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In Vista Heights, the women of the neighborhood have started to look like their homes, varying shades of beige.
Lost in this world of suburbia, Marissa Lyons learns her high school nemesis has bought the house right across the street from her. Afraid that her arch enemy, Beatrice Munson, will arrive with Marissa’s high school crush as her husband and cause Marissa to relive the insecurity of high school in her forties she decides to face the music and heads to Beatrice’s house with warm cupcakes. But what Marissa finds is something she never expected.
How will Marissa and the rest of the women of San Martino deal with someone like Beatrice Munson, whose defining moment in her life was to get a boob job or go on a trip to Egypt. This story is about friendship, love, learning to look at things differently, drag queens, Cosmos, and great party planning.
Step into the world of Vista Heights where you might recognize the women, or you just might be one of them.
‘Thanks for making me cry several times on the plane. Seriously, thank you for writing this great piece of art.’ Jody W -
"I rarely cry in movies and here I was crying for the last twenty minutes reading your book. Lorena this is an awesome book so full of underlying messages and lessons. " Erica E -
Bio for Lorena Bathey
Growing up in the Bay Area of Northern California, Lorena Bathey attended St. Mary’s College in Moraga graduating with a degree in English. Then she traveled, learned about life, and developed great fodder for a book. Losing her mother to cancer and her own marriage’s demise brought her to find herself. She wrote Happy Beginnings: How I Became My Own Fairy Godmother (www.amazon.com) and found speaking and empowering others was her passion.
Lorena Bathey found after writing her first book that characters were visiting her mind and wouldn't leave. She was introduced to Marissa, Andrea, Lily, Deidre and Beatrice and her first novel, Beatrice Munson, came to life. After finishing that book she was inspired to write more novels and she knew that pursuing her passion was the best way to live her life. So a writer she became.
After meeting the love of her life, they embarked on the thrilling life to follow their dreams bringing their families along for the ride. Today Lorena has nine novels in her writing queue all with screenplays in the works.
But writing isn't the only muse that inspires Lorena. She has become a passionate photographer and likes to push the envelope taking shots while learning how to navigate Photoshop. Travel, walking, enjoying new restaurants, and Italy are other loves and things she makes sure she has time for.
What will readers like about your book?
They will enjoy the characters and the development of the story around the characters decisions and changes. They descriptions are strong and let you paint a picture of the people, places, and situations that occur. There are a lot of twists and turns to surprise the reader with the great feeling of culmination occurring at the end.
Why did you self publish?
Because I believe that the writer and creator of the words should have the power over how the work is sent out into the world. It is important to have a professional manuscript and have help with editors and readers, but no one knows the characters or the importance of plot structure better than the person who wrote it. I believe the industry needs to change and that the money to be made should be in the hands of those that create and market to the individuals they know will enjoy their work.
What is your writing process?
I need noise to write best. I am the lady you see at your local coffee shop hunched over her computer for hours, drinking cups and cups of coffee, and looking around sometimes as if she's lost someone. Being around people gives me energy to create the situations and characters I know in my head. Plus it doesn't hurt that usually the smell of coffee brewing and something baking goes along with it.
How long does it take you to write your first draft?
That depends on the book of course. My first novel, Beatrice Munson, I started in 2005 and then when I picked it up again in 2009 it only took me nine months to finish it. The second novel I wrote took about ten months, although the process takes as long as it takes to get edited a couple of times, have readers read it and give input, and then me re-write. So usually a manuscript takes about a year give or take a few months.
What inspired you to write this particular story?
Well, honestly I begin to hear people's names, see the character in my brain, and then words and phrases begin to bounce around in my head so I am compelled to being writing the story. Once I do begin writing I go by faith and inspiration. When I get the next plot change or character interaction then it plays out like a movie in my head and I just write what I see and hear.
This story, Beatrice Munson, was part of me changing my life and deciding that I wanted to be in a different place than where I had been. Taking chances and breaking out of life's roles was an important theme in my personal life and showed itself in the book. I am part of all the characters as are many of my friends and acquaintances. This book is for the many women lost in suburbia not sure where they need to go and how to change. I believe the readers will see themselves in many of the characters and I hope it will inspire them to make changes in their life. To need to see happiness as integral to their lives was what I wanted to express.
Then she let go of me and marched off to battle.
For the next thirty minutes the doorbell chimed continuously. The whole neighborhood had turned out in force for this night of Bunko. Andrea was introduced to Beatrice and joined me on the perimeter. I filled her in on everything she had missed. She told me that she liked Beatrice immediately and thought that this neighborhood could use some bohemian influence to unstuffy it. We both remarked when we noticed that women we hadn’t seen in months were arriving at the door and some of them came with a bottle of wine or a dip displayed in their most recent procurement at the latest kitchen party.
I just stood and watched as the women encountered a world most of them had never known existed. Some women seemed to recognize the zip code but couldn’t remember how to get there.
Every woman stood stunned as they took in the ambiance around them. Beatrice had outdone herself with the lighting, incense choice, and displaying the wares of her life. She had set the food on the tables with the photographs which meant while you ate you had the opportunity to peruse the vastness of her world. Women were in clumps and I could overhear exclamations of wonder and disgust as they tried to infuse the location they were in with a place they could recognize. They tentatively took the Rummus and other Middle Eastern fare and placed it on the hand blown burgundy glass plates. Their gold napkins hung limply in their hands and their eyes were as wide as toddlers experiencing Disneyland for the first time.
Andrea whispered in my ear. ‘This is great. I haven’t seen them so quiet since Jolene Simmons had her mental breakdown in the middle of the fours.’ She was giggling.
‘I know. They all look a bit lost. Well, just wait till Lily gets here. Then their fearless leader will show them what to do.’ Like sheep lost in the meadow without their shepherd, these women would mingle aimlessly waiting to be led.
With that thought doorbell rang and Lily arrived. Showing no emotion and really trying not to look back or forth, she handed Beatrice a plate of cookies, turned on her espadrilles, and gathered the group around her. The last interrogator had arrived, the tribunal could begin.
The questions started fast and furious as the ladies moved in a mass towards Beatrice. Andrea and I watched in morbid fascination at the spectacle in front of us. With the sickly tone of welcome the ladies began their questioning as Beatrice planted both feet and stood in front of us. A fine line between interesting questions and terrorist inquiries was being walked here. Andrea’s and my head bobbed back and forth as if we were watching a tennis match.
‘Are you married?’
‘Do you have any kids?’
‘Where did you go to college?’
‘Do you knit?’
‘Do you want to volunteer for the neighborhood watch group?’
‘Are you a lesbian?’
I was cringing hearing the questions being fired at Beatrice from all directions. Instinctively, I grabbed Andrea’s hand while I formulated a plan where I could create a diversion, turn out the lights, and scuttle Beatrice out under the umbrage of the room. I looked at Beatrice half expecting her to be outraged and wanting to throw darts at my face, but she was not. In fact, Beatrice Munson was taking her lumps, answering each and every question with honesty and fortitude. She smiled at each person as they pulled back their bow of condescension, curiosity, and wonder and aimed at her wide and open heart. Beatrice Munson was leaning up against the tree with an apple on her head and she didn’t flinch once. I was amazed and further filled with admiration. Here was honesty where many times it was lacking and it began to have an effect on them all. It was as if the windows of their minds were thrown open to a fresh and unfamiliar breeze which was causing the judges of Beigeville to lose their steam. I used this lull in the questions to attempt rescuing Beatrice and rang the Bunko bell.
By Lorena Bathey
© 2011 Lorena Bathey
All Rights Reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.
This is a fiction book. All of the characters are imaginary.
Any similarities to anyone living or dead are purely coincidental.
Lorena B Books www.LorenaBBooks.com
Cover Design by Terry Whitington
Editing by Susy Flory and Melissa Brandzel
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