Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis by Irene Woodbury-Interview, Excerpt, Giveaway: Featured Author

Synopsis of  A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis
   Published by SnyergEbooks, August 2011

      This darkly funny novel describes Wendy Sinclair’s spin-crazy life in Las Vegas after she impulsively decides to not return to Houston following a bizarre girls’ weekend in 2005. 

          The confused, unhappy 45-year-old newlywed soon rents a ramshackle apartment in a building filled with misfits; wallows in a blur of spas, malls and buffets, and, ultimately, becomes a designer of cocktail waitress uniforms and an Ann-Margret impersonator in a casino show with Elvis. 

          She also hangs with some pretty colorful characters.  Paula’s her bold, brassy glamazon BFF who’s looser than a Casino Royale slot.  Maxine’s her saucy former-Tropicana-showgirl boss.  Paige and Serena are two twenty-something blackjack dealers she shops, gambles, and clubs up a storm with.  Major crushes on a hunky pilot and sexy former rock star are also part of the mix.   

    And then there are the phone fights with Roger, Wendy’s workaholic husband waiting impatiently in Houston.  Their clashes are louder and more raucous than a hot craps table at Caesar’s!   Does she go back to him, or does her midlife crisis become a midlife makeover? 

Now available on:  Amazon Kindle  |  | Books  |  | Goodreads  |  |  | Barnes & Noble  

Enter below and Comment for a chance to win a digital copy of A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis. The more comments the more winners! This giveaway ends Oct. 31st 11:59PM CST. 

       By Irene Woodbury
Excerpt from Chapter 18: 
    Roger and Wendy Argue in Las Vegas

           I reached for him, but he backed away. 
           “Wendy, I’ve had it up to here with this Vegas crap,” he lashed out, throwing his arms up.  “I want you to start packing right now and come home with me!  This has gone on long enough.  What the hell are you doing living in this fleabag halfway house filled with transients, the misbegotten, and a bunch of misfits on their way down?  I sat in your lobby for two hours and got a good look at some of the scum crawling around here.  And those weirdo managers and midgets putting up the trashy Christmas things.  Do you really want to be part of their warped, sicko world? 
           “Come on, it’s time for us to go home and get the house and our lives in order.  Everything’s chaotic and up in the air with you here.  My life’s on hold till you come back.  I can’t move forward, backward, or any other way.  I’m stalled indefinitely till you get your act together and come home!” 
           Like a limp rag doll with the stuffing knocked out of it, I crumpled onto the couch while he thundered on. 
           “Why did we get married if we’re going to live in different cities?  Tell me.  Why did we get married if you can’t go to something like the Wiggin Ball with me--and I end up taking Lisa--and it gets splashed all over the society pages--and you see it on the web and throw a jealous tantrum?  What the hell do you expect me to do?      
           “Meanwhile, you’re flying off to Wyoming with some pilot you ran into at the vegetable bin!  And I’m supposed to accept that with no questions asked?  Does that sound fair?  No.  I’ve had enough.  Come on.  I’ll help you pack so we can clear out of here.  This marriage is not going to become collateral damage in your midlife crisis.” 
           “Collateral damage in what midlife crisis?”  I shrieked, jumping off the couch and getting in his face.  “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about!  There’s nothing wrong with me.  What part of I’m not having a midlife crisis don’t you understand? 
           “News flash:  I’m not leaving Vegas, honey.  Today, tomorrow, or anytime soon.  I can’t.  I’ve wanted to be a designer all my life, and I finally get this chance to make 1,000 uniforms for an entire casino of cocktailers in a major market.  I’d be crazy to walk away!  It may sound trivial to you, but it’s a big deal to me.  I’m in showbiz now big-time.  Get used to it.  The casino believes in my talent.  My boss thinks the dresses are going to be fabulous!  I’ve signed a contract, plus I’m still onstage a couple nights a week in this Ann-Margret gig.”
           “I know all about your jobs.”  Roger shouted, grabbing my arm and pulling me toward him.  “Quit both of them!  You can do better in Houston.  I’ll buy you out of the damn contract.  Come on…we’re newlyweds, for Chrissakes!  You’ve been here six months.  That’s long enough! 
           “Do you really want to live in a town where the mayor was a defense lawyer for the Mob and half the people on the street look like they’re out on bail or day passes?  Do you really want to live in a city with the highest suicide rate in the country?  And why do you think that is?  Maybe it’s because most people can’t find happiness in a town where pole-dancing, Carrot Top, and building implosions are considered art forms.  Maybe people need more than that to get them up in the morning and keep them going.  No wonder everyone’s depressed in this putrid desert hellhole!” 


How did you start your writing career?

When my husband and I would travel to Europe for vacations, he would try to get me to write travel stories.  I didn’t want to because I was a full-time student at the time, and I did enough writing during the semester.  I finally agreed to help him do a story in London in 2000.  The next thing I knew, I had written 35 pages, and I wouldn’t stop!   I took over the story, and I loved every minute.   That was the beginning of my writing career.

Tell us about a favorite character from a book?

I love Emma Bovary in Madame Bovary because she’s so vulnerable and makes so many mistakes.  She marries a dull country doctor, and somehow believes he will fulfill all her romantic fantasies.  When he doesn’t, she goes into a depression and starts looking for attention from other men.  They give it to her, but they are using her, and she ends up getting hurt.   Emma is also a compulsive shopper.  She buys extravagant things for her house and dresses for herself.  She is devastated by the men she falls in love with, and drives her husband into financial ruin with her spending.  She’s also a negligent mother to her daughter.  Emma is an intelligent, imaginative, sensitive character, but she becomes a victim of her own fantasies—and commits suicide at the end of the book.  I feel so sorry for her. 

What was your first sale as an author?

I sold my first travel story to the Los Angeles Times in 2000.  It was the London story I mentioned above.  I was so excited.  It was a great experience—writing it, selling it, and seeing it in print.

When in the day/night do you write?  How long per day?

I write from 10 in the morning till noon.  Then, from 3 to 7 pm.   I don’t like to work for long stretches of time because I lose some of my freshness after 3 hours.  I can still work, but I feel the quality goes down.

Do you listen to music while writing?  If so, what?

I listen to 60s’rock-pop:  the Critters, Grass Roots, Zombies, Peter and Gordon, the Dave Clark Five.  The 60s were a great decade.   There was innocence, creativity, and a sense of revolution.  Does it get any better than that?
What is your favorite meal?

A gluten free pizza with sliced onions, tomatoes and crushed garlic.  Yesss!

Tell us about your favorite restaurant?

I like the Mellow Mushroom in Denver because the pizza is great, and there are many televisions with all kinds of sports on them.  I never get to watch sports at home, so I love restaurants with comfortable seating where you can watch baseball or football.  It’s relaxing, a total escape from writing.

Do your friends think you’re an introvert or an extravert?  Why?

My friends think I’m an extravert because I talk a lot.  But I only talk a lot because I’m a shy, nervous introvert.

Thanks so much for taking time out to visit today.  It's been great finding out a little more about and your book!

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