Monday, December 27, 2010

Lorelle Marinello Debuts with a Tale Steeped in the South

I've known Lorelle Marinello since 2003, our first year of being Golden Heart finalists. So I'm excited to host her today to talk about her debut novel, Salting Roses.

Tell us a bit about Salting Roses.

SALTING ROSES tells the story of Gracie Lynne Calloway, an Alabama girl who discovers on her twenty-fifth birthday that she is the kidnapped daughter of a late New England financier and heiress to an enormous fortune.

Gracie has grown up under the notion that she was the abandoned love-child of her Uncle Ben’s runaway niece. She suffered mightily for her questionable ancestry over the years and has found herself a quiet niche as a bookkeeper in the local market where she can fly comfortably under the radar of the town busy bodies. But when the press gets wind of Gracie’s new identity, they descend on the peaceful town of Shady Grove and proceed to turn Gracie’s life upside down. The folks of Shady Grove can’t understand why she’s not happy with the glorious turn of events. The handsome PI who’s been sent by her Yankee grandmother to charm her into submission is doing one heck of a job on her heart, which only makes her dilemma worse. As Gracie struggles to stabilize her world and come to terms with her new identity she learns that belonging is not about where you came from but who you are.

Your heroine, Gracie Lynn Calloway, grew up in a small southern town after being abandoned on a front stoop in a coal bucket. But on her 25th birthday, she finds out she's not who she thought she was and is actually an heiress. How did this story idea come to you?

In 2002, I had returned from a writers’ retreat with the Sacramento chapter. I promptly came down with a terrible case of the flu and was stuck in bed for a week. I read three books in a row and was looking around for something to entertain myself. I had recently settled my late father’s estate after a two-year brouhaha between warring factions of family members. I had plenty of time to think about people and how crazy and desperate a bit of money could make them. I pulled out a notepad, outlined the story, and wrote one chapter. It was two years before an agent spotted a log line for the story on the bottom of my resume list under works-in-progress and asked to see the full manuscript. I spent the next six months writing it.

What do you like most about Gracie? Is there a part of you in her?


Years ago, Jenny Crusie said, “Publishing is like dancing naked on the table-just get used to it.” Boy, is that true. There is a good deal of me in Gracie. It’s a bit scary. Gracie plays baseball in the story. I did grow up playing sports with boys. I was fairly athletic and loved being outdoors. I did take ballet lessons for five years, but gave it up for horses. Again, the need to be outdoors was calling me. Like Gracie I was often barefoot, in jeans and a T-shirt, and more than likely dusty and bedraggled. Gracie is also na├»ve in many ways. I have to admit, in that aspect, she and I are much alike as well.

But I also think we imbue characters with traits we wish we had. Gracie is strong and not afraid to say what she thinks. She’s smart-mouthed when she’s being put upon unfairly. I admire her sass. It’s not meant to be mean-spirited, but honest. I think it’s her honesty and naivety that charms Sam, the hero. Oh yes, and I happen to be married to an Italian from Connecticut, both of which Sam is.

You're a Southern California gal, but you like southern characters and settings. Why do they speak to you?

My fascination with the South and all things Southern confused me until I listened to Earlene Fowler, a mystery writer, speak at my local RWA chapter. Earlene is another author with Southern roots who was raised in California. Like me, she grew up listening to stories. My grandparents came to California during the 1940s when my mother was 14 years old. They came from Alabama via Richmond, Virginia. My grandmother was happy anywhere, as long as she was surrounded by family, but my mother and grandfather never really made the transition to California culture. I grew up hearing about how this and that were not done where my mother grew up.

My grandfather soothed his homesickness by telling me stories of his boyhood on Mrs. Brock’s farm in Decatur, Alabama where he boarded while his daddy ran a train on the L&M line. My papa loved to fish and hunt, and was quite the young inventor. Boy, did he have stories!

Along about my third manuscript, FAIRHOPE, the voices I’d heard throughout my life just sort of came flooding out. FAIRHOPE gained me attention in the beginning of my writing career. I signed with my first agent and finaled in the Golden Heart contest for the first time. It took me two more years to realize what had excited contest judges, editors, and my agent was my voice.

I was drawn to the voices of Mark Twain, Fannie Flagg, and Billie Letts. I finally realize why they appealed to me so much. I was listening for my grandparents’ voices. I missed them terribly. It was not just the voices but a way of thinking and considering things that set me apart from my peers. I always felt a bit out of sync with my friends growing up in the California beach community, which is just another reason why I can relate to Gracie’s struggle to fit in Shady Grove.

Your title is Salting Roses? What is the significance and meaning of that title?

The original title was WALTZING WITH ALLIGATORS, which seemed like a good title to illustrate Gracie’s experience with her new-found relatives. But I suppose alligators don’t create a warm fuzzy feeling in a women’s fiction novel so my editor suggested we look for something else. There is a reference in the novel to a feud between two neighbor ladies. They’ve been pouring table salt on each other’s roses to kill them. In some ways Gracie is caught in a similar battle with the press and the folks who want her to accept her new fortune.

If you suddenly found out you were an heiress to a large fortune, like Gracie, other than taking care of family and paying off bills, what would be the first three things you'd do with that money?

Boy, that’s a tough question! There are so many worthy places to put money. I work with special needs teens at a local high school. I see many places where their lives could be improved by more specialized regional job training and support for their families so many of the children would not be put in institutions while it they can still live at home.

We have an epidemic of mentally handicapped folks on the street who need medical help, job training, and homes.

Cancer, diabetes, and autism research come high on my list of things we need to work on. I’d like to see progress made on these rampant diseases in my lifetime.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a Southern Gothic novel set in Louisiana titled THE PRINCESS OF POSSUM HOLLOW. The story has a mystery at its core. The heroine’s mother, a descendant of the French aristocracy, was thought to have been murdered by the gardener many years ago, but her body was never found. The gardener is back in town and the heroine wants the truth and will make a deal with the devil to get it.

There’s an old estate with world-class garden gone to ruin, the gardener’s son-a handsome lonely arborist who talks to trees with magical results, his mysterious Native American grandfather who knows the bayou like the back of his hand, and a peacock named Chuck who has heroic qualities. Like SALTING ROSES, it’s got a little bit of everything, mystery, humor, and romance.

Lorelle is giving away a copy of Salting Roses today to one commenter today. What she wants to know is: How would inheriting a huge fortune change your life?

To learn more about Lorelle and her work, visit her website.

71 comments:

Helen said...

Is he coming to my place

have Fun
Helen

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Lorelle - Welcome to the lair!

Your story sounds absolutely fabulous. I love the tilte - very unique and intriguing.

So how would all that money change my life? Probably not a lot. My husband could retire and we could travel to far and distant places, but I'd still be tied to a computer (grin). Can't stop the stories - you know? I have a sister with mental disabilities. I'd buy her a house and get her all the support and assistance she could want. I'd give a lot of the money away because easy found money is detrimental to kids - I think. So I guess that's how I'd use it. Maybe.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Helen - The GR is yous for the day. Any plans? I wonder what the rooster would do with a fortune? That's a lot of chicken feed.

Helen said...

Well we are having a relaxing day today reading and watching the cricket on TV and of course the fridge is still full of leftovers so there is plenty to eat, and yes Donna all that money and the GR makes you wonder what he would do with it LOL.

Hi Lorelle
This books sounds great and I too love the title thanks Trish for inviting Lorelle along today.

Would that much money change my lfe yes it probably would for one thing I wouldn't have to work I could retire YAY and then I would have more time to read but I don't think it would change me personaly although I am sure I would be more relaxed if anything.

Congrats on the release Lorelle I will be keeping my eye open for this one.

Have Fun
Helen

Lorelle said...

Hi Donna!

Thank you so much for having me!

The premise of SALTING ROSES was intended to get folks thinking about how they value money and the effect large amounts would have on their lives.

For those of us cursed with the creative bug, money would mean more time to create. I'm all for that!

But, in my experience I think you are right about kids and too much easy money being a possible source of trouble.

In SALTING ROSES, Gracie is suspicious of money because she has been snubbed by wealthy members of the community. When her fortune changes, so do their attitudes, which makes her even more leery of accepting her inheritance. The hero has been hired to talk her into her new role. He has his hands full!

Cybercliper said...

"brouhaha" is one way to describe it - I've seen 'em show up at the funeral with U-hauls attached and once watched two aunts come to blows almost upsetting the casket at a layin' in over the ugliest lamp you ever seen.

In my mind, money only makes you more of what you always were - if you were a butt before - you'd probably be a bigger butt afterwards. On the other hand if you were always a generous giving person, money would just let you be more so.

Receiving a big inheritance wouldn't change me one bit - mostly because I'd give it away as fast as I could.

Lorelle said...

Hi Helen!

Thanks for stopping by!

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

SALTING ROSES debuts today in Target's emerging author section. I must make a trip out to see it on the shelves! It rained again last night and we are still dealing with flooding in low areas so it may be a bit tricky getting off my mountain.

Nas Dean said...

Hi Lorelle, Congrats on the new release. I once read a romance where two warring florists in a small town put salt around each others rose plants!

I don't think coming into money would change me much...most probably I'll fulfil all relatives/neighbours needs (put educational needs at the top of the list)and save some for myself for a rainy day.

nas_dean@ymail.com

Cath's Chatter said...

Hiya
I'd like to think that it wouldn't change me too much, unfortunately it would change 'my extended family' hugely as they only want to know you when you have something they want and money would be like honey to bees!!!!
If I could send my kids to university I'd be happy:)

Kim in Hawaii said...

I would lure the Cabana Boys away from the Liar (I don't believe the Golden Rooster could be bought).

And then I would put them to work, performing community service for military families.

Mele Kalikimaka!

SiNn said...

good question honestly if i had a big inheritance how would it change me well id pay of f back bills make my folks life better other then that it wouldnt change me id live the same way i do now with out all the worry as i do now

Kirsten said...

It would give me stability. I could get a nice house and a small car. Don't have to worry so much about bills.

I could help my family out. Get them (and myself) the best medical care if needed... Gosh that would be great.

We could even go on a nice vacation. To France or Italy someplace warm and lovely.

barb said...

Did you have any tim tams left for GR Helen

Congratulations on your book Lorelle..... I don't think having extra money would make a lot of difference...as I am retired and can read when I want it might mean we could travel a bit further like visiting the relatives in the UK

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Oh it sounds like a lovely story Lorelle. I am from WV and the northerners consider me southern and the southerners consider me a northener, I just say I am a hillbilly and let it go.......LOL

I would like to have more family, the money's great but to have someone to care of you, just cos you are their blood. That would be cool. Having a fortune would maybe make me less nervous. It always feels like I am one step away from financial disaster, or at least it does when I am paying bills. Other than paying off the house and those bills and getting a dependable vehicle I would maybe take an extended time off from work, possibly permanently depending on how much money we are talking about. I was to spend time with my son.

Maureen said...

What an interesting idea for a story. I have talked to plenty of people who have had family squabbles over money so I would suppose larger amounts cause more problems. I think a large amount of money would change my life to some degree.

Gannon Carr said...

Hi, Lorelle! Salting Roses sounds fantastic, and I am putting it on my TBB list immediately! As a southern girl, I can appreciate all that you mentioned. My grandparents told great stories, and I never tired of hearing them.

Of course, inheriting a fortune would change anyone's life. I think having the freedom to travel wherever and whenever I wanted would be fun. But having the ability to help others would bring me immense satisfaction.

Laney4 said...

I can tell you how it wouldn't change me. I would still drive not-new cars (as it's more economical), I'd still have a mending pile (but perhaps have someone else mending it , as I don't like shopping for new clothes - the clothes wouldn't wear out, though, before passing on to others), I'd still eat at home more than eating at restaurants (as it's healthier, so perhaps I'd hire a cook/chef), and I'd still help family/friends (although in more ways).

I'd also do what I'm doing now: give to charities that "I" want to give to rather than those that approach me. I would imagine that charities - as well as liars and cheats - would be crawling out of the woodwork to approach people who have tons of money, and I would hope not to get sucked in.

Oh oh! I've got it! I would make that a seamstress noted above, and I'd have her/him(?) MAKE my clothes so they fit well. I am 5'10" tall with a 37" inseam, and the stores that DO carry longer pants cater to the skinny people. I am not - nor ever will be again - skinny. I would love to have someone make me clothes the right length and fit. I am tired of settling for men's track pants (for sports) that go way up in the front and way down in the back....

Gillian Layne said...

Lorelle, both the title and the cover are so compelling. Just beautiful!

Do you work on one story at a time, or have several going at once?

I am a slp who works with our special needs kiddos in several schools, so I know what you mean about the need for specialized training and jobs. Fortunately our small town is very supportive of our kids, and they have a community base program where they can go out and work each day. What a great way to spend your "found" money! :)

Besides taking care of both our parents, I think I'd give money to Tom's shoes. My daughters think his program is great. And I'd make sure our local library always had everything it needed.

Margay said...

Wow, this book sounds good! Definitely on my list for reads of 2011!

So, what would I do with the money? I'd makes sure my daughters would never have to worry about anything again - first thing I'd do is set up trust funds for them. Then, I'd make sure that my mom and siblings were taken care of - and then I'd finally go to England, Ireland, Scotland and France to trace my ancestors, a dream I've had for years.

Margay

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Helen, congrats on nabbing the bird. Maybe he can help you clean up after the holiday. :)

Donna, my hubby would retire too and be able to spend his time doing all the things he likes to do. And we'd hit the road a fair amount too.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Helen, seems like the ability to retire is a popular answer. I think the great thing about a monetary windfall like this would be freedom -- to quit a job, to travel, to give to needy causes, etc.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Lorelle, glad you've made it from water-soaked SoCal. You're right -- that kind of money can have both positive and negative sides. I, too, don't think "things" should come too easily to kids. I don't think they appreciate them as much.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Cybercliper, I think you're right about the money magnifying the type of person they already were. I always think it's so crazy when relatives start fighting after someone dies.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Nas, lovely thought about putting the educational needs on top of the list. So important.

Cath, that's sad that the relatives would change. I've always thought that that must be the hardest part of being a lotto winner -- people start coming out of the woodwork.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Kim, LOL about luring the Cabana Boys away. Very good job for them though.

SiNn, I love how so many people are saying that the money wouldn't change them or how they live much. That speaks volumes about the lovely Bandita Buddies.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Kirsten, I think that vacation sounds wonderful. Anyplace warm sounds great right now.

Barb, visiting your relatives in the UK sounds like a nice use of the money.

Dianna, it would be wonderful to pay off the house. I know that's one of the first things I'd do.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Welcome to the Lair, Lorelle!! I am soooooo excited for you and can't wait to read Salting Roses !!

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Maureen, it's unfortunate we've all heard these family squabbles over money, isn't it?

Gannon, the ability to give to worthy causes would be awesome.

Laney4, great comments. I like my current car, but when I needed another I think I'd buy a Nissan Leaf and a hybrid something for the hubby.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Gillian, wonderful causes to give to.

Margay, the genealogy trip to Europe sounds fantastic.

PJ said...

Hi Lorelle! I love the sound of Salting Roses! It's going on my "to buy" list and I got a lovely B&N gift card for Christmas so I'll be getting it soon! *g*

Having a lot of money would let me help my family and the causes that I work with like our local Hospice House, animal rescue, the children's home and more.

My niece recently married and just this morning left Florida for her new home in Japan with her husband. One of the first things I'd do with the money is give my brother and sister-in-law enough to visit her, or bring them home for visits, more than once a year. I love to travel too so I'd use some of the money for that and one of my first trips would be to Australia to see the Banditas and Buddies there then I'd pop over to Japan to see my niece!

Lorelle said...

Cybercliper, your experience sounds pretty close to mine-people running off with things they would normally have no interest in and no business taking. All the more reason for us to talk to folks before we pass and express our wishes in a living trust.

Your aunts coming to blows over an ugly lamp at a funeral sounds like a funny story now, but I'm sure it wasn't at the time.

Gracie sort of sees the money as potential trouble and worried about someone causing more trouble with it than good. Several of her attempts to do good deeds with the money backfire on her. Her worst problem is that folks treat her differently. She's been a nobody all her life then all of a sudden she's somebody. Everyone thought she'd drowned in the river with her kidnapper. Not only is she rich but famous too.

Blodeuedd said...

..hm, I would buy a lot of books ;) And I would really like to try to do what I always have wanted to do, become a writer

Lorelle said...

Gracie's problem gets sticky when folks who thought they should be included in the inheritance weren't. She also realizes even if she gave all the money away, peoples' perception of her has changed for good. She can no longer go back to the quiet life of being little Gracie Calloway, the girl with the meanest pitch hiding out as a bookkeeper in back room at the local market.

Change is uncomfortable in our lives, but sometimes it's what we need. A big part of Gracie's journey is learning to deal with the world around her and making independent decisions.

There's a character, Artie Dubois, in the story who plays her mentor. He's an old sax player whose lungs have gone south, but he's been Gracie mother and father pretty much all her life. He's the source of Gracie's wisdom, but he's also the thorn in her side, pushing her to do better.

I love Artie! I have to admit he's one of my favorite characters in SALTING ROSES. Do you all have someone in your lives who plays the role of mentor?

Lorelle said...

Gillian Layne asked if I work on one story at a time. Unless I have a requested revision, I only work on one story at a time.

Since I acquired my day job 3 years ago, I've been trying to learn how to balance work and writing. It's really tough. Still haven't figured it out.

I'm a morning writer. The afternoons, in the past, were for chores, reading and reflection. I do think reflection is an important part of the process of writing, or even life in general.

Lorelle said...

Laney4, my daughters have the same problem getting clothes to fit. The sleeves are always too short! Don't even mention the dresses! I can't wait until the hemlines drop again.

My seventeen-year-old love vintage 50's dresses with the full long skirts.

BTW, the girl on the cover of SALTING ROSES has something very interesting printed on her dress. I didn't realize what they were until the final book came and put on my glasses.Take a close look . . .

jo robertson said...

What an interesting interview. Welcome to the Lair, Lorelle, and thanks for bringing her today, Trish!

Salting Roses is an intriguing title. I'd pick up the book for the title and cover alone, but the story sounds engaging.

Yay, Helen, it's back across the sea for the rooster.

jo robertson said...

Wow, what would I do with a bit of extra money. In this economy everyone could benefit from that bonanza! Probably pay of home mortgages of everyone I love since the housing market has gone so crazy, especially here in California.

Nancy said...

Helen, congrats on the bird!

Lorelle, welcome and congratulations on your release!

I loved Fannie Flagg's book Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe. I didn't think the movie version was bad, either, though the southern accents, as usual, needed some adjustment.

How would life change if I suddenly came into all that money? Well, the boy's college would be no worry, and grad school, too, if he wanted it.

We would travel more. The projects that need doing around the house but keep getting postponed would get done.

In keeping with my dish slut tendencies, I would buy crystal goblets to have six complete place settings in my wedding crystal. Maybe a serving dish or two in the wedding china.

That's probably about it. We would sock the rest of it away for the future.

Lorelle said...

Blodeuedd said...

..hm, I would buy a lot of books ;) And I would really like to try to do what I always have wanted to do, become a writer

Once you start writing, you may find it addictive. In my case, the writing bug sort of seeped into my blood. Now I get grumpy if I haven't written. But what a wonderful feeling it is to have written pages you feel good about! I had a great time with the characters of SALTING ROSES. I highly recommend giving writing a try, if you've got the inclination!

petite said...

Congratulations on this wonderful story, Lorelle. It sounds so unique and special. Inheriting a legacy would give me security and allow me more freedom to do things that I have not had the chance to do. Travel mostly.

traveler said...

HI Lorelle,
Your book Salting Roses sounds wonderful and appealing. Lovely cover artwork.
Money would be lovely for my family since we would appreciate it greatly. Trips, and education is where it is cherished the most.

Janga said...

Salting Roses is definitely going on my TBR list. It sounds like my kind of book. I'm an admitted Southern chauvinist, my academic field of specialization is Southern literature, and my mss. feature Southern characters in a Southern setting.

No amount of money would be worth the loss of my privacy. But if I could have the money and my anonymity, life would be easier. I'd build my dream house and take care of my family first, including the grands' education. Then I'd endow scholarships for women over 30 returning to school, set up an emergency loan fund for grad students at the university where I taught for 20+ years, and make generous contributions to my church, my local hospice, my public library, medical research, and Habitat for Humanity. If there were any left after all that, I'd travel--beginning with trips to Greece and the U.K.

Nancy said...

Kim, the GR could be bought. He just wouldn't STAY bought, ya know?

Nancy said...

Cybercliper, I have to wonder if the hideous lamp was worth serious money. We have a hideous lamp given to us by the dh's grandfather. As far as we know, no one else wanted it.

Nancy said...

Nas Dean, "warring florists" seems like such an odd image, but I can see it happening in a small town. Was this a mystery, by any chance? Maybe a murder mystery?

Nancy said...

Laney4, I'm also tall, though my inseam is a more common length. When I was younger, though, I had a terrible time getting pants and sleeves long enough.

I was very thin, something I'm unlikely ever to be again, and clothes that were long enough were way too big.

Now that pants are cut to hang down over the spike heels I never wear, they actually are sometimes too long. I love consignment shops, but the clothes in my size have frequently had their sleeves cut down. Or the pant legs shortened.

Nancy said...

Janga, I also would not trade privacy for money. I don't like the idea of dressing up just to go to the store.

Nancy said...

PJ, if you go to Australia, I want to go, too. You have family in such interesting places!

Nancy said...

Blodeuedd, you should write anyway. If that's what you want to do, think about diving in. You don't have to show the result to anyone unless you want to.

I would buy more books, too. Just what this house needs.

NOT!

Nancy said...

Hi, Petite--Travel sounds like great fun. There are so many places I would love to see and probably never will.

Nancy said...

Hi, Traveler--Isn't that a gorgeous cover?

Lorelle said...

Wow! So many great ideas for how to dispose of a fortune. You all are a thoughtful group.

Apart from helping those less fortunate than ourselves, having time to follow our passions seems to be a biggie for most of us.

Lorelle said...

My journey into writing has sparked an intense interest in my maternal genealogy. I would love to have time to travel like Margay and meet my family members in other parts of the country.

catslady said...

I'm so glad you explained the title. I found out that the people that owned our house before us put salt on their neighbors plants (and I certainly understand now that we live next to them lol). I liked your old title too!

As to the money, I would be happy to pay off our debts and my 2 daughter's debts (first home and college loans). If it was lots of money I would love to start an animal rescue for cats since I have done what I could for ferals and strays for the last 15 years!

Lorelle said...

Hey Suzanne! Good to see you here too!

Lorelle said...

Thanks, PJ! I hope you enjoy Gracie's story.

What a great group you all have here!

Donna MacMeans said...

LOL - changing my answer. A friend just sent me a 2011 calendar that features multimillion dollar homes. My friend sells real estate. Maybe I'd buy one of these babies - haha!

BJ said...

Wow what an amzing interview...I so loved reading it :0)
Now on to the question...aside from paying off all the bills...I would have to buy my dream house with land....an big OLD house like they use to make that creeks at night, with the big old rooms that you could just think of all the ghost floating through. I'd have a big house in the back for my mom since I know she'll still be living with me...LOL
I can just see the huge trees that have been growing forever..hmmm....Nothing like the plains of Colorado!
I would give to various places that I know need the money. Basically just live a happy life just like the one I do now just with a cooler HOUSE!!!!!

Lorelle said...

A House, with a capital "H" for Donna and BJ! I've been an old house fanatic most of my life. I particularly love Victorian houses. I want a tower for my office on one corner of the house with a view out three sides.

Houses always play a big role in my stories. In SALTING ROSES, the hero ends up living in the house of a snooty family who snubbed Gracie as a child. I had a great time imagining the details of the house as I wrote the story.

Cassondra said...

Hi Lorelle, and welcome!

Your stories sound absolutely lovely. I have such a soft spot for southern fiction. I guess it's my country upbringing. I relate to the straightforward way that southerners deal with real problems, though not to the way they gloss over backstabbing and gossip--those I just find sort of amusing--but they're great fodder for stories. I think it's one reason I couldn't live in (certain parts of) California. The culture is just so different.

I think I could handle anything East Coast more easily than I could handle the West. That said, there's nothing like the American South. I love its ways, and although I grew up in Kentucky, which really is only borderline South, I guess my roots are truly southern. My way of thinking bears that out, anyhow.

As to spending money, I've got it spent already. Seriously. The plan is all mapped out. Finish the house, build on, buy everything around me and landscape everything within sight (Yes, I have the plan drawn out) give a whole bunch away, endow some programs for art and music students, buy the local orchestra whatever it needs, Endow a fund to help struggling families pull themselves out of financial pits (teach a man to fish rather than giving the man a fish and all that) then start in on the local historic properties which are in distress. There's an old hospital from the early 1800s near me. It has Bed & Breakfast written all over it.

Oh yes. I can spend it. All of it.

I've been looking with hopeless angst at the TBR pile, determining if I can give some away unread, and now of course, I'll have to add yours, and move it high up the stack I'm thinking. This is exactly the kind of book which appeals for a cold winter read.

Congrats on your release, and I'm looking forward to experiencing that wonderful voice those editors and agents saw.

Cassondra said...

Congrats Helen!

He's back with someone he knows well!

Hopefully there are Christmas leftovers to stuff him absolutely so full that he can't cause trouble!

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Have left snowy Kentucky behind and am back home. Yay!

PJ, I think the people who work for Hospice are angels. They helped a lot when my mother-in-law was in her final weeks. And I have a soft spot for animals and animal rescue, so that would also be a wonderful use of a windfall.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Lorelle, that's interesting that your daughter loves the '50s fashions. I'm partial to the WWII '40s styles -- dresses and shoes.

Nancy said...

Trish, glad you made it home safely!

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Janga, Habitat for Humanity is another wonderful charity. Good choice.

Nancy, I've got to see this massive book collection of yours someday. :)

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

This talk of genealogy has me thinking that I'd use part of a fortune to hire a really good professional genealogist to help with tracing my ancestry, someone who could tell what of the information out there is real and what is bogus.

Louisa Cornell said...

Good on you, Helen! He is heading for warmer climes! Wish I could join him!

Lorelle, I am SO looking forward to reading this book! I am an Alabama girl, born and bred, with a few side trips all over the world as an Air Force brat and later as an opera singer. My Dad was the son of Pennsylvania coal miners and my Mom is the daughter of Cherokee and Creek share croppers. Sounds like I will have to get a copy for myself and a copy for my Mom too! She will love this story!

If I inherited a huge fortune the first thing I would do is quit my day job to write full-time. Then I would probably take a nice long research trip to England which would include some genealogical research into my Dad's Welsh and English roots.

Then I would fund a no-kill animal shelter in our county complete with a vet clinic to do free spay/neuters AND to provide inexpensive vet care for the pets of people on fixed incomes. It would also be big enough to provide temporary homes for animals that people have to give up due to eviction. So many people give up their pets and later find they can take them back, but it is usually too late.

Lorelle said...

Family roots are one of the things I love about the Southern culture. Folks are eager to add you to their family group. I found a cousin in Texas who is the great nephew of my great grandmother. He was able to give me copies of family photos that date back to my great great great grandparents!

My great Grandfather Orr is one of 13 children from Henry County Tennessee. I must have a slew of cousins I don't know in that part of the country. I was sorry they had to move the conference last year.

Lorelle said...

Hi Louisa!

I'm a big animal lover too. I worked for the humane society while I was in college and later for a vet.

I'm down to one cat who lives in our master bedroom and refuses to come out. She's nearly 20 and just too old to tolerate a newcomer. She's raised three children and feels she deserves peace in her elder years won't even acknowledge the existence of our dog who we've had for 8 years.

Lorelle said...

This has been a fun day! I want to thank you all for your warm welcome and having me in the lair!

I hope you all enjoy SALTING ROSES! The characters are near and dear to my heart. It's a light sort of read with humor, things to get you thinking, and happy ending with a sweet romance.

A special thanks to Trish for inviting me to share your day!

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Thanks for being with us, Lorelle.

Everyone, check in tomorrow evening when I'll post the winner of Lorelle's book.