Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Book blurb and excerpt for romantic comedy "Love, Albert" by Lynda Simmons

Today’s special feature is the romantic comedy Love, Albert by Lynda Simmons.

As she does a virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, Lynda will be awarding one randomly chosen winner with a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below.  To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too.

Blurb about Love, Albert:  
Sometimes all love needs is a road trip, a rubber chicken and a touch of magic

Vicky Ferguson loves her husband Reid, always has, always will. But with two kids to think about, it’s time for the free-wheeling, sports car loving pilot to put his feet on the ground and lay down some roots. Reid can’t imagine life without Vicky but neither can he see himself pushing a lawn mower or driving a mini-van. They’re on track to a divorce neither one wants until a last request from beloved Uncle Albert puts them on the road together one last time. 

Excerpt from Love, Albert:
“Which brings us to the issue at hand,” the lawyer said and opened a file. “I have here the last will and testament of Albert Ferguson. Handwritten but perfectly legal.” He leaned down and picked up Albert’s old leather suitcase. It was the only thing the old man ever carried – the true master of travelling light. Lyle set the case on the desk, undid the straps and slid back the zipper. Reached inside and came up with a pair of Groucho Marx glasses, complete with bulbous pink nose, bushy eyebrows, and a formidable mustache.

Reid sat forward. “Not the glasses,” he said, a smile already tugging at his lips.

Lyle nodded solemnly and put them on, carefully adjusting the nose over his own before picking up the paper again. The lawyer’s delivery was perfectly straight, if a bit nasal. “I, Albert John Ferguson, being of sound mind and body— ”

Reid glanced over at Vicky. She was staring at the lawyer, eyes wide, lips pinched tightly together, holding back her laughter.

“Do hereby bequeath all my worldly goods to my favorite nephew and niece, Reid Allan Ferguson and Victoria Ann Ferguson, to be used as they see fit. This includes one hand buzzer, one whoopee cushion, one pair of Groucho glasses.” He reached into the suitcase again. “One rubber chicken –”

“I’ll take that.” Vicky’s face turned pink when the lawyer paused and looked at her over the nose of the glasses. “For the kids,” she added, and turned to Reid. “Unless you want it.”

“Not at all.” He pointed to the suitcase. “But I’ve got dibs on the fl y-in-the-ice-cube.”

“One fly-in-the-ice-cube,” Lyle continued, and set it in front of Reid. “One can of worms—”

“Snakes,” Reid cut in. “They’re snakes.”

The lawyer slid the can toward him and Reid popped the lid. Three long colorful snakes sprang from the tin and flew over the desk, squeaking as they bounced against the walls. “They were always his favorite.” Reid smiled at Vicky. “Do you mind if I take them?”

She held up the whoopee cushion. “Not as long as I can have this,” she said, and Reid understood why Albert had loved her, too.

“You can go through the rest on your own later,” Lyle said, taking off the glasses and setting them aside. “But in return for his worldly goods, Albert has a favor to ask.”

Reid raised his head. “A favor?”

“More of a decree really.” Lyle cleared his throat and resumed reading from the will. “In return for my worldly goods, Reid and Vicky must promise to take my remains to Seaport, Oregon. ”

The chicken’s head bobbed as she sat up straighter. “But I thought he’d already been buried.”

“Not quite.” Lyle lifted a plain white shoebox out of the suitcase and set it on the desk in front of them. “He’s been waiting for you.”

Reid stared at the box. “That’s Albert?”

“Ashes to ashes.” The lawyer picked up the box. “I know it’s not much to look at, but it’s practical, sturdy, and holds up to five pounds of loved one, no problem.” He looked from Reid to Vicky. “The point is Albert didn’t want a fancy urn because he wasn’t planning to spend much time in it anyway.”

Reid shook his head. “I don’t understand.”

Lyle smiled. “Your Uncle Albert wants to fly one last time.”

Author information:
Lynda Simmons is a writer by day, college instructor by night and a late sleeper on weekends. She grew up in Toronto reading Greek mythology, bringing home stray cats and making up stories about bodies in the basement. From an early age, her family knew she would either end up as a writer or the old lady with a hundred cats. As luck would have it, she married a man with allergies so writing it was.

With two daughters to raise, Lynda and her husband moved into a lovely two storey mortgage in Burlington, a small city on the water just outside Toronto. While the girls are grown and gone, Lynda and her husband are still there. And yes, there is a cat - a beautiful, if spoiled, Birman.

When she's not writing or teaching, Lynda gives serious thought to using the treadmill in her basement. Fortunately, she's found that if she waits long enough, something urgent will pop up and save her - like a phone call or an e-mail or a whistling kettle. Or even that cat just looking for a little more attention!

Special Flash Fiction piece:

Mother’s Day
(With Grace’s daughter, Margo)

            “What time is it?”
            That line belongs to Edna. So does the sentry position by the main door. Yet for some reason, my mother has taken over both.
“Four o’clock,” she says, answering the question exactly as she has for ages. But where is Edna? And why are uniformed officers taping off a square in the snow out front?
Willow Tree Long Term Care is usually quiet, gentrified. But the lot is full of police cars, the front desk looks abandoned and every staff member I’ve seen so far has been running.
“You can’t do this to me!” someone, somewhere hollers loud enough to have my mother heading for the hall.
“Mom,” I call.
She turns and stares at me. Starts wringing her hands, something she’s never done before.
            “Karen comes at four,” she says.
            Karen’s the golden-haired girl, mom’s favourite. The one who got away.
            “Mom, it’s me, Margo.” I unbutton my coat and walk toward her. “Karen’s not here,” I add and try to take her hand but she jerks away. Points past me. “Who died and made you king?” she shouts.
            That was Edna’s line too. Said it every time the poor doctor came into sight. And sure enough, there he is, coming through the front door on a blast of cold air. No one seems to know what Edna had against him. Then again Alzheimer’s never explains and never asks for permission.  Just takes what it wants, when it wants and leaves the rest of us to catch up as best as we can.
            “I know you,” my mom shouts.  “I know who you are.”
            I raise a hand to hail him, to find out what’s going on. But he lowers his head and scurries off, heading toward the raised voices at the end of the hall. Unlike Edna, my mother follows, her own addition to the show. But I don’t imagine he’ll appreciate the extra attention.
            “Mom, wait,” I say and this time she lets me take her arm. “Shall we have a cup of tea?”
            “Quite a circus we’ve got here this morning,” Joyce, the Bingo Lady, says, hurrying toward me, hand extended. “Good to see you, Margo. How was your holiday?”
            “Fabulous. How could two weeks in Maui be otherwise?”
It was my first vacation in two years. “Go,” everyone said. “Your mother will be fine.” But the way she’s wringing her hands makes me wonder.
“Did my sister visit at all?” I ask.
            Joyce shakes her head. “I’m afraid not.”
            Figures.  I don’t know why I thought she would. 
My sister hasn’t set foot inside this building since we moved mom in two years ago, even though she was the one who insisted on Willow Tree. “It’s the closest place,” she said.  And also the most expensive. “My mother loves it there,” she likes to say. But I think Karen loves telling people her mother lives there, more. Loves to let them know which well-heeled resident her mother is rubbing polyester shoulders with this month. 
            But mom does seem happy and the visiting pets are hypo-allergenic, but more importantly the staff are well-paid and lovely. Except Joyce. She’s a volunteer, but equally lovely. A retired therapist of some sort, she comes five days a week to run bingo games. The idea seemed crazy to me, but she must know what she’s doing because all the residents love her games, my mother included.  If Joyce pokes her head into a room, the residents follow like she’s some kind of Pied Piper. It’s wonderful to see, a real testament to what kindness and empathy can do. And unlike the doctor, no one ever shouts at Joyce or tries to chase her away.
            “What time is it?” My mother smiles at me. “Karen comes at four.”
            “I’m not Karen, ma. I’m Marg—”
            And naturally she turns away, distracted by shouting at the end of the hall again. A man hollering, “This is an outrage!”
            “Don’t let your mother get you down, dear,” Joyce says, her voice as gentle as her hand on my arm. “Somewhere inside, she knows it’s you.”
            I almost laugh. My mother hasn’t known me since I was a teenager. But she’s sick and needs someone, end of story. “What’s going on around here, anyway?”
“All hell is breaking loose,” Joyce says, letting me change the subject and motioning me to the dining room. “They’ve cancelled all activities for bit. Let’s have that cup of tea, and I’ll fill you in.”
Once my mother is settled with tea and warm chocolate chip cookies, Joyce starts in.
“Strange things have been happening since you left,” she says. “Started with Edna’s death last week.”
“Edna?” I throw my coat on a chair and sit down. “But she always seemed so healthy.”
“Exactly. And after she was gone, out of the blue, your mother started saying everything Edna used to say.”
“What time is it?” my mom says, as if on cue. “Four o’clock,” she answers and starts wringing her hands.
Joyce takes those hands in hers. “Relax dear. Everything’s okay.”
And just like that, my mom stops wringing and picks up her cup. The Pied Piper in action.
“Then last night,” Joyce continues. “Your mother’s roommate, Bernice, got outside and froze to death.”
The cookie stops halfway to my mouth. “Got out? How?”
“No one knows. And with no video surveillance, they can’t trace her movements. Privacy has always been a priority here, but that’s bound to change now.”
            “Take your hands off me!” a woman shouts.
            I turn to see police dragging Gina Baron, the Administrator, past the dining room.
            “Help me!” she screams.
            Instinctively I leap up and Joyce touches my arm again. “This isn’t your fight, dear.”
And then I’m sinking back into the chair as a couple of nurses slip through the door, heading for the coffee maker.
            “What’s going on?” Joyce asks.
            “Another body,” one says.
            “And Gina’s going to the nuthouse,” the other one adds.

(If this is your first time reading this serial story from Lynda Simmons, you can catch up with all the segments here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lynda-Simmons-Author/149740745067442)

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Lynda Simmons said...

Thanks for hosting Lisa. Looking forward to another great day on the tour! Cheers

Unknown said...

Oooo... the nuthouse!

Anonymous said...

Very appealing stories!

Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

Melodie Campbell said...

Now it ramps up even more! This reminds me of my CCAC days (homecare)...brrr....you do 'chilling' really well.

Suzanne Hurley said...

Absolutely loving this flash fiction. Awesome, Lynda! And I'm also loving, Love, Albert!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for the next installment! They are dropping like flies. Meredith

joan said...

Every day something new turns up. I love it.

bn100 said...

interesting premise

Lynda Simmons said...

Thanks for following along, Trix! Cheers

Lynda Simmons said...

Thanks Melodie! Given the weather, chilling seems appropriate! Cheers

Lynda Simmons said...

Nothing scarier! Cheers.

Lynda Simmons said...

Thanks Suzanne, so glad you're enjoying both! Cheers.

Lynda Simmons said...

And still the plot thickens! Cheers

Lynda Simmons said...

Thanks for following along Joan! The roller coaster continues! Cheers

Lynda Simmons said...

Thanks bn100. Glad you're enjoying it! Cheers

Rita Wray said...

Thank you for the excerpt, I enjoyed reading it.