Monday, February 6, 2012

Barbie, Botox, & Books with Guest Bloggers: Beth Henderson and Letty James

Win a copy of Loving Trixie Fine and
welcome dynamic writing duo,
Beth Henderson & Letty James!

Today, they are here to discuss getting older and here's what they had to say...

What Happens When You Disappear?

POOF! It happens overnight! I went from perky, sexy, young thing, to a drab, middle-aged woman stunned to find a gray hair has come to visit.

What happened to the girl I was? The one who had all those dreams? Who didn’t need to begin the wrinkle watch?

She went POOF, too! Just disappeared, leaving behind…well, THIS!

My mother said it would happen. That I would disappear. But, I wasn’t prepared. Not for the clothes not fitting right even though I hadn’t gained any weight. Not for the makeup routine getting more complicated as I now try to look younger, not older. And, not for the joints complaining even though I hadn’t given them an excuse to ache. I’m disappearing, becoming the mother, the wife, the rock-of-Gibraltar – you know, the dependable one – when I want to still be the one garnering whistles when I walk by.

The advertising folks know my wallet isn’t invisible, though. In January and February, they entice me with sales on sexy lingerie, and help me reorganize my medicine cabinet to make room for more weight loss pills and miracle creams. They tease me with gym membership specials and bargains on exercise equipment to use in the privacy of my home where no one will see how winded I get, how things jiggle in different places, and I can lie to myself about how in a month I’ll actually look good in the clinging exercise togs I spent a fortune on.

Yep, this time the thing that went POOF was the silver in my purse!

My dreams haven’t "poofed" though. They still believe that the $50 night cream just might erase my wrinkles. Or plump them up, disguising them until I do something destructive like give someone a wide smile while standing in bad light and all the little arroyos spanning out from my eyes and the corners of my mouth are back. POOF!

Where is that fairy godmother when I need her? Probably off getting her own Botox treatment or face lift. I already shelled out for the creams and exercise gadgets. I can’t afford anything else.
It’s a small comfort to know even people who can afford fairy god-doctors go POOF and begin returning to the person Mother Nature wants them to be.

Of course, I still look decades younger than my own grandmother did at my advancing age. Did she worry about having POOF'ed into her mature form? Probably not. And the reason why is: Barbie.

Yep, I’m blaming Barbie, the doll most Baby Boomers grew up with. Our mothers and grandmothers just had baby dolls to play with as girls. WE had a tall, lean, curvaceous goddess to dream our way into the future with.

When Beth and I worked on the transformation scene in Loving Trixie Fine, I argued that Bea would be thrilled to have a youthful, bodacious bod – her youth restored in aces. Beth countered that she would be horrified. Because all her life Bea had come to terms with her body – its function over form. After all, isn’t that where most of us are, appreciating the function of our bodies and trying to maintain some semblance of its former form?

But doing so without depriving ourselves of the martini or chocolate cake…who wants to do that?

Not me! Let’s hear it for taste, feel, scent! Let’s enjoy life. That’s the fantasy for us all – to enjoy anything we want with no guilt.

Like in the “good old days” when everything was new – our bodies, our dreams. Back when we all thought we’d grow into some semblance of Barbie, even if we were mixing one fantasy with another (women's lib) and finding they blended like oil and water.

Bea believed what many of us do – that Barbie is gorgeous and ultimately stupid. We’re Barbie racist – Barbiest. I admit right here in front of you all that I can be Barbiest. If I see a beautiful woman with big boobs, long legs, and blond (or any other color) hair, I think she must be demanding. She must get anything she wants.

WHY do I think this? I don’t know. I have blond hair. I have big boobs (C’s for those who are asking). So why do I have this prejudice? I’m not sure. I played with Barbies when I was growing up. But I didn’t want to be Barbie.

There are a lot of us who feel this way – are Barbiest – because there is a kernel of truth there – women using their beauty for gain = brainless twerp, bimbo. I’m not going to argue with you whether this is true or not. It’s the BIT of truth that makes a story interesting.

Beth, being the more experienced writer, recognized that a more interesting character is created when she gives us our bit of ugly truth. Bea doesn’t trust beautiful women. Her best friend Carmine was beautiful and she watched Carmine manipulate men with her looks and charm over and over.

How many of you have watched a man make a fool of himself over a bit of cleavage or a flash of long leg? If you haven’t seen this, go hang out at your nearest bar and do a bit of people watching.

Beth and I wanted to write about a woman who had basically had gone POOF! Disappeared from the forefront of what life was in our youth. Sure, the mature, intelligent woman can have all the accolades in the world, but when she walks down the street, who sees her? I don’t think it’s our duty as writers to point out society’s flaws, but it sure helps in the grand scheme of creation.

So when you next sit down to write, think about what scares you or ticks you off because most likely that is what will help you write a stronger story. You’re already behind the scenes in this case. You’ve already gone POOF!

A Note from the Book Boost: Fun post, ladies! Thanks for sharing your Barbiest theories with us. I'm not too fond of her myself but my 2 year old son already loves her (geez)! Men! Please tell us more about Trixie.


There is one thing too many of us worry about -- the loss of youth. Dr. Bea Fine's assignment for the past decade has been to create a youth restorer to beat those of the competition. Doing so brings her to the interest of industrial spies, but also erases 30 years from her face and form. Kaboom to Vavoom! A new body. A hot, young lover. Talk about a fantasy come true.

Everything would be wonderful if someone wasn’t trying to kill her.

Caution: Loving Trixie Fine contains explicit conjugal scenes, a serious lack of actual scientific detail, and a wild ride of fun.


Zack stared up at the vision before his eyes. Seeing Bea, but not Bea. The goddess before him could have been every comic-book warrior heroine wrapped into one. From perfectly shaped hips to narrow waist to awe-inspiring full, high thrusting breasts, this woman could spark fantasies to blow any man’s mind.

And she was all his.

Bea took a single step from the shower stall and grabbed for a towel. It didn’t cover her, but hinted at the glories beneath and left on view long legs so intricately turned a lathe operator would kill to produce them.

“Shit?” she screeched. “I’ve turned into Barbie! The original Barbie!”

“And I’ve died and gone to heaven,” Zack whispered, still stunned.

“But I’m in hell!” Bea nearly whimpered. “This can’t be happening. I created the formula to treat skin diseases. Not, not . . . .”

She started to hyperventilate. To freak.

Zack pushed back to his feet. “Bea. Bea! Take it easy. It will be all right.” He kept his hands spread, not to reassure her that he wouldn’t grab her, but to remind himself not to. But then worshipping at her feet sounded like a damn fine substitute. He could kiss her feet, work his way up to her ankles, her calves, her . . . .

“No it won’t!” she cried, her voice breaking. “I can’t look like this. This is hell. A punishment for sneering at every bimbo . . . .”

“Bea. Calm down. Take a breath.”

Oh, bad suggestion, he decided when she did. Her breast heaved so nicely with the motion, like swells on the ocean that threatened to overflow the minimal blind of the towel.

“Let it out now. Slow, nice and slow.”

“But –”

“Another,” Zack instructed. “Now gird yourself. I’m going to touch you, just your shoulders, and maybe your wrist to take your pulse.”

If it galloped like his, heaven help them.

“Okay, fine,” she murmured, slowly regaining control.

“Now repeat after me. This is just another side effect from the submersion. It is not permanent.” Probably isn’t permanent, he added silently to himself. Oh, but if it was – holy shit!

Her skin felt cool and damp when he rested his palms on her shoulders. And as before, she smelled absolutely divine. His whole system went on alert, red alert. It had been at full attention since the moment he saw her standing there in all of nature’s glory.

“It is not permanent,” Bea whispered. “It is not permanent, it is not permanent. Itisnotpermanent.”

When the words ran together in a breathless jumble, he gave the instructions again. “Breathe. Calm.”

She nodded, but followed the simple action up by resting her brow against his chest.

“Breathe. Calm,” Zack repeated, only this time for himself. All that stood between him and the perfect woman was his will power and the rather skimpy damp towel she clutched to her breasts, and the will power was draining away as fast as the water in the shower.

“Are you sure it’s only temporary?” Bea asked.

He had to be honest. “No.”

She sighed deeply. Moved closer. “Now I know how Kafka’s roach felt.”

“Except I’m not likely to sweep you out with the rubbish.”

She laughed raggedly at his lame attempt at humor.

“It will be all right, Bea.” He tilted her chin up.

Her eyes were clouded with emotion, her lashes damp and spiked with glittering pearls of water. Where once a lifetime of smile lines had been carved in outward spokes, only faint tracings remained.

Zack kept his attention on her face, knowing that dropping his gaze lower would drive her even more over the edge. The scrutiny showed the thinning skin beneath her eyes had regained elasticity. Even the few traces of gray in her brows had reverted to their original darker blond.

“It will be all right,” he repeated and brushed his mouth across hers. The intention had been to merely sooth her, but it backfired, sending a fresh rush of awareness and desire flooding his already stressed system.

Bea inhaled sharply, shallowly, and broke from the caress. “Zack, I’m sixty-five years old, not…not whatever I look like at the moment. This isn’t natural. It isn’t me. It isn’t –”

“A time to be talking,” he said with every intention of kissing her again, but Bea stepped out of his arms, back toward the shower, and with admirable presence of mind, redirected the still pulsing shower head at him.

Cold water struck him full in the face, bringing sanity with it. “Well, maybe we should talk after all,” Zack admitted, dripping water on the tile as he backed toward the door. “When you’re ready, I’ll be in the kitchen.”

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Debby said...

I take what you are saying is that strong emotions produce strong books. Sounds like great advice.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Laura said...

Hi, Letty and Beth,

Great blog! And fun book!

I love that you took something that our culture generally views as a fantasy answered, and made a character who is horrified by it.

electronic cigarettes said...

Thank you for making this site very interesting! Keep going! You're doing very well!

Kimberley Keen said...

The way you describe a person who gets old, I just love it. We will all reach this stage. We can never avoid it. Sad but its true.