Janet's Jargon

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

"Boston Med" Proves that timing is everything

Information on my next book, The Green Year (El Año Verde): Dr. Rebecca Stanford was a highly acclaimed doctor in the ER in a Boston hospital. Everything was going fine, until she got a letter from a Foundation, asking her to give one year of her life to four clinics in Venezuela. The book is due out this month, July.

Enter "Boston Med." The highly acclaimed hospital is--you guessed it--in Boston. One of the doctors, played by Maria Troulis, is a female doctor in--yes, again, you guessed it--the ER.

I just love it when the Universe (or whatever you choose to call it--I prefer to think it is God interfering in my life) plops a wonderful surprise in my lap, and all without my help. Oh, of course I wrote the book. In fact, it was one of the earliest books I wrote. I had forgotten all about it until I moved from North Dakota to Wisconsin and I found it tucked away in a folder in my filing cabinet.

After a lot of people asking me to write my memoirs, especially of our (Ivan's and my) time in Venezuela, which came out last month (Rebel With a Cause: Tales of a Misplaced Lutheran and Memories of a Minor Missionary), I can now honestly say that my life is an open book. Yes, pun intended.

Since the memoirs focus on Venezuela, I figured it was the perfect time to bring out The Green Year, since it is also set in the four places in Venezuela where we worked. The two books are very different; Rebel With a Cause is completely non-fiction, while The Green Year is an inspirational medical romance. However, they are also close enough that you might well think that the people from the novel might have found their place in the memoirs.

I'm sure the lady doctor in "Boston Med" will do just fine. Still, if she finds things too tough, she just might opt for heading to the clinics in The Green Year. Oh, wait a minute! The clinics in there exist only in my head--and hopefully soon in your hearts as you follow Dr. Rebecca Stanford and the head doctor of the Foundation, the arrogant, bull-headed Dr. John Wesley Blackstone III.

This is not the first time such a coincidence has happened. When Par for the Course came out, it was the same week that the TV program "60 Minutes" came out with the TV ad that ran countless times, stating "Are women pro golfers soon to become Par for the Course"? It was a piece on their weekly program about a woman pro who was trying to play in the Augusta (GA) competition. But for me, it was not just about that golf pro, but it was perfect for some promo ops for Mechi Jeanotte, a golf pro at a fictional St. Andrew's Golf Course just outside Aberdeen, Maryland. Like I said, timing is everything. If you don't believe that, ask any comedian. The punch line, depending on not only how it is delivered, but when, makes the difference of a standing ovation or having tomatoes thrown at them.

Then there was Bank Roll: A Max Stryker Mystery. I had written it quite a while before it was actually published. Max Stryker, a crime reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, got a pink slip, along with a whole lot of other reporters at the paper. Cut backs in today's economy, you know. Not at all a far-fetched scenario. She had to decide if she should try to get on the neighboring Minneapolis newspaper or if she should go back to the little (fictional) town of Willow Creek, MN, to try to help out the fellow who had taught her everything she knew about the newspaper business when she worked for him in high school. What was amazing was that the day I got the final proof to go through was the very day that the news nationwide reported that the Knight Ridder newspaper chain had sold all of its newspapers, including the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Yes, real life was duplicating Bank Roll, or was it the other way around? At any rate, hundreds--perhaps even thousands--of newspaper employees all across the country got their "pink slips" that day.

Yet another coincidence was that the day Bank Roll went up in the listing for Ingram, the major distributor in the US, there was an article in the Minneapolis Tribune that they were also having 5o positions cut. They were not owned by Knight Ridder, so this was truly due to the economy.

I called the reporter who had the by-line on that article, telling him about my newly released book and the strange events that surrounded its release. He gave a sort of half-hearted chuckle when he said, "I don't even know if I will be around to answer the phone tomorros. None of us know who is on their hit list." He paused a few seconds, then said, "I'll bet you Max Stryker was really glad she decided to go back home instead of coming here to work." It was then that I reminded him that Max Stryker was purely a fictional character. That time he lauhed loudly as he said, "Oh, I forgot that."

My next Patrick and Grace Mystery takes our wacky senior sleuths to Las Vegas. This time I am orchestrating it so it will feature the opening of a brand new major venue there. I just hope it will work as well when I try to plan it as the books seem to do "by accident."

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