Saturday, December 10, 2011

Another Rose for Flowers on the Fence!

Hey, y’all!  Today I’m collecting a specific flower – a Rose!  I’ve already collected one by the name of Roseanne Dowell, and today I’ve got a Rose by the name of J. Q. in the spotlight.  I am thankful every single day for the wealth of new friends in my life from such diverse locations, of such diverse personalities.  I consider all of them true gifts from God, and Janet, you are certainly one of those gifts!  And before I hush and let y’all enjoy her, let me say that her new short, The Good Neighbors, is hysterical.  Yes, I cheated.  I’ve already read it, and she’s sharing an excerpt too!  Please bear in mind that all proceeds from this short are going to support local food banks.  So without further ado – here’s J. Q. Rose!

Gail, thanks so much for having me as a guest on your delightful blog, Flowers on the Fence.  Please let your readers know I am giving away a PDF copy of my new holiday, short story, The Good Neighbors, to the winner of your random drawing.

The Entertainer
J. Q. Rose

I always dreamed of being Carol Burnett. She had the most entertaining show on television. She made everyone laugh and forget their troubles for that one hour through her crazy skits and loud, and I mean loud, singing voice. She, Tim Conway, and Harvey Korman cracked each other up and then tried to play through the hilarity. Those were some of the funniest parts of the show. She was/is a true entertainer, my role model.

As a kid, I dreamed of being a great actress and dancer. I think it all started when I was about four years old. My older brothers and I were the “entertainment” when we performed in my grandmother’s living room after family dinners. John laid down on the floor and Jim beat on his tummy like a drum. I took center stage and danced to the beat usually pretending to be a mysterious Arabian princess. I still remember the joy in my parents’ faces, the applause, and the hugs.

 As you all know, we have to grow up and deal with life’s realities. I had to be realistic so I settled for “performing” in front of classes of third graders as a teacher. (You who are teachers know how you have to entertain kids to keep their attention.) I sang in the church choir, accompanied the children’s choir, and played in the bell choir. Those were enjoyable outlets for me sending the music heavenward and filling my heart. But, not exactly entertaining like in my Carol Burnett dreams ….until….. I was chosen to play a maid and a Hooverville bum in our community players production of Annie.

I was chosen to be a chorus member. I did not have a speaking part as the maid, but I had one line as the Hooverville bum. For me, the very best part of the play and the scene I was most proud of occurred when I joined all the other bums at the front of the stage. We formed a chorus line performing like New York’s Radio City Music Hall’s Rockette dancers kicking and dancing as we sang. I finally fulfilled my dream in front of an audience of town folk and friends who raucously applauded our efforts every night. I think even Carol Burnett would have been proud of my “performance.”

Writing stories is an outlet for my aspiration to be an entertainer. I wrote Sunshine Boulevard for fun and shared it with my writing group. They encouraged me to submit it so more people could be “entertained” by my writing. I am so happy they did because Muse It Up Publishing released the e-book to a much wider “audience” than I could have imagined possible.

My latest short story, The Good Neighbors, includes the characters Jim and Gloria Hart from Sunshine Boulevard. I wrote it just in time for the holidays with the hope that readers will get a chuckle if not a flat-out belly laugh when reading the story.

I get a kick out of entertaining readers and making them happy through my stories. On the other hand, if you know of anyone needing a gal to do high kicks for a chorus line, call me!

Happy Holidays to everyone!!

Tag line for The Good Neighbors-- Jim and Gloria Hart, snowbirds from Michigan, always help out the neighbors in their Florida retirement community when asked. Who knew being good could turn out to be so bad?

The Good Neighbors Excerpt:

“Jim, wake up.” Gloria shook her sleeping husband.

“What? Am I snoring?”

“Shh…I hear something out back. Someone is out there,” she whispered.

Jim sat up in the bed. He flipped on the lamp on the nightstand and tilted his head to listen with his good ear.  “I don’t hear a thing. It’s probably a cat. Go back to sleep.”

Gloria tried to comfort herself by believing it was a cat making the soft sounds in the night, but her ears were attuned to the night sounds. Was that an owl hooting? A dripping water faucet? An armadillo passing the house?

It was probably nothing, she decided. Or was it? 

Gloria trudged out to the kitchen in the morning. It was only 6:30 a.m. and Jim was already on his third cup of coffee perusing his seed catalogs. She smelled the fresh coffee and like a zombie, headed for the coffee pot. She was not ready for morning yet after such a night of restless sleep and nightmares.

“Good morning, Sleeping Beauty.” Jim looked up from the page of cabbage plant pictures just long enough to greet her.

She heard the furnace blowing warm air through the floor vents.

“How cold did it get last night?”

“I had twenty-four degrees on my thermometer this morning. Good thing we covered up the plants and brought Paul’s plants home. Otherwise they’d be goners by now.”

“I could have sworn I heard someone out back last night. I couldn’t go back to sleep after I woke you up. But you were snoring in five minutes.” She sipped the creamy coffee to perk her up this morning. No decaf in the morning. She needed the caffeine.

“Alright. I’ll go check out back if it makes you feel any better. I have to get that other seed catalog off my workbench anyway.”

Jim frightened her when he slammed the kitchen door shut on his return from the shed. His face was twisted in anger. He didn’t have the seed catalog in his hand. Why was that so upsetting for him?

Find me on the Internet:

Buy link for The Good Neighbors—All royalties go to support local food pantries


  1. Good mornin' to you, Gail. You certainly started my Sunday off well with your kind words. Thank you, Friend! Before starting on the road to writing and publishing, I had no idea the Internet would magically connect us to new friends and open new worlds of opportunities and blessings. Thank you for the opportunity to connect with your readers today.

  2. My pleasure, darlin'! The internet has made this a Golden Age for writers. We are so lucky to be writing in an age when we can reach out and connect with each other from -- quite literally -- all the corners of the earth!

  3. I love your positive attitudes, ladies! And I have always admired, Carol Burnett. One of my fondest memories of her is the show she did at Carnegie Hall with Julie Andrews. What an odd but perfectly matched team they made! I'm so glad she influenced you, J.Q., and I'm delighted that you're performing now through your writing. No need to enter me in the "Good Neighbors" contest, Gail - I already have it. Happy holidays to you and all our wonderful internet friends!

  4. Janet, I've always loved Carol Burnett too! My favorite moments were the time when she played Scarlet O'Hara and wore the curtains and the other is when she played the secretary with Tim Conway. Tim Conway was so hysterical as her boss!!

    Gail, I always feel like we're sitting opposite each other having coffee and chatting and thank you for bringing us Janet. I learned a lot about her today!

  5. Carol Burnett was one of my favorites. You brought back a memory and I could hear her singing in that God Awful voice. LOL I too sang in the church choir, I'm sure our director would have preferred I not, but he never turned anyone away. I actually sang tenor and probably should have sang base. LOL I'd love to read Good Neighbors. I hope it's not as scary as Sunshine Boulevard.

  6. Awesome excerpt, Janet. The book sounds wonderful. Merry Christmas. I love Carol Burnett and wanted to be her too. Ah, well, guess one was only one.

  7. Hey y'all! Yes, everbody loved Carol Burnett! My favorite was the family -- what was the name -- she did with Vicki Lawrence as the Grandma. No, Good Neighbors isn't as scary as Sunshine, it's a perfect little jewel. You'll love it.

  8. Janet, so wonderful to see you here. Your writing makes me smile every time I read it.

  9. Great story Janet.....who didn't love Carol Burnett! Your story sounds really good! Congrats! always - the motivator!!!!

  10. Penny, don't forget you promised to Motivate on over to Flowers on the Fence yourself in the near future!

  11. Yes, yes, yes to Carol and the whole gang! They were a riot, and I think television became sadder when they went off. She forever will be a classic. :)

  12. Like Y'all, I loved Carol Burnett too. Her Tarzan call punctured many a happry listeners ear drums during the course of her cutting it loose. Mrs. Wiggings, yes, she was great, as was Eunice. Through the humor she also showed us grace and courgae when life threw tragedy her way.

    Kat and I have the TV version of ONCE UPON A MATTRESS. Back in her youth, she played the princess from the swamo on Broadway while starring on early TV at the same time. In the TV version, she plays the mean, but dramatically Bill Mackie attired Queen to Tracy Ulman's swamp princess. For us it's a keeper...classic Carol.

    Janet, you are one of the many reasons Muse is as wonderful a place to be as it is. You, Gail, Lea, Litsa, and right on laterally up and down the line create the magic that is Muse.

    Like you, I was a teacher and entertaing is a natural part of your lesson planning, but I am glad you got to be on stage. For me that came when I played the Night Watch in Romeo and Juliet. I looked weird as a man and sounded weirder with my little girl voice, but it thrilled me the same way it thrilled you to be up there emoting before a live audience.

    Loved your excerpt.

  13. What a thrill to re-live all your memories of Carol Burnett. I loved each one of her characters. Yes, she did have tragedy in her life and fought through it. I am still smiling from reading all your comments. Hello and thank you to each one!

  14. Janet, I worked backstage on Broadway for 10 years doing costumes. Among other B'way plays I worked was the debut production of Annie. I worked that show for 2 1/2 years and never got tired of hearing "Tomorrow." I mostly handled the orphans, including Sarah Jessica Parker. She was quite a kid! Even tho I went to college and studied drama, I did so on a costume scholarship, which held me in good stead. This is because I discovered that while I loved performing, the other part, such as auditioning, traveling, i.e. the very lifestyle demanded of an actress, was not to my liking. When I became a writer, I realized I sent people to places like Kathmandu, but I stayed at home in my nice warm apartment! For me, a so much better choice. I'm sure you are quite happy doing what you do now!

  15. What a turnout! Janet and I thank all of you for stopping in! It was a blast, wasn't it?

  16. Yes indeed. A great turnout, Gail, and on a Sunday too. I thought everybody would be putting up their tree, baking cookies, or shopping!! Really appreciate everyone stopping in.

    Heather, what an interesting career you had. You would recognize Annie for sure. Loved the songs too over and over and over and over...I think you made a wise choice rather than performing. Costuming is a creative endeavor. Do you return once in awhile and watch the Broadway shows now? Writing is an excellent choice, I agree.

  17. Great memories Janet. Carol was one of my favorite shows too. I loved it when Tim cracked Harvey up and he was laughing so hard he couldn't say his lines. Tim was great at ad libbing.
    Loved Sunshine Boulevard! Keep writing...faster.
    W.S. Gager on Writing

  18. Merry Christmas! I enjoyed the post and want to know what happens next for Jim & Gloria.

  19. JQ always makes me smile! I could see her standing in on short notice for Carol.

  20. Hi J.Q. *waves* Hello Gail, nice post, great site.
    Well, dear JQ, you left me hanging on that little I had to go get me one of the Good Neighbors for myself *smile*

    It sounds like a fun/awesome read...and for a very good cause.

    Blessings ladies.


  22. Thanks Kay Dee for your purchase.

    Hang on Hotcha, we'll announce the winner soon.

    Thank you all for stopping in. I must admit I have been gone all week, so I didn't make in here as often as I wanted to. Really appreciate your comments...