Series: The Lake Effect Series # 1
Audience: NA and Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Chick Lit, Lesbian
Formats: E-book and Paperback
Publisher: Sittin’ On A Goldmine Publications LLC
Cover by: Rue and Anne French
Editor: M. Scott Gilbert; Kathy Gorchesky
Pages: 312 pages
Date Published: April 21, 2014
Gwenn is a good girl, a responsible girl…a miserable girl. Her steady diet of vivid fantasies is the only part of her life she enjoys. She daydreams of new parents, a more exciting job and an actual love life. She struggles to run a business as The Organizer, while she stacks relationship carcasses in the closet of her own completely unorganized life. Her only real friend is her younger sister, Rachel.
Rachel is outgoing, risqué and happily gay. The only people who don’t know this little secret are her judgmental parents, Pastor Ed and Shirley. Rachel struggles mightily to dodge her mother’s constant attempts to set her up with “nice Christian boys”; while holding down a job at the bakery and keeping up with her rock-star girlfriend!
Gwenn uncovers a photo that brings her imaginary world careening into reality. She’s forced to ask herself if wealthy artist, Daniel Gregory is the answer she’s been seeking or a grand delusion.
Break-ups, meltdowns, family secrets, wild nights and finally a journey of self-discovery to exotic New Zealand keep Gwenn and Rachel stumbling toward independence.
So grab your parka and join the Hutchinson girls, as they experience the Lake Effect in Duluth, Minnesota!
Hiding in the bathroom, Gwenn remembered a far more embarrassing Halloween. She was barely ten and had just started fifth grade at a new school, several weeks late in keeping with the Hutchinson family annual relocation tradition.
“Hi, I’m Gwenn.” No one at the lunch table acknowledged her existence. “Um, sorry, I didn’t want to bug you. I was just wondering if any of you wanted to come to my big Halloween party?” Gwenn smoothly lied.
All heads turned.
“Cool!” Came from several directions.
“Yeah, totally,” chimed in a few guys.
“Awesome. What’s your costume, Jen?” Sarah Beth asked.
“Oh, it’s Gwenn, and my costume is Catwoman.” Gwenn embellished.
“Wow. My mom is making me dress like Alice in Wonderland. I can’t wait to come to your party.” Sarah Beth made room for Gwenn at the table, “Here, sit by me.”
Gwenn had rushed home, filled with the excitement of acceptance—finally.
“Hey Trixie, yer home early.” Pastor Ed patted Gwenn patronizingly on the head. “Take a seat in the living room. We are havin’ a family meeting.”
Gwenn felt her stomach churn. Oh crap they were moving again. She just made an actual friend. Why were Ed and Shirley so dead set against her having friends?
“Hi Gwenny!” Rachel beamed.
“Shut up, twerp.” Gwenn stuck her tongue out at Rachel.
Shirley took the reins, ”Girls the Lord has spoken to us and He has shown us that Halloween is Satan’s night. As good Christians we cannot sin against the Lord by paying tribute to the Devil.” She closed her eyes and folded her hands in prayer.
“What’d that mean mommy?” Rachel innocently asked.
“Halloween’s canceled idiot! No costumes. No candy.” Gwenn stormed out of the room.
Big wet tears rolled down Rachel’s chubby cheeks. “No candy!” She wailed.
But the torment was much greater for Gwenn.
Ed and Shirley didn’t have the decency to cancel Halloween at the Hutchinson house. Instead, they carved up some pumpkins and turned on the porch lights to lure the unsuspecting children. Gwenn hid on the stairs and watched through the banister as innocent trick-or-treaters came to the door and Shirley shoved little orange tracts in their treat bags and told them Jesus died for their sins.
Sarah Beth did not make room for Gwenn—ever again.
That’s when the emotional deformities started. The inability to trust completely, the gnawing nameless guilt and finally that unsettling feeling that someone was judging her every action—and Gwenn always came up short.
She kept telling herself it would change, that someday she would find the key that would unlock the door to her invisible prison and she would be free.
Gwenn jumped when the music stopped. She wiped an unexplained tear from her cheek, exhaled the yuck and marched out of the bathroom.
The party was winding down and Rachel had crossed the line between life of the party and annoying drunk; landing clumsily on the pain-in–the-ass side of that line. Gwenn shepherded her sister through the maze of glass and steel skyway corridors connecting the buildings of Duluth’s downtown.
They emerged into the bitter cold wind knifing across the harbor and Gwenn tried to hurry the procession to her car. Rachel was already quite numb from the alcohol, so the cold had little effect.
“Rache, come on. I’m freezing. I’ll take you back to my place.”
“No…home,” slurred Rachel, insistently.
“You have to open the bakery tomorrow? Rache, how the hell are you gonna—”
“No worries, mate,” Rachel spouted off in her best Australian accent.
“Oh, crikey!” Gwenn was keenly aware that in the order of Rachel’s sorrow-drowning inebriation, accents preceded vomiting and passing out was just around the corner.
“Fine. I’ll take you home, but you have to hurry.” Gwenn steered zig-zaggy Rachel to the Jeep and fishtailed out of the icy parking lot in a hasty attempt to arrive at Rachel’s loft before phase vomit emerged.
Gwenn beat the odds and managed to get Rachel into her own bed without further incident. She removed the alcohol-stained costume and placed it on Rachel’s dry cleaning pile. Gwenn kissed her sister on the forehead, tucked the comforter under Rachel’s chin and quietly flicked off the light as she left the loft.
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I always wanted to be a writer. I am a fairly introverted person and I always found it easier to express myself through writing.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
I think I officially considered myself a writer in college. When I saw my first article published in the university paper—it felt “real.”
How long did it take to get your first book published?
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
Writing is my full-time gig. However, I am a freelance producer. So I take on film, television or advertising projects if I can fit them into my schedule.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
“It’s Not My Favorite” An irreverent, modern-day, romantic comedy.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
I chose to set up my own publishing company. I think the market is changing and I like most of the benefits of self-publishing.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
I work on a plan of completing a full-length novel every six months – at least that is the schedule I strive to keep!
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
Readers can expect more of the same genre AND books from a new genre. There are two more books in the Lake Effect Series and I have two YA books and a children’s book on the schedule, as well.
What genre would you place your books into?
The genre that I wish existed, officially, is romantic comedy. It exists in the movie business but not in publishing. Some sites add it – but it is not an official category.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I love humor and I think a lot of people use humor in their daily lives (to make friends, to cope with stress and sometimes to keep people at a distance). My novels will always contain humor.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
I just love Todd! He isn’t a main character but he gets to say some of the most fun things. I get a kick out of the way he interacts with people.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I have been writing since I was three. Yes I am a freak. I think Mr. Rogers inspired me to write. I loved make-believe and wanted it to continue after his show ended.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
The answer is YES, I have OCD. J
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I do read reviews. Maybe I will stop at some point, but reader feedback is important to me. If the story the characters are telling in my head is not getting translated to the page—I want to know.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I have actually found that the title I choose before I start writing never makes it to the end of writing the book. The title emerges as the subtle pieces of the story come together.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Character’s manifest in my head with names attached. Place names are usually an amalgam of places I’ve been or read about.
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
Same answer as previous question J
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
Again, characters come to me as “real” people, complete with traits. However, as the story unfolds I discover more about them and their likes/dislikes, secrets, etc.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Not intentionally, but I wouldn’t mind if people pick up on the “Hey we’re all human. Love is a soul level thing – not limited by gender.” Vibe.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
Six months ago I would’ve sworn that I had to hold paper pages to feel like a satisfied reader. My recent experience with a Terri Osburn novel and my Kindle changed my opinion J when I got so engrossed I tried to physically flip the kindle over to reveal the next page…I was convinced. I love reading and I guess you can put anything with type in my hands—if it good—I will read!
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
The Secret Garden is my favorite book. I love the magic of the hidden garden and I love character arcs. I have read it at least four times – I even forced my son to endure mommy reading it to him!
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
As a filmmaker I have to plead the fifth on this one.
Your favorite food is?
Potatoes of any kind – French fries, home fries, mashed, scalloped…I could go on. Seriously, I could.
Your favorite singer/group is?
I love the way a song makes me feel and I rarely pay attention to the singers/bands. I know that is weird and I am in a twelve-step program J So I listen to everything from Immortal Technique to Mozart…when the mood strikes. (Even Country – don’t tell!)
Your favorite color is?
ALL. It is totally a mood thing – one day I could be in love with a purple shirt, and the next day you couldn’t pay me to wear it. Packing for trips is a bitch!
Your favorite Author is?
Depends on the genre—I have many favorites. But, if you put a Marian Keyes book in front of me I wouldn’t be mad about that.
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