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Love on the Lido Deck
A Nautical Romantic Comedy
by Barbara Olliverio
Sharp-witted, always-organized Keira Graham has traded in her high tech career as a systems analyst for the whirlwind world of event planning. As she builds up her fledging business, she learns that her widowed mother has news of her own – she has a serious gentleman caller! Is Keira ready for mom’s new romance?
When she gets a game-changing opportunity to organize a major event on a luxury Caribbean cruise, Keira turns to best pal chef Alexandria D'Agostino to help recruit famous chefs who will offer classes for foodies looking for fun in the sun as they gain cooking know-how. The cruise becomes a rollicking adventure for Keira, her sassy assistant Juliet, the entire D'Agostino clan, Keira's mother and other surprise guests. And has Keira meet her match in charismatic Cruise Director Brennan McAllister, who could have something more than keeping everything shipshape on his mind?
“Honestly. Canasta?” Alex smiled lovingly as she watched her two men go toward the door and heard Marco’s gleeful laughter as Cam dipped him from side to side as they weaved through the regular clients, who laughed along with him.
I looked after him wistfully as well. I wanted to tell them both that it wasn’t my fault I couldn’t find as great a guy as Cam. Maybe they only make one in a generation. It’s not like I was jealous of Alex. No one was closer to me than she was, and when she found her soul mate, I couldn’t have been happier. It’s just that I had not been able to find anyone to connect with. Shoot, even my mother had found someone now.
My thoughts screeched to a halt.
“What up, Keira? I know that look,” said Alex as she swiveled her barstool back toward me.
“Drat, drat, drat, Ali.” I pounded my head on the bar.
“Stop it, Keir,” she said. “We can’t afford to rebuild this bar just because you’re having a bad day.”
My head shot up.
“First of all, the bar is six-inch-thick oak, and my head could not possibly do damage because the physics of the situation—”
“There.” She grinned. “I knew I could count on your penchant for correct information to pull you back.”
My eyes slightly welled up.
“Hey, come on.” She put her arms around me. “It can’t be that bad that your mom found a nice man to get serious with. Your dad has been dead a long time, sweetie.”
I took a gulp of my tea.
“It’s not just that she has a serious boyfriend, Ali. It’s who he is.”
Writing Isn’t for Sissies
Oh sure, we’ve all seen it in the movies. The heroine becomes weary of the daily grind and announces that she is going to write that book she’s always wanted to write. All of her friends and family are tentative, but loving and supportive. Fast forward through a few scenes where she is sitting at a pristine desk or cozily tucked into a corner at the coffee shop with just her laptop and a latte, then, bang, she’s at a book signing standing behind a huge pile of hardbacks, with a line of eager fans stretched outside the (brand name, chain) bookstore waiting for a signed copy. Her friends and family look on proudly. Minutes later, her agent is talking about the movie rights. That is exactly how it works.
If Hollywood documented most journeys a bit more accurately, they might look a bit more like this:
Our heroine finally decides to write a book. She may have thought about this for her whole life, or it may be a relatively recent dream. In any case, she’s had to think long and hard about taking this plunge. Chances are she is not independently wealthy, so she needs to worry about how she is going to pay for minor things like, oh, food and shelter while writing and that is what has kept her from starting her project before this point. When she finally determines a plan that can work, she tentatively announces her decision.
Well-meaning people are outwardly skeptical. “Are you sure?” one asks. “Don’t you realize how hard this will be?” says another. She assumes a brave-little-toaster smile and nods. With the support of a very few, she puts aside the doubts of the many and soldiers onward.
(Not so) fast forward, she completes the amount of research necessary. Despite the myth of the “muse”, she knows that writing is just as much a skill as an art. She studies the nuances, she learns the subject matter and perhaps takes classes or seminars. She wonders how Jane Austen ever did this in the age before computers.
Her desk is an explosion of notebooks, scraps of paper with random ideas for dialog, pictures ripped from magazines, reference books, good luck charms, chocolate bar wrappers, teacups, and other items that are essential to her process. If she moves her operation to the coffee shop for a few hours, she brings her computer, scouts out the seat near an electrical outlet so that she can make sure she will be fully charged, and probably has a backpack chock full of notes with her.
Manuscript complete, she edits and re-edits (then re-edits yet again – should she leave that scene in or take it out??) as she pitches to agents hoping for representation or decides to independently publish. In either case, going from manuscript to actual book takes roughly the same amount of time as gestation of an elephant.
She launches her book and works on publicity, including book club visits, signings at small and large bookstores and any other avenue she can manage. She maintains her presence daily on every social media site. Ah. Finally the glamour -- she is a published author! (Never mind the physical therapy bill for lugging cartons of books hither and yon.)
Running into some of the same people who were skeptical when she embarked on the project, she is excited and proud to let them know she completed the book. At last! Maybe they’ll acknowledge her leap of faith has paid off.
The response: “Oh. Nice…When will your next one be out?”
Writing just isn’t for sissies.
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