There was a movie my mom took me to see when I was a kid. It was called the North Avenue Irregulars and it starred Cloris Leachman and Ruth Buzzi and the Skipper from Gilligan's Island and I don't remember if it was good or bad, but everyone enjoyed it, and I still remember the station wagons and the setting, even to the day.
My mom took me to see it, because that's what she liked. The Rescuers, Escape from Witch Mountain, the occasional showing of the Dean Jones and Kurt Russell 60s Disney flicks. They were fun and fluffy and didn't offend anyone.
When I started writing, my mom very much tried to bring her sensibilities to my writing, offering lots of hand-wringing when anything went into four-letter words and (other even more scandalous material that needs to be whispered.) When I wrote my second novel Sabotage, which still has to be whispered about around her, there was a part of me that felt really bad handing mom a copy, knowing how she has always been.
Well, mom, to maybe help you feel better, there is a part of me that cringes when those words are used, even in my stories, even for good reason. I genuinely hate it when movies add crude humor to get a PG instead of a G rating, and I genuinely believe that we are not better for the drool that gets dumped on kids today. At least the North Avenue Irregulars was clean drool.
So after writing Sabotage, I quietly started working on a character based on my mom, Margaret Baker. Margaret gets into all kinds of situations and winds up sometimes needing help to get out of them, but the stories are told in a way where they are clean and funny and I can show every one of them to my mom without fear of pursed lips or the high voice, which comes out when she's annoyed.
There will be a Margaret Baker story or novel installment once a month, and they are suitable for people agest 9-90. I think they're quite funny and fun, but they're quite family friendly.
The first collection, The Margaret Baker Stories, comes out on April 14 if you want to buy them via e-reader ($2.99) and are available now if you want a booklet mailed to you with actual printed words. Because of the cost of printing and mailing, those are $5.
This is your chance to encourage a project that can be shared with people of all ages, but is still worth reading. I want to take these to nursing homes and places where the written word is still treasured and enjoyed, but the normal topics might be a little to "extreme".
Margaret, as we enter her life, is learning how to deal with all of the technological advances of this new millienium while holding on to the life she loves. She's dealing with changes in church, changes in culture, and trying not to lose herself. I have a very funny story that I've started writing for the first Margaret Baker novel, Margaret Baker Goes to New York, which will work a few elements of social commentary (but it won't be extreme, as Margaret would say with emphatic hand gestures), but first we've got to set the stage for who she is as a character, and how out of step that can seem to be in a Kardashian world.
Please pass this along to anyone who might enjoy reading, either by the print book (order here), or as an e-book, available at:
Here is Margaret Baker herself talking about the books:
Sign up on the contact page of this website if you want more updates.