Monday, July 19, 2010

Lawn Mowers and Aliens

Believe it or not, this writing stuff takes up a great deal of time that normal people might use to do things like keeping their cars clean and their yards mowed.

John Harris and I used to mow yards, much bigger than the one I have now, for five bucks. Imagine my surprise, after both of my lawn mowers decided they didn’t want to run, when I called my neighbor and asked her what her guy charged. She said she paid him fifty bucks! Fifty! And her yard is even smaller than mine.

Racing against the clock to complete the editing on my novel, “Purity”, and having tried, unsuccessfully, to fix the mowers I had, I saw the dude over at Miss June’s house and went to talk to him. Upon her advice, I just asked what he’d charge to mow the front and side yards (the back’s so horrible I don’t let anybody in there) if I did the weed-eating myself, and when he said he’d do it tomorrow, for twenty, I jumped on it with both feet. Viva la Mexico! Little victories, you know?

That gave me the time to work on the book, and with the huge (and much needed) editing help from the kind and lovely Wenona Edley, from Batesville, all that remains to do on that project is design the cover and get it published.

Purity will split off into two simultaneous sequels, following both the primary and secondary protagonists into different realms, and those books will interact with each other in various places. I’m pretty excited about the possibilities, but it’ll be a while before the sequels are started. For one, I’d like to see if there’s any interest in it. Secondly, I’ve already begun writing a “tween” novel – something very challenging for me, because I’ll have to find a way to replace my normal “Arkansas adjectives” with, let’s say, more intelligent and socially-acceptable words.

I haven’t settled on a title for this one yet, but it’s about two modern-day fifteen year-olds; best friends; one black and one white, who are picked up by an alien space ship near their homes. When the aliens return them to what they believe is the same place they picked them up, there’s a little mistake made, and they’re dumped out of the ship near 1972 Batesville, Arkansas, and their adventure begins.

The plan is to use as many real names, events and places that I can remember, and get away with. At the beginning of the book the boys are given a ride from out near Cushman by my father-in-law, Von Price, and dropped off at Hedges Grocery on the north end of Batesville, where they’re offered help from Harlon and Shirley Martin. From there, once figuring out they’re “not in Kansas anymore”, they start walking toward the lights of town.

Now, I’ve asked around on Facebook for some help with things that went on during football season, 1972, and have thankfully received quite a bit. But, I’ll take all the information I can get about that time – if anybody has anything to contribute. Being stuck here in Chickenopolis, 200 miles from home, it ain’t like I can just drop by the Independence County Library and look through the Guard archives - as much as I’d like to. So, I’m asking anybody who has any info regarding places, events, interesting people, etc. around October, ’72 to drop me a line. Oh, there’s no money involved, of course. But, when you die, on your deathbed, you’ll achieve total consciousness. And I’ll be happy to list your name in the book as a “contributor”.

Meantime, please watch for “Purity” to come to a bookstore near you soon. You can still read the first chapter on


Anonymous said...

why were you "racing against the clock" to get the book done? were you on a deadline?


Rick Baber said...

A self-imposed deadline, Betsy. Working on that thing was really cutting into my "occupational" time, and I wasn't able to make any money. Not that I ever made much to begin with........(8

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I've never actually made any of my "self-imposed" writing deadlines....

Anonymous said...

Lordy - October 1972? At least you are not asking for much. Ouch, now my brain hurts from trying to reactivate what are clearly dormant areas. Flitnuf errr dum scronge fluffer, as best I can remember...


Rick Baber said...

Come on Rope! Surely you can remember 1972! That was the year that...the year think we were s'posta be in high school.