Author Dee Gatrell
We all have a bucket list. Mine simply took longer than I had anticipated.
You see, many moons ago a psychic told me I would publish a book, but I'd be much older. Much older I thought meant I'd be about 50. Huh! She didn't tell me I'd be as old as Grandma Moses. By the way, how old was Grandma Moses?
Over the years I spent time as a reporter at a few small newspapers. I sold articles as a freelance writer to various newspapers and magazines. I even had a story about my relatives in Chicken Soup for the Soul. Lucky for me, they were already dead. I'm not sure they would've found what I wrote about them, all true, as funny as the newspaper reporter who wrote about my story in our local paper did. But hey, everyone has quirky relatives, right?
Over the years I have sold stories to the confession magazines. Another reason to have many relatives is they make good fodder for short stories.
While attending college (when I was in my thirties) I had a column in a local newspaper called In and Around Winter Springs. It was rather boring, but about everyone I knew appeared there. My neighbors, Joyce and Bear, took a trip to visit relatives. He dressed as Santa, their son, Cubby, also dressed as Santa, and Joyce as an elf. I took their picture and they appeared in the Sanford paper. Other neighbors appeared when they had company, or whatever they did. We even made a movie for one of my college classes.
A movie on silent 8 M film. All the neighbors, I'm talking about probably thirty or so including the kids, dressed up as hillbillies and we had a shot gun wedding. No voice, just crazy people dressed up and dancing around. You know that Santa guy? He was the nerd forced to marry his real pregnant wife.
I did have one problem. I knew I could turn my camera upside down or whatever and my pictures would be fine. I didn't know that didn't work on the movie. I took it to my creative writing class and had to explain that the movie was upside down. And that's how we had to watch it.
In addition to my newspaper stints, I worked as an educational advisor at Seminole State College for many years. I received my AA there and later my BA from the University of Central Florida. I was in my forties by that time. I think I've always been a late bloomer.
Back to my bucket list. Even though I've sold short stories, I still wanted to sell a novel.
I just sold my novel, Sweet Sunsets, to The Wild Rose Press, which (imagine this) is about a dysfunctional family.
Here's a short bit about them.
Myrtle Sue Henderson, widowed, didn’t count on her mother-in-law moving in with her when her husband passed over. But Myrtle Sue’s loopy in-law troubles aren’t her only family baggage—she’s ailed with three adult children who use her like she’s a pair of Depends. With a daughter and two grandchildren attempting to escape an abusive husband, a second unmarried daughter who is pregnant with twins, and a son who refuses to grow up, she’s at her wits end.
Myrtle Sue didn’t figure she’d ever meet another man she’d care for, until she went to church to get away from her troubles, only to find more when her mother-in-law causes chaos. She hits an elderly man with her cane and helps herself to money out of the collection plate. That’s how she meets Mike, a psychologist, who could spend his life trying to figure out her family. She figures once he meets them, he’ll run as fast as he can-- away from them.
Wacky though they may be, Mike loves Mrytle Sue and her crazed family, and with good Southern cooking that’s fit for the divine, he’s sure he’s found his match.
And that's a wrap.