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1. My grandson picked the cover of my book “Exit Signs.” The publisher sent me the proofs while I was visiting Alexander in Denver last summer. I showed him the five options and he immediately picked number four, which turned out to be the cover. Of course, at the age of 7, he hasn’t read the book, but had a definite opinion. I asked him why he chose that one. “Well, Granny, they look fancy on that one. Don’t you want them to look fancy?” Yes, Alexander, yes I do.
2. I won a $150 gold and diamond watch when I was in 8th grade for decorating a turkey drumstick to look like Batman. It was a big deal, earning me a whole paragraph of coverage in the student newspaper, where they referred to me as “Pat,” a name I have never liked for myself. I envisioned a great career in the arts, but, alas, that was the last recognition I snared in the field. I still have the watch. I’ve probably worn it five times. Today nobody even wears watches, and certainly not dainty little women’s watches with gold sculpted leaves and diamond chips.
3. When I was a kid, Paul McCartney was my favorite Beatle, but I said it was George Harrison because Paul seemed too cliché. I actually thought that picking George made me unique. Yes, I was the ONLY George Harrison fan ever. Quite the renegade. Strange what thoughts kids concoct. My main character in “Exit Signs” would prefer John Lennon. She would appreciate his sense of humor and his post-Beatle work, I think.
4. I interviewed Mother Teresa when she opened a charity mission in Gallup, New Mexico. Though I wasn’t Catholic, I felt an aura of peace and spirituality around her. I sat next to her at a little table in the Gallup Bishop’s backyard along with about five other reporters. It is my one brush with greatness. I was working as a correspondent for the Albuquerque Journal at the time. That is something Tracy Price in “Exit Signs” would have done. She’s a documentary film researcher and a native of New Mexico. I’m a Michigander, but I’ve lived in the Land of Enchantment for, oh, let’s just say years and years.
5. In March I will see Elton John for the third time. The first time, I was 19 years old and a freshman at Michigan State University. Elton was into his glam rock era, lots of sparkles and big round glasses. About 10 years ago I saw him again in Albuquerque and it was like time traveling. Some people sitting near us had one second row seat, which they allowed everybody in the row to use, so I heard Elton play “I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues,” from close enough that I could see the hairs on the back of his hands. I never really liked that song before, but now it’s one of my favorites. I’ll see him again in March here in Albuquerque, but even though we bought tickets within moments of the sale beginning, we’re nowhere near the stage. Still, hearing him play “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man,” and “Your Song,” well you can’t beat that. I hate to say how many years have come and gone between my first and my upcoming Elton concerts. Let’s just say love for him has lasted decades. No need to do the math. In “Exit Signs,” Tracy sings along with Sir Elton on this exact song. She and I share musical tastes for some reason.
In her quest to find a writer missing since the 1930's, Tracy thinks she has discovered exactly how to handle her new relationship. But she may be listening to the wrong voice.
Then Tracy and Jesse find out they've both been keeping some big secrets, and the truth may ruin everything.
Will sharing the missing writer's story open both their hearts?
Read an excerpt:
Jesse lunged toward me. It was too late. I had already launched. He reached out but didn’t connect. Instead, I broke the trajectory of my upper body by grabbing him at chest level and sliding down. He was pushed backward into the table, which stabilized our ungainly host-parasite tableau. He softened my landing so that physically I was fine, but my pride was ready for intensive care.
Heaped at his feet, like a demented penitent, I hugged his knees, my face pressed flat into his thighs. I might as well stay down. What’s worse? To stand up and face you, or remain here, nestled between your legs? What do you think? Then, the finishing touch: I erupted into nervous, snorting laughter. He guessed there was no serious injury.
“It’s nice to see you, too. You are okay, aren’t you? Can you stand?” He reached for my arms to unwrap them from his legs and help me up. I jammed my eyelids together to conjure up a do-over, but no such luck.
I would have to deal with it.
He held my elbows in his hands. “I guess we were both in a hurry to see each other.”
I do appreciate your attempt to lighten the mood, but you are standing SO close. I can feel your body heat. Or is that mine? By the way, you smell tart and fresh, like a lime.
I stared at his shoulder. My dignity meter was stuck on empty.
“Enthusiastic greeting. Thanks for that.” He was blatantly amused.
“It was nothing.” I stepped backward to regain a semblance of independence. Don’t mock me. But, you did go to all the trouble to bring your hair. And your eyes. I might forgive you for witnessing my disgrace. That hair.
About the Author: As a journalist, Patrice Locke wrote a lot of stories with unhappy and even tragic endings. Facts are facts, and a writer doesn't mess with facts.
But fiction is another world. Patrice began writing novels, where she could control the endings and make them as happy as she wants. The best thing about fiction, she says, is having time to think before her characters speak, so they can say the things most of us only come up with after the perfect moment has passed.
She loves to write, read, and watch romantic comedies where life always turns out the way it should. Her only obsessive relationships are with semicolons and Oxford commas.
Though she doesn't like to brag, Patrice is an award-winning artist. She won a gold and diamond watch when she was 13 for decorating a turkey drumstick bone to look like Batman. Alas, that was her last recognition in the fine arts.
Patrice lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the blue sky is brilliant, the air is thin, and the vistas are breathtaking. She is none of those things, which is one reason she enjoys living among them.
Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/bypatricelocke/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
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