Monday, July 7, 2014

Live Love Laugh with Ute Carbone: Tens List with Excerpts

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TENS LIST

A Collection of Quirk

Where some people collect ceramic salt and pepper shakers, I collect quirky stories. I find them everywhere, in the news, on social media, from friends who know my predilection for these things. I’ve sprinkled some of them into my romantic comedies. Some I’m hanging on to for the future, you never know when they might come in handy.

Here are my ten favorites

1.   The whale blows up. On a cool late autumn day in the 1970s, a whale beached and died in Oregon. The authorities, who didn’t know what to do with the massive whale body, decided to blow it up with dynamite. The results were predictably chaotic, whale chunks flew everywhere. No one was hurt, but a car was damaged. The entire thing was recorded for posterity by a local news station’s film crew. It’s on you tube, just look under ‘blow up whale’. This incident became the basis for the whale blow up in The P-Town Queen.

2.   The whale almost blows up again. In more recent news, several dead whales washed ashore in Nova Scotia. Gasses built up in the carcasses and local authorities feared that, you guessed it, the whales would blow up. Several people sent me this story, as I am now a leading authority on blown up whales *grins*. I don’t think I’ll use it, but Saturday Night Live did a parody. Seems I’m not the only one collecting quirk.

3.   The shoe story. A friend of mine, who works for a charity, told me this story. It seems someone who owned a shoe factory donated hundreds of discontinued shoes to the charity. A generous donation indeed, until you hear the rest of the story; they were singletons. Single shoes with nary a single match among them. This became the basis for the singleton shoe story in Afterglow.

4.     The great escape.  A group of young men from Germany went on a trip to Australia. While there, they visited the local Sea World. They partied before the visit, apparently consuming large amounts of intoxicating beverages. The next morning, they woke to find three penguins in the hotel room. No one is exactly sure how it happened. I’m using a modified version of this story in my work in progress.

5.   Meat Bingo. In a town near mine, a local church has meat bingo once a week. Prizes include rump roasts and pork chops. This story made its way into my new release, Confessions of the Sausage Queen as Mother’s conversion to Catholicism on the road to meat bingo.

6.    The jaded history. The regional theater near my home, now beautifully restored, has a rather jaded history. In the 1970s it showed X-rated movies. This became part of the Rialto’s history in Searching for Superman.

7.   Road Kill. When I was in college, my aquatic ecology professor made a hobby of picking up road kill and taking it to the local taxidermist to have the carcass stuffed. He had a rather large collection of these treasures in his office. This became the basis for a bit mentioned in passing in P-town, of a local man who does the same thing, displaying his finds on his porch.

8.   Basement bowling. A church in my husband’s home town had a bowling alley in the basement. I haven’t found the right spot for this little ditty just yet. I may have to write about the ‘holy rollers’ local bowling team. And then I’ll probably find out they really exist.

9.   The lost tourist. As a tour group in Thailand got on the bus for a day of sightseeing, one tourist spilled coffee on her blouse. She ran back upstairs to change. Meanwhile, the tour guide took a head count and panicked when he was one tourist short of a busload. He and the other tourists began searching for the missing person. Meanwhile, the person in question came back to the bus and wondered what all the fuss was about. The tour guide, not recognizing her, what with her sporting a different blouse and all, told her someone was missing. The tourist joined in on the search. It took several hours to figure out she was looking for herself. I haven’t used this yet, but I will. Oh yes, I will.

10.        A cautionary pop tart tale. Back in the day, humorist Dave Berry wrote a column or two on this subject. It seems that pop tarts, when left in the toaster too long, will catch fire. And by fire, I mean conflagration. Flames will shoot out of the toaster. Do not try this at home. The pop tarts were the perfect way to begin a fire on P-town Queen, which led to the book’s explosive conclusion.



ABOUT THE BOOKS




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Title:  The P-Town Queen

Author:   Ute Carbone

Published:   June 2012

Publisher:  Champagne Book Group

Word Count:  65,000

Genre:  Romantic Comedy

Content Warning:  Mild language and adult situations

Recommended Age:  16+

Synopsis:

Nikki Silva feels like she’s blown up her life even as her brothers tease her about blowing up a boat called the Mona Lisa. Divorced, funding for her shark research cut off, she’s moved back to Provincetown to live with her father in her childhood home. Nikki hopes to regain herself. She’s written a grant proposal for the newly formed Massachusetts Bay Commission to fund a study that will get her back to the sort of research she loves. The commission is run by her ex-husband Ned, who would rather have a migraine than give money to his ex-wife.

Marco Tornetti wants to turn a hole-in-the-wall Newark spaghetti joint into a trendy bistro. His silent partner, Fat Phil Lagosa, wants to use the place to meet questionable people for questionable business deals. When Fat Phil accuses Marco of a double cross and has him taken for a ride by one of his hit men, Marco knows he’s in too deep.

Marco escapes the hit man and takes the first bus out of the Tri-state area, a bus chartered by the Greater Teaneck Gay Men’s Choir and headed for Provincetown. Marco figures that Phil would never look for him in Provincetown‘s gay community. But when he meets Nikki and falls hard for her, he finds that pretending to be gay isn’t as easy as it would seem.


 

Excerpt from The P-Town Queen by Ute Carbone:

In my lifetime I have learned, among other things, not to overcook veal and never to forget a woman’s name the morning after. On that day I added another little ditty to my list: never blow up a dead whale with dynamite.
Max Groper had figured it for a horror show and so had washed his hands of the whole mess and stormed off to his van. Nikki, too, must have figured what would happen, but that woman likes trouble, I swear to God.
“We’d better stand back,” she said, with the same amused mischief in her eyes that she’d had at Good Vibrations. The cops had, in fact, already pushed the entire crowd back, so Nik and I went to stand in the front line, so to speak, right where the lot meets the beach in front of the first row of cars.
“I wish I’d brought the video camera,” Nik said. “I hope someone is recording this for posterity.” I looked around and noticed at least three video cams trained on the whale, which was now being wired for a trip to kingdom come. “YouTube bonanza,” said Nikki. “I’m surprised that the folks from Channel Four aren’t here.”
“Maybe we should go wait in the truck,” I said. I had this bad feeling that flying whale parts wasn’t going to be like the fountain light show at the Bellagio in Vegas.

 

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Title:   Afterglow

Author:  Ute Carbone

Published:  January 2013

Publisher:  Champagne Book Group

Word Count:   69,000

Genre:  Romantic Comedy

Content Warning: Language, PG-13 sexual content

Recommended Age:  16+

Synopsis:

India Othmar isn’t having a great year. Her husband of thirty-one years has left her for their son’s ex-girlfriend. Her grown children have moved home. Her best friend Eva seems determined to set her up with every oddball in their small Massachusetts town. And her most significant relationship these days is with Cherry Garcia.

But India is more resilient than she thinks. And though it will take a broken arm, a lawn littered with engine parts, some creative uses for shoes, and a scandalous love affair of her own, she learns, much to her surprise, that her life hasn’t ended with her marriage.


 
Excerpt from Afterglow by Ute Carbone:

“It’s just one date.” Eva held out the package.
“Spanx?” I asked, reading the label.
“Don’t you watch the View? Oprah? All of Hollywood’s leading ladies are wearing it. It’s like a gym in a box. Tone without the trouble.”
I unwrapped the girdle-like contraption and held it up; doubtful it could do much besides make me uncomfortable. “And this man. This card you gave me. You called him?”
“On your behalf, yes.” I frowned at her as I’d been frowning at the girdle contraption.
“Well, someone had to.”
“Explain to me again why you won’t date him.”
“Rule one,” Eva said as though lecturing a child.
“Never date a man you do business with,” I recited.
“Correct. Also, rule two applies here. He’s a friend of Carl Phillips, who I dated, when was that? Anyway, rule two. Never date the good friend of a man you’ve slept with.”
“I didn’t realize that dating was so complicated.”
“Very complex. You’re a bright woman. You’ll catch on. And J. Hank is the perfect primer date. He’s a nice man, once you get past the whole prison thing.”
I dropped the Spanx. “Come again?”
“Strictly white collar. A few months for a little tax mix up.”
“Shouldn’t there be a rule about dating an ex-con?”
“Oh, for God sakes, India. Martha Stewart went to prison.”
Eva held up both hands as though she were the scales of justice.
“Insider trading, a little tax problem. Hardly the same as rape and
murder. And you don’t have to marry him. In fact, more than one
date is inadvisable. He’s just for practice.”
“Practice?”
“Darling India, you haven’t dated in thirty years. J. Hank is
good practice.”

 
 


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Title:  Searching for Superman

Author:  Ute Carbone

Published:  June 2013

Publisher:  Champagne Book Group

Word Count:  54,000

Genre:  Romantic Comedy

Content Warning:  Language, mild sexual content

Recommended Age:  16+

Synopsis:

Stephanie Holbrook has finally found a job she really loves: working as an assistant to Conrad Finch in a small regional theater that’s about three dollars and a power outage from being torn down. Stephanie wishes her love life would be as perfect as her job. She’ll be thirty on her next birthday and she still hasn’t found Mr. Right. According to Stephanie, Mr. Right has to be strong and brave, with great values and good looks. A guy a lot like Superman.

When Doug Castleberry shows up at her niece’s birthday party dressed as Superman, Stephanie is positive he’s not the real deal. Sure, he’s great with kids and he’s kind of cute. But he’s just a high school teacher making extra money by dressing up for kid’s parties. Hardly the strong, brave, and drop-dead gorgeous guy she’s looking for.

As the theater teeters ever closer to the edge of disaster, Doug proves to be a better man than Stephanie had ever imagined. Could he be the Superman she’s been looking for all along?


Excerpt from Searching for Superman by Ute Carbone:

As though her frustration had been carried across the airwaves, a white van with a castle stenciled to its side pulled into the Spellman’s driveway as Stephanie hung up. None too soon. She surveyed the damages. All the balloons had been popped. The presents had been opened in an attempt to restore order among the birthday guests. Wrapping paper was strewn across the floor in three rooms. Some of the girls were playing catch with a new Barbie doll. And several other children were using a new jump rope as a makeshift whip.
Steve had taken Max, who had somehow fallen asleep despite the ruckus, upstairs for a nap. Liz was attempting to clean bits of cookie dough from the counters and floors. Stephanie squared her shoulders, ready for a showdown with the belated Cinderella.
She marched down the driveway, ready to tell the Castle Creature just what she thought of abhorrently tardy behavior, when out of the van jumped Superman. He didn’t look so much like Superman as a man dressed for a Halloween party. He was too short for a superhero, for one, only a few inches taller than Stephanie. He was more wiry than muscular. He was cute, though. He had a full head of light brown curly hair and nice eyes. Not blue, like Christopher Reeve’s had been, but hazel. The eyes were looking right at her.
“Spellman?” he asked. When she didn’t answer, he smiled apologetically. “The GPS in the van isn’t working. And this development is a maze. I felt like I was in an episode of Lost. In which I was really lost. I figured I’d eventually run out of gas and Jane would have to put out an APB.” He looked at Stephanie with those hemlock eyes again. “Sorry.”
“You are not supposed to be Superman.”
“What?” He went to the van and drew a paper off the seat. “I’m sure. Yup. Says right here. Superman.”
She took the paper from him and crumbled it. “You are supposed to be Cinderella.”
“No.” He looked at her with a combination of horror and confusion. “Cinderella?”
“It’s a princess party. So you better have Cinderella in that van of yours.”
“It’s not my van. And, no, I don’t have Cinderella hiding under the backseat.” He gave her a no-harm-no-foul sort of shrug.
“Let me call Jane.”
Stephanie waved her cell phone at him. “What do you suppose I’ve been doing for the last hour?”
“Okay, okay. She’s probably... Let me go back to the shop, see what I can do.”
He turned to get back into the van. She gave his cape a tug. “You are not leaving. You can’t leave. There are twenty-five children terrorizing my sister’s house and you have to stop them.”

 
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MEET THE AUTHOR

Ute (who pronounces her name Oooh-tah) Carbone is an award winning author of women’s fiction, comedy, and romance. She and her husband live in New Hampshire, where she spends her days hiking, listening to music, drinking copious amounts of coffee, eating chocolate and dreaming up stories.


 


Giveaway Details:

There is an International tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • Grab Bag of goodies
  • 3 Winners will each receive an eBook of Ute's, publishers pick

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