Friends part 2

I got the word earlier that my friend, cover artist for my first book, “Tempting Jonah,” ex-co-worker and “fake brother” passed away on Sunday.

When Keith came to work at the newspaper where I worked, I found a friend immediately. The tall, blond young man fit right in with the rest of the quirky staff. One reason was because he remembered the theme song from an old TV show called “It’s About Time,” which I also knew. He also shared the love of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” that my late husband and I did.

I later learned that he was funny and talented. I can still remember how thrilled he was when I asked him to paint the cover for my book and what a beautiful job he did. And how he came up with my nickname and screen name “NutsieNan.”

He was about to give up on ever finding the right woman when Heather came to work for the paper. They were perfect for each other. I cried at their wedding and Keith thought that was funny. I’m thinking of the stories he told about his Uncle Pratt and how he called my mom a “cute little Jewish lady.” My friend, Gretchen, remembers him as a funny guy who laughed a lot.

Keith, you will be missed. And Heather, hang onto all these memories – they’ll help you through it somewhat.

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Short…& (sometimes)Funny Short Stories

I have sold more than sixty short stories. I sold my first one, “Sherman’s Law,” in 1994. I turned it from a book into a short story because when people read the book chapters, they didn’t see enough conflict between the hero and heroine.  It was about a judge who was receiving gifts from a paralegal, which turned out to be from his mother and the paralegal’s dad. The mom and dad were trying to fix up their children. Later I was able to add Judge Sherman and his wife as minor characters in my e-books, “Mr. Short, Dark…& Funny” and “Mr. Tall, Tan…& Tasteless.”

The Opposite

“Mr. Short, Dark…& Funny” started as two short stories. I wrote the sequel when people wanted to know more about Reese and Jay. After these got rejected, I made them into a book. Book sales aren’t doing too well, but I’m not here to w(h)ine. “Mr. Tall, Tan…& Tasteless” was a novella that got a “tasteless” rejection and became a book as well. Same thing with sales. “Tempting Jonah,” my first and only print book, also started as a novella. I wrote a sequel short story to “Mr. Short, Dark…& Funny” about what happens after the hero and heroine get married and have sent rewrites in and am waiting to hear whether or not it was accepted.

 

Setting

For awhile, I set my stories in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I live. “Sherman’s Law,” and the second story I sold, “Fine Things,” were set in Cincinnati. A lot were set in the fictional town of Mensocket, Maine (now Morganville, Maine) because that’s where my first book was set.

Root, Root Root for the Home Team

People like it when I incorporate the hometown sports teams, etc., in my short stories. In my books, “they” said I had to make up take teams because of copyright issues.

Book of short stories

I’ve been thinking of making a book of short stories (new ones). I think that might sell better than my two e-books.

What about you? Have you turned books into short stories, and vice versa? What are some of your favorite short stories? Do you include things about the town where your stories are set?

Nancy Goldberg Levine is the author of “Mr. Short, Dark…& Funny” and “Mr. Tall, Tan…& Tasteless.” You can find her latest short story, “Let Me Be the One,” the prequel to “Mr. Short, Dark…& Funny” at this website http://www.longandshortreviews.com/?p=12927

Parents

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that my parents were in the hospital and are now in skilled nursing rehab and my life as I know it totally fell apart. My mom fell on New Year’s Eve, and was admitted to the hospital again. The nurse said she had a cerebral hemorrhage so I was terrified. I thought that was what Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had. I sit here now looking at pictures of them from my digital camera and every time I talk to them, I love them more and more.
My friend drove me to the hospital this morning and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t expect to hear my mom talking and to find out that she’d eaten breakfast. But there she was, talking like her old self. I was thrilled to see her like that and I want to do whatever I can to make her life better for as long as she’s alive (which I hope will be a long time). She’s so funny and vibrant and wonderful. Her face lights up when I mention her favorite fast food place, McDonalds. She groans after she talks about having a party and inviting all of our friends, and then I ask if we can invite the hero of two weeks ago’s blog, Greg. “I guess,” she says. “But he’ll have to stay in the other room.” One of the workers at the hospital jokes about wanting to take her home.
Then there’s my dad. One of the workers at the skilled nursing home said he was so quiet that she wanted to call him Mickey because he was quiet as a mouse. He is, but in his quiet way, he draws people to him. I just talked to him and with all the crazy stuff going on, he wanted to know what I do about taking out the trash because he always did that for me.
January 2nd is the anniversary of their 63-year marriage. And I love them.