Sharon's INSPIRATIONAL Short stories of Faith and Romance can be found HERE or visit her
Facebook Page, which also has the links in the comments.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dear Oliver with Lori Graham

Hello and welcome to another episode of Dear Oliver! Today’s special guest is the senior editor of the Crimson line of The Wild Rose Press, Lori Graham. You don’t want to miss her pet peeve, especially if you’ve ever had to deal with a pesky reporter. So, come on in and belly up to the bar. And while you’re eavesdropping on Oliver’s sound advice, why not treat yourself to one of his legendary martinis! You’ll find his impressive venue listed on the sidebar. Not a martini fan? Not a problem. Oliver will make whatever drink strikes your fancy and serve it with a wink and a smile. And rumor has it that his tortilla chips and salsa are spicier than a pot of his Cajun Jambalaya. With no further ado, let’s give a warm round of applause to Lori Graham!

Oliver: What can I getcha to drink, love?

Lori: Anything…everything…and keep ’em coming!

Oliver mumbles under his breath, “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world…” But when he turns to Lori after shaking up a James Bond martini, he flashes the charm with a wink and a smile. There we go then love. With a flick of his 007 remote, Casablanca plays on the big screen behind the bar. When Lori downs her JB and points a finger to her empty glass, he leans a little closer. Why so glum, chum?

Lori shrugs. Let’s talk about something nice so that my drinks don’t get watered down.

Oliver raises an eyebrow. Given the way you poured that rather potent JB down the ol’ hatch without coming up for air, I dare say the chances of that happening are pretty darn slim. He takes a minute to watch Humphrey Bogart kiss Ingrid Bergman before presenting another perfectly chilled martini. As long as you think you’re woman enough to handle another JB, here you go love. Knock yourself out.

Lori coils her fingers around the martini glass in a death grip and sighs. I am just so glad to be here. Let’s not talk about reporters until another day.

Oliver shoves a heaping basket of his tortilla chips and spicy salsa in front of her and smiles a beguiling smile. Best have a bite to eat, love. Remember how tanked the boss lady got when she so foolishly thought she was woman enough to handle more than one James Bond martini. As if! Oliver pumps his biceps and hums a verse of As Time Goes By. Plucking a chip from the basket, he dips it in salsa and feeds it to Lori. Then another. Now about your pet peeve with reporters, love. But since you’re not ready to rant and rave just yet, who can I play for you on the jukebox to chase your blues away?

Lori smiles: Maybe something from ZZ Top like Sharp Dressed Man after you, Oliver

Oliver presses a button on his JB remote and the requested song plays. With a wildly wicked wink, he plucks Lori from the bar stool and whisks her onto the dance floor. In moves that John Travolta himself would envy, Oliver shakes it loose.

Cutting loose with a throaty cat call, Lori gives Oliver a run for his money, pointing as she belts it out for all she’s worth.

“clean shirt, new shoes, and I don’t know what I am gonna do, silk suit, black tie, I don’t need a reason why, they come runnin’ just as fast as they can, ‘cause every girl is crazy about a sharp dressed man…”

Oliver tugs on his black tie and grins. The bar rocks with hoots and whistles when the Dancing with the Stars couple take a sweeping bow.

Oliver: Thank you for the dance, love. Whew, I dare say I’m in need of a drink after that rather electric dance. Oliver fans himself. Now, back to the subject at hand. when did you develop this pet peeve with reporters?

Lori: Well, to be honest, this month has been rather rough.  My daughter is a high school student and there was a shooting.  A suspended student came back to the school with a gun and killed the assistant principal and wounded the principal.  (Lori shivers as she remembers.  Oliver pats her hand affectionately.)

Lori: Through the week that followed I was so impressed by the students.  They rallied around the administration, holding prayer vigils and over half of the student body being at the funeral (around 800 kids).  The first day back to school, the upper classmen gathered outside the school, cheering, singing the school song, all to enter the school in mass to show their support of the school and their own solidarity.  It was something to watch.  But every day, the reporters were there.  They couldn’t be on school property but they were on the streets lining it.  I watched one keep cornering the students and not taking no for an answer.  A couple of dads waiting for their kids stepped in, creating a barrier for the students leaving.  I have always known that reporters play a role in this world and I know they have a job to do. What I don’t get is why they have to pick on people until you want to shove that microphone into a place it wasn’t designed to go.

Oliver: OUCH. That would certainly smart. But I agree about certain reporters acting like pit bulls, chasing pedestrians down the street, teeth chomping, just to get a bite for the evening news. And the worst part is, half the time the media doesn’t even get their story straight. But virtually attacking already traumatized highschool kids like that is a downright disgrace. There oughta be a law.
And it’s not just in this country, either. Unfortunately, it’s a universal problem. Would you believe that I once had a reporter chase me down the back streets of Bangladesh, hounding me to give up my identity when I was working undercover for the FBI? Oliver pumps his biceps and winks. But I wouldn’t budge an inch. As if. He leans a little closer to Lori. Come to think of it, reporters are a pet peeve of mine, too. Whistling a 007 song, he makes a pitcher of James Bond martinis, shaken, not stirred. Still whistling, he fills two chilled glasses. Propping his arms on the bar, he gazes into Lori’s eyes. Tell me, sweet thing, where do you think utopia is?

Lori: Ahh, sitting here being waited on by you, my dear Oliver, is pretty close so I think I’ll just stay here awhile. I know you have another “appointment” coming in soon but sitting here in the corner will be just fine by me.

Oliver winks as their glasses clink in a toast. Here here! Now, how can I help, my pet?

Lori: You do it each time you show up, my friend. (Lori leans forward and whispers, unless you have an exploding microphone that I could borrow…well to be honest, you wouldn’t get it back) I’ll have another one of those lovely concoctions please.

Before filling Lori’s glass with yet another JB, he stashes his 007 exploding microphone in the hidden pocket of his black suit jacket.

Lori smiles. As I am sitting here, maybe I’ll dream up a story of my own to write – maybe a serial killer who is targeting reporters…hum, that sounds rather promising.

Oh hey, Oliver, have you seen Sharon around? I have a submission call out for Crimson Rose that is right up her alley. We only have room for six so really hoping to see something from Sharon for that release. Crimson Rose definitely needs some spicing up at Christmas time and we all know just how good she is at that

Oliver glances over his shoulder before lowering his voice to a whisper. Just between us, love, she’s still nursing that rather nasty hangover from a few weeks back when she tried to drink me under the table. As if.
When Lori points to her empty glass, Oliver obliges and continues. But she told me in case you asked, to tell you that she is upstairs in her office, pounding away on her keyboard, trying to meet the March 1st deadline for your Red Christmas submission.

Lori (slurring her words just a bit) Well, I might give her until the morning of the 2nd but only if you ask nicely, Oliver. 

Grinning, Oliver snatches a Santa cap from behind the bar and plops it on his head. And guess who’s starring as Detective Santa?
 Lori? Love? Are you all right?

Lori Graham is the senior editor of the Crimson line of The Wild Rose Press and she has a challenge for all creative writers.

Red Christmas Someone’s Ready to Kill the Holiday is due by March 1st. We are looking for manuscripts that are between 7500 and 60,000 words and involve a Santa as one of the leading male characters. We only have room for six for that release. Crimson Rose definitely needs some spicing up at Christmas time.


Sharon Donovan said...

A warm welcome for Lori Graham! Reporters really bug me when they all but knock you down and get in your face, just to get their byline for the evening news. When I worked for the courthouse, there was one reporter that would chase us down the streets of Pittsburgh, desperate to get a story. Talk about pushy reporters. But, Lori, these idiots that so rudely shoved their way into your daughter’s high school, disturbing already traumatized kids should be fined and arrested. Oliver is on it as we speak!

P.L. Parker said...

Good Morning Ladies - Sharp Dressed Man - one of my all time favorites. So scary about the shooting. Interesting post!

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Oliver and Lori

What an interesting post - and how insensitive, and downright rude some of these reporters are! I agree those involved in incidents like the one at your daughter's school should be made to face the consequeences of their actions. One wonders how they'd feel if their own family was involved in a tragic incident and then hounded by reporters!

Ah well, I guess there's not a lot more we can do, other than rant. Here's to you, Lori, and your new Red Rose series! *Lyn raises the glass of mead Oliver hands her and takes a long sip*

And please say hello to dear Sharon, I hope the hangover isn't still troubling her and that she's going 'great guns' (excuse the pun) with her story for 'Red Christmas'.

Lori, Sr. Editor for Wild Rose Press said...

Good morning, everyone! So glad to be here. Oliver is a fine host and so great about sometimes letting Sharon share the spotlight with him. :)

It was scary with the shooting especially the waiting to find out who was shot and so on. Not a day I ever want to repeat.

It sure does bother me though that reporters can talk to minors and have them quoted or on the air without a parent's permission. I didn't think they could do that.

I learned a lot that week about myself, my daughter, her friends, the students as a whole and so much more. Some horrible of course as we attended the funeral but some so absolutely incredible. Lots of tears but some good healing is taking place now.

Anyway, Oliver, keep 'em coming...

Sandra Crowley said...

Lori, ladies and, of course, Oliver of the luscious drinks, (I do a few dance steps to my alltime fav ZZ, SDM)let's raise a glass to that movie heroine who KO'd the obnoxious reporter in one of the Die Hards.

No fooling, Lori. I can't begin to imagine what you went through. My heart goes out to you and yours. So glad to hear the healing has begun.

Best of luck with the Spicy Santa stories--sounds right up my alley but I'm in edits now. Another day.

Rachel Lynne said...

Hi Lori! Super envious you got a dance with Oliver! He's such a doll, I'm surprised Sharon lets him out of the house.
I'm so sorry for what you and your community had to go through ... it seems the world gets crazier everyday. Oliver asked what utopia was. I envision a balmy tropical 'Gilligan's island' where only my family and friends can live. Of course, I'm not too keen on the 'no phones, no lights, no motorcars, not a single luxury ..." but the 'no crazy people allowed' sounds like Heaven :)
Good Luck with the Crimson Christmas Call, I'm sure Sharon will turn in another outstanding story!

writerwellness said...

Fun, fun, fun post, and I'm impressed with the dignity of your daughter's high school and parents. Reporters have a job to do like anyone else, but many of them leave their hearts at home so they don't get emotionally involved in the story. Keeps them safe in a way. Not defending bad behaviour, just understand sometimes.
Joy Held
Writer Wellness, A Writer's Path to Health and Creativity
Who Dares Wins Publishing

Caroline Clemmons said...

Lori, so sorry to learn your daughter and her classmates have endured this trauma, but good for them for responding in a positive way. I hate to think of the family of poor man who died, and of the student who caused the problem. Sad, scary situation.

Lori, Sr. Editor for Wild Rose Press said...

Okay, here's your funny for the day, ladies, and it is only because of Oliver's drinks that I share this because it drives my 21 year old son nuts.

When he was a baby and we would get up to do the middle of the night feedings, I watched TV to try and stay awake. The only thing on was Gilligan's Island (Rachel made me think of this). So as he got older and we would rock at night to go to sleep, I had to sing him that song to get him to go to sleep. I still know it by heart. Sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a mighty ship...

Lori, Sr. Editor for Wild Rose Press said...

Joy, I have to agree. After it was all over and things calmed down, I can remember that reporters serve a purpose. The sad part was that if they would put themselves in the victim's shoes, they would actually be a much better reporter. Stories shared with heart are the ones that win the pulitzer prizes. So I try to remind myself they are human and doing a job just like me but it sure gets scary when you see a kid backed into a position that they feel trapped. (except for the divas that love their moment in the spotlight, of course)

Oh Oliver...

Lori, Sr. Editor for Wild Rose Press said...

The family of woman of died (the assistant principal) have been so wonderful. They have really reached out to the students especially since the woman's son is a teacher at that same high school and was there when it happened (not in the room but in the school). Curtis Case, the principal, is now home and doing well. Praise the Lord!

Sharon Donovan said...

Thank God that the principal is doing well. Speaking of Gilligan’s Island and his sinking Minnow, let me just share something about Hawaii, the setting for Charade of Hearts. I went to the gorgeous tropical island years ago and totally fell in love with it. The contrast of Diamond Head against the Pacific is awesome, ebony on true blue. So when the call out for Jewel came out, I knew Hawaii had to be the setting and that Oliver had to play the hero. So what does this have to do with Gilligan’s Island, you ask? While driving us to our hotel, the driver pointed out the private island where they filmed Gilligan’s Island. So all these years later, a part of me still thinks of Hawaii as being Gilligan’s Island.
Oliver struts out, sporting his Gilligan hat. He pumps his biceps and winks. Mai Tais, ladies?

Mary Ricksen said...

What a fright with the shooting at your daughter's school Lori! Thank goodness she wasn't hurt!
I think reporters go after stories that a good portion of us would not care to read. But there is that percentage of people who just love to read shock. Me, I'll take a good romance novel any day...

lastnerve said...

LOL love how the blog ended. "Lori, love. are you alright?" Then nothing. hahaha. I agree with reporters. It seems like they just do what they want to do when they want to do it and they have no consequences to pay.

Some of the worst days for me were just last year when the school repeatedly had bomb threats. The kids couldn't text in the event that it was a real bomb. I couldn't get a hold of my children and for about 3 hours we didn't know what was going on. Reporters shredded our school, students, faculty via the newspaper. It was terrible.

Good luck with that submission Sharon!


EA said...

It's been awhile since I've come and seen Oliver, LOL. Thank you so much for this post and for presenting Lori. I have never had a personal experience with reporters tearing me down, but I can see what they do almost on a daily basis to others. It gets ridiculous.

Lori, Sr. Editor for Wild Rose Press said...

Val, I understand. That is a horror I wouldn't ever wish on any parent no matter what I felt about them. Sorry your family had to go through that.

Sharon Donovan said...

Sharon breezes into the bar after burning the midnight oil all night, where she’s been on a roll pounding out the pages for her Red Christmas submission. Although she’s tired and came down to get a cup of Oliver’s gourmet coffee, what she sees has her instantly rejuvenated, and she jumps right in on the outrageous raucous.

After indulging on one too many JB martinis and switching over to Hawaiian Mai Tais, Lori is up on the bar top, dancing with Oliver as ZZ Top’s Sharp Dressed Man vibrates off the walls. The once again out of control ladies, all sporting Gilligan hats and slugging back Mai Tais like they’re going out of style, are all on the dance floor, pointing to Oliver as they belt it out, sounding like wild banshees
“clean shirt, new shoes, and I don’t know what I am gonna do, silk suit, black tie, I don’t need a reason why, they come runnin’ just as fast as they can, ‘cause every girl is crazy about a sharp dressed man…”

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world indeed if such a place as Utopia truly existed where there was no more pain, no more heartache, no more shootings and no more in your face reporters. Here’s to that day. In the meantime, here’s to living life to the fullest and making every day count.

I want to thank y’all for coming over to my blog today for another episode of Dear Oliver. A special thank you to my editor, Lori Graham for sharing her family’s trauma on the show. Even though she gives the persona of being a slave driver, she really does rock!

Until next week when Linda Nightingale takes the hot seat, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.

Love and Blessings,