K is for Karla, my best friend for more than forty years…(thanks, Karla)
She’s always been there for me with advice and support. Since I’m an only child, I have some “fake” brothers and sisters, so she is my “fake” sister. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been reading books about families who get along so well, about brothers and sisters who all get along so well, even when they don’t. Like “Little Women,” with Jo, Beth, Amy and Meg. And romance novels where the heroine or hero is surrounded by a loving and sometimes quirky family. I always wanted siblings like that in my life, but I never had them. So I found them.
I wrote a short story with a heroine like Karla, and was going to put it at the end of “Tasteless Holidays,” but an editor found some problems with it and after a lot of soul-searching, I realized that it really didn’t do justice to the real person. I left it out of the book.
I have a heroine in one of my WIPs, “Geek in Disguise,” who reminds me of Karla, so I’ll share an excerpt here. Vanessa (Van) runs a dog-walking and pet-sitting service, and is mom to two dogs, a mini Austrailian shepard and a golden wiener dog. She’s the best friend of Nan Moskowitz, who’s an only child. Van and her real brother and sister sing in the family band called Van and the Sheepdogs.
Here’s the excerpt. I don’t know if it does justice to the real Karla either…hope it does.
Vanessa Brown walked up to the door of the white clapboard Victorian home, expecting to hear the “Addams Family” theme song any minute. There were leaves and branches all over sidewalk leading to the house. The windows were dirty and the pretty house seemed kind of neglected. The wooden steps had creaked when she’d walked up to the door. Van hoped the owner’s dogs weren’t neglected as well. She could tell a lot about a person by how they treated their pets.
Of course, she was there to help the owner take care of those pets, not judge them on how their house looked. She didn’t know if the man who’d called to request her dog-walking and pet-sitting service had a wife. It didn’t appear that way.
She loved her business, Lovely Daughter’s Pet Caregivers. She’d gotten to know lots of people—and their animals. She knocked on the door, wondering how this particular job would pan out.
No one answered, but she heard dogs barking from inside. She tried the doorbell and heard its loud ring.
Finally someone came to the door. A slender, black-haired man with warm brown eyes hidden behind black glasses answered. His dogs, a black and white sheepadoodle puppy, and a fully grown gold and white Shetland sheepdog, followed on his heels.
“You can call me Vanessa. Or Van.”
He opened the door, motioning for her to come in with a swing of his slim arm. The living room was homey, with hard wood floors, a comfy-looking tan sofa and white overstuffed chairs. The Shetland sheepdog made himself at home, sitting right on top of Van’s feet. The puppy went straight to Garrett.
Van appraised the man who had requested her help. He was dressed in khaki pants, a light blue Oxford shirt, a brown sweater and perfectly polished brown wing tips. He seemed old-fashioned and a professor type, probably because of the shoes and glasses. Van figured him as her complete opposite. She played in a garage band, Van and the Sheepdogs, on the weekends, and was kind of a free spirit.
What about you? Do you have any “fake” family members?