from The Joke’s on Me. Frankie’s sister, Jude, has already left to attend Seder at her third ex-husband’s weekend place in Phoenicia [just up Route 28 from Woodstock]. Frankie intends on meeting them there later, after the suspiciously familiar local kid they’d hired to do yardwork gets picked up by one of his parents. The parent who shows is also suspiciously familiar.

—————

“Dad, this is Frankie. Jude’s…I mean Ms. Goldberg’s sister. She lives in Hollywood.”

I literally could not move or speak. Of all the ways I imagined seeing Joey again, this scenario didn’t make the list. I was always fresh and beautiful, coming to congratulate him on his perfect game. We’d go back to my place for drinks, and I’d show him my Oscar, my Emmy, and my pair of Golden Globes. Our reunion was not supposed to be in my mother’s house, with me coated in dirt, sweat, and grass clippings, and introduced by the son who should have been ours.

Joey’s eyes crinkled amusement at the corners. “Really,” he said. “Frankie, huh? Cute name. Short for something?”

“Something.” My muddy knees turned to jelly. The road map of his years had begun to etch into his skin, gray feathered his temples, but I saw the boy in the man’s face when he smiled.

I saw the boy remembering the girl.

—————–

Special April Fool’s Day contest! Dream up an April Fool’s prank and enter on this post. Best prank wins an e-copy of The Joke’s on Me.

A Little April Foolishness

The-Jokes-On-Me_Cover_webEver play a great April Fool’s Day joke? Switch the contents of the sugar bowl with the salt shaker? Stick down all the desktop items in your office mate’s workstation with double-sided tape? Pfheh. Amateurs. Let’s get serious. I’m giving you a fictional unlimited budget. Punk away in the comments below.

You have until April 2 at 5:00 p.m Eastern time. Best idea for a prank wins an e-book copy of The Joke’s on Me for either Kindle or Nook.

Have fun!

It’s Boomer Lit Friday!

The Joke's on MeHappy Friday, everyone! Today I’m participating in a different sort of blog hop. Each week, the Boomer Lit Friday blog hop will feature snippets from a variety of “baby boomer” novels. Make sure to check out excerpts from other participating authors, too.

Today, here’s a bit from The Joke’s on Me:

“Bad workshop?” Joey shook his napkin out of its complicated arrangement, set it in his lap, and returned his full attention to me.

“It’s Ethan.” I let out my breath. “He came home high last night. Courtesy of his father’s stash. He said it was a one-time deal, but I don’t believe him. I’m pretty sure Jude’s oblivious. Lev probably thinks it’s a big joke. And poor Aunt Frankie’s trapped in the middle, laying out all the terrible things that could happen to him and threatening to tell his mother if he doesn’t shape up.”

“And poor Aunt Frankie never partied with the burnouts in the Drama Club way back when?”

I raised an eyebrow.  “We only pretended to inhale. So what are we supposed to do when Junior asks why Mommy and Daddy look so stupid in all of those old pictures?”

“Hope and pray good sense skips a generation.”

“Hey.” I pretended to take great offense. “I do the jokes. You’re supposed to be the straight man.”

He regarded me with great seriousness. “Frankie, if I’m not a straight man, one of us is at the wrong table.”

This Week: Is It Spring Yet?

Daytlna-500-Danica-Patrick-poleThe skies have been a little gloomy in my slice of the Hudson Valley, but if it’s time for Daytona and the Oscars, spring can’t be far behind. Although I’m not having as good a week as Danica Patrick, it’s still pretty sweet around here.

  • I don’t know if you caught this, but the lovely and effervescent Dames of Dialogue let me stop in for tea and a chat.
  • Have you heard of Baby Boomer Lit? With America’s largest age cohort knocking on the doors of, well, aging, this is a genre whose time may have come. Author Claude Nougat, on the heels of her new book, A Hook in the Sky, has started not only a Goodreads group devoted to the idea but also possibly a movement. Lynnette Schneider, a book blogger and member of this group, gave Don’t Tell Anyone a very nice five-star review.

Lots going on with the Indies Unlimited crew to report.

  • The rockin’ fabulous K.S. Brooks has been very active with Indie Authors for Hurricane Sandy. On Sunday at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time, you can hear what she’s been up to and how you may be able to help.
  • Krista Tibbs posted this terrific article, showing us how the old writing canard, “show, don’t tell” actually works.
  • Our resident scam-buster, Rich Meyer, stirred up some interesting discussion about crowdfunding for indie writing projects. What do you think? Practical method of fundraising or begging for dollars?
  • Science fiction author and all-around nice guy Chris James just published the second novel in his Second Internet Café series, The Second Internet Cafe, Part 2: The Cascade Annihilator. If you’d like to grab yourself a free copy, check out his website for details.

Last but not least, in one week I’ll be trying not to panic taking Don’t Tell Anyone out for its first public appearance, at The Golden Notebook, a local independent bookstore in Woodstock, New York, where I launched The Joke’s on Me. Jackie and Nan, the lovely women who run the place, are great to support local indie authors. If you’re in the area (Saturday, March 2 at 5:00 p.m.), I’d love to see you!

I hope YOU had a good week!

Healing with Humor

ImageI love a good joke. Even a bad one. Which is one of the reasons I wrote my first novel. In The Joke’s on Me, a stand-up comic returns to her hometown of Woodstock after a major crisis and tries to get her groove back. One stepping stone toward reinventing herself is to craft a workshop on Healing with Humor. Frankie ferrets through research notes, movies, and videos of other comics, trying to glean what’s funny and why it makes people feel good.

Having laughed my way through some serious and not-so-serious health problems over the years, I felt unerringly qualified to write about a fictional character writing her workshop.

After all, a string of funny romance novels by Janet Evanovich got me through a nasty back injury, and elephant jokes once saved my sanity.

Elephant jokes? Yeah. Okay, they’re a little juvenile, but a good case of the giggles is still good medicine. About twenty years ago, I had one of those not-so-great mammograms (which turned out to be a false positive), and my perhaps overzealous doctor had referred me and my films to a breast surgeon. Needless to say, the forty-minute drive to his office was a bit stressful. So I turned on our local NPR station, which was running “Knock on Wood” during that time period. Some of you—and especially those of you in the Woodstock area—may know Steve Charney and Harry, his ventriloquist’s dummy (Yeah, I know. A ventriloquist on the radio.) That day, Steve was doing a long string of elephant jokes, one after the other. I was giggling so hard I almost ran off the road. Yeah, silly, but it definitely took my mind off where I was going.

So this is why one particular joke stuck in my head. Recently, when the lovely Carol Wyer, author of several humorous novels about aging disgracefully, interviewed me on her blog, Facing Fifty with Humour, she asked me to tell a joke. This was the one I selected:

Q: What do you get when you cross a kangaroo with an elephant?
A: Great big holes in Australia.

Okay, not spit-coffee-across-your-keyboard funny, but cute.

Then I came across this website. Apparently, the author, Kevin R.R. Williams, had read Carol’s interview and felt the same about my joke. In an effort to parse the eternal question of what makes people laugh, he deconstructed it over a dinner party. How I wish I could have been a fly on the wall.

Or the elephant in the room.

What do you think? Has humor ever helped you through a tough spot? Can humor really be analyzed? Once we do, does it lose its comedic value? And what’s your favorite elephant joke?

Super Italicize Me!

Authors have been pondering this question since Og figured out he could write dirty limericks on the cave walls with a charred stick: Why didn’t I just become a doctor like my mother wanted? Well…that, and how the heck are we supposed to use italics in our manuscripts?

Before we get into when to use or not use them in our stories, let’s fix ourselves a nice cup of tea and talk about formatting. You may have wandered around the Interwebs and read a certain manuscript-formatting commandment bequeathed unto us by a variety of literary agents, editors, and publishers:

Forsooth! Thou shall not employ the italic font in the hard copies of thine manuscripts, for that which thou require to be italic is to be underlined instead. Continue reading

Olympic Writing Events

Fully recovered from asphyxiation after laughing your asses off at the opening ceremonies? Great. Now we can get on to the more serious business of the Olympics: the events. Because I’m still pissed that softball and baseball were eliminated after Beijing, I’ve decided to start my own Olympic-style competition. This is for a group of athletes who have been training hard, putting in the time, the effort, the blood, sweat, and tears, and are deserving of some well-earned recognition. They’ve broken land-speed records in coffee brewing and set new endurance milestones for keeping one’s rump in one’s chair. This is for…the writers. Continue reading

Five-Star Reviews Make My Day

I’d been having a bad day. I was trying to get too much done at once, the Madagascar hissing cockroaches escaped from their pen, and I’d allowed various disappointments to take up too much real estate in my head. Then I saw this five-star review in my Google Alerts. (Writers, do you use Google Alerts? Excellent tool. I’ll write more about it one day soon.) Anyway, even though a few hours after kvelling over the review I fell and hurt my back, reading this somehow makes the painkillers work better.

“Crisply written and filled with irony, The Joke’s on Me is fun and witty with snappy dialogue sure to please those who like their romance with quirk and spirit. This is a great first novel and I hope to see more from Ms. Boris in future. I will certainly put Ms. Boris on my authors to follow list.” – Karen at The Parents’ Little Black Book of Books

Read the whole review here.

Win a Signed Copy of The Joke’s on Me!

With Valentine’s Day and spring training just around the corner, and to celebrate the impending release of the novel in e-book form, Goodreads is hosting a giveaway of one signed paperback copy of my romantic comedy, The Joke’s on Me.

The Joke’s on Me is the story of Frankie Goldberg, a former actress and standup comic whose life in Hollywood falls apart with an exclamation mark when a mudslide destroys her home. Hoping for comfort, she returns to her mother’s B&B in Woodstock, New York, where she spent her teen years making coffee, folding towels, and chasing after the handyman’s hot, high-school-jock son. Now she has to deal with the mess she left behind, her bossy older sister, her mother’s illness, and the family responsibilities she’s been shirking. And the handyman’s son, now a minor-league baseball coach, is back in town…

Slide on over to Goodreads and sign up to win for free! Giveaway ends Saturday, February 11.