Thursday, March 22, 2018

Name That Book!

Hello! Here is a fun game that everyone can play. Pearls and Lemons will be publishing a book in serial form, chapter by chapter. The book was written by Delaney Griswold aka Eric Crowe and Wendy Partridge Crowe.

Now that we have piqued your interest, we need reader help in several ways.

1) Name the book! We've had two names thus far and both have been busts. The first was "A Game Of Inches". We didn't bother to check whether the name was already taken. It was. That's a rookie mistake. The second name was "Mason Jarred" which is close, but no cigar. Please send your offerings to

2) Find the flaw! The book has made the rounds amongst some pretty intrepid readers. We know a lot of you! While people seemed to enjoy beginning the book, enthusiasm inevitably trailed off and we're not sure why. This is where readers can help. Everyone has an opinion. This is where you get to voice yours. Tell us where and why the book falls apart for you. Don't hold back. We can take it.  We're first time novelists, after all. We're not at all sensitive.

3) Share, share, share! You may feel right about now that the world is going to hell in a hand basket and you just want to escape. Well, you're not alone. Help others escape to the island of the newest, unnamed Delaney Griswold novel. The more people who read it the faster we will be able to fix what's broken, so please pass along to your friends. This is going to be fun. I think.

Synopsis: Book With No Name

The life Marilee Mapplethorpe chose as an epidemiologist working with  Doctors Without Borders had given her a great deal of satisfaction.  It fulfilled her desire to experience excitement, danger and make a positive  contribution in a part of the world far divorced from her privileged, first world upbringing. Despite its satisfactions, that life had eventually worn her down to a nub and left her so drained she had to admit defeat.

She retreated to her charming home in well to do Masonville, CA. There, the predictability and security of life in its hip, small-town setting was just what the doctor ordered.  It made it easy to recuperate, but that lifestyle had begun to pall. Marilee felt a need to shake things up a little. 

As Marilee soon found out, you’d better be careful what you wish for. A wild, dangerous, utterly unexpected series of events descended upon her quiet life and changed everything. First, an ex-lover’s Somali child showed up on her doorstep. Then an unlikely conglomeration of jihadists, white supremacists and an entire alphabet-soup of government agencies were hot on her heels.  For Marilee, whose idea of shaking things up was more like learning another language or maybe taking up a new activity, it was earthshaking.  She was thrust into a scary new reality that she barely understood and the threat was real. It was time for Marilee and an unlikely cadre of allies to start thinking outside the box, or they might end up in one.

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Big Six Oh

My birthdays have come and gone for decades. Precisely six, to be exact. They have been mostly pleasant, worry-free occasions. Different ages brought different traditions. In New York State, March 11th fell smack in the middle of mud season, so sometimes my mother and I would take a bus into New York City to the Flower Show. I went through a stage where I loved eating spareribs, and my neighbor, Elizabeth, and I would have sparerib eating contests, piling up the bones on our plates. One year in Middle School my friends gave me a surprise party. I was so surprised! I still remember the dress I was wearing.

My card from Trish

When the kids were little they would get very excited about birthdays, and mine was no exception. The drawings, cards and gifts from them were so precious. They still are. I was always sanguine about my advancing age, no matter what decade. There was a benefit to the aging; I had learned something, I was stronger. Life seemed to be as it was meant to be. I didn't really question it too much.

I must admit I have struggled with the prelude to turning 60. I've always believed, and often stated, that life is one long series of identity crises. Cognitive dissonance is the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs. I think I have age dissonance. My literal age is at odds with my interior life and my vision of myself.

I am very grateful for my good health. The adage that every day above ground is a good day makes sense to me, although I'm never going to go under the ground. I plan to be cremated and have my ashes scattered. You heard it here, folks. I have learned the hard way that afterlife choices must be written down. Don't leave it to your survivors to make choices for you.

I have a lot of associations with sixty-somethings. White hair, retirement, social security, Medicare, senior discounts, forgetfulness, going to bed early. Oops. I've just described my husband! He's seven years older. Nothing personal, but I look at him and think there's no way I'm going to be like that in seven years! All this talk of "sixty is the new forty" is the baby boomer way of trying to remain pioneers. Who are we kidding? We're not invincible. Two of my former flames have already died.

It's not the number sixty that bothers me, per se. It's more that you add fifteen years and all of a sudden you're seventy-five years old. Boom. I play tennis with quite a few lovely women that age and they are an inspiration. They're in great shape, and because they're retired they have time to work hard on their fitness. No offense, ladies, but I'd still rather go back fifteen years to forty-five. I don't think I appreciated it enough at the time, but now it seems so cute and young! I'm sure when I'm looking back at sixty I'll feel the same way.

Now that the birthday has come and gone I've gotten my mind right on the subject. I was dragged into this decade with lots of love and care. Friends and family from near and far sent me good wishes. I had a very special spa day with my three girls. Eric made a paella dinner for all of us. 

Love this card made by Pam J. Especially my new photoshopped body!

At the end of the evening my daughter, Lana, said something that really gave me perspective. She pointed to my granddaughters who are 16 and 19 months. She said, "Mom, in fifteen years Lila and Sally will be sixteen years old." I thought about that for a moment. They will be in high school, going to prom, driving or whatever 16 year olds will be doing then. I thought about all the changes they will go through and the life they will live between now and then. It really does seem like a long time.

My mom and aunt are 84 and 88 years old. I come from hearty stock. If it weren't for the damn cigarettes I'm sure my father would still be alive. It's going to be all right. Like we used to say to the kindergarteners: "You get what you get and you don't get upset." These are the good, old days.