Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday Glee: Dual Flush...or how my reality impacts my fiction

A couple years back, we renovated the back bathroom.  Gone is white counter top with it's speckles of gold.  Gone is the brown sink and toilet.  Here are pictures of the results:

 All the artwork on the walls is Erie inspired.  One day my niece told her mother that Lou Tullio was Erie's only 5 term mayor.  Her mom asked how she knew that.  "Aunt Holly's bathroom."  My sister-in-law was amused and I was proud that using my bathroom is so educational!  LOL

But beyond the art and the lack of gold sparkles, the thing that delights me most about the back bathroom is the toilet.  It's a dual flush.  You press one button for "little" jobs and .6 gallons of water flush it.  You press the other button for...uh, larger jobs.  More than twice the water flushes it.

I spent months talking about my toilet to friends, who indulged me.  It's a little green thing, but so many of the changes I make in the house are just small changes (LED lightbulbs, water barrels...).  Easy changes.  I keep adding them on, one by one, and slowly, our costs have crept down, and our environmental impact goes down with it.

I'm just finishing up my November '13 book, A Valley Ridge Christmas.  It's a follow-up to the April's You are Invited, May's April Showers and June's A Walk Down the Aisle, my Valley Ridge Wedding trilogy.  And here's where my reality impacted the story...

The hero and heroine are renovating a house.  And there's a scene where she's trying to unbolt the old toilet from the floor in order to put in her new...dual flushed toilet.  The hero falls a little more in love with her as she rhapsodizes about that toilet.  Yes, my first Harlequin book, I Waxed My Legs for This? dealt with a heroine who discovered waxing hurts...a lot.  Now, my 35 book for Harlequin  (Yes, you read that 35th Harlequin 50th book overall!) will have a toilet scene.  Unless my editor asks me to cut it.  I can almost hear her saying, "Holly, dual flushed toilets are not romantic."  All I know is it gave me glee to write that scene.  Basically, my reality has impacted my fiction from book one to book 50!

Things that give me glee on a personal level frequently end up in my books.  I have a huge fondness for Erwin Schrodinger and his Cat-in-the-Box theory.  So, when I gave my scientist geek hero a cat in How To Catch a Groom, of course, he named his cat Schrodinger.  I told my editor how hysterically funny it was that the cat's name was Schrodinger.  I'm not sure she laughed about it, but she didn't ask me to cut it!  And when that book went to Japan and was turned into Manga, Schrodinger the cat made the cut!  (That's the Manga cover. I didn't get an author's copy of it, so I had to order it myself from a Japanese site to the tune of $40...but it was worth it!! I asked my son if the fact I had a Manga book made me cool...he said no.  SIGH.)

In that new Valley Ridge Wedding trilogy, I have a character whose parents own a CSA (community supported agriculture) in Ohio.  It was inspired by my reading A Dirty Life, by Kristin Kimball.  I loved including my love of local produce in the book.  We've been getting a lot of our local produce and eggs from a local farmer, Liz and George's Farms.

 And by now you all know that I love my dogs...well, all dogs.  My Everything But a Dog book and the three short stories (Nothing But Love, Nothing But Heart and Nothing But Luck) all deal with animal rescue and romance.  And of all the stories that deal with my glee, the fact that my dogs inspired the cover for Everything But a Dog makes me so overwhelmingly happy!  (That's Ethel and Ella on the right with me, and then the cover on the right.)

Nothing But Luck

Nothing But Love
Nothing but Heart
People who know me tell me that they see a lot of me in my books.  I think there's a chance that means that people who don't know me in real life know a little more about me after reading my books.  To be honest, some of my characters do things that do not give me glee at all, but you'll find little bits of my reality embedded in all of my fiction.

Now, as for my dual flush toilet, it works great, and although sometimes people need a brief explanation of how it works before they use it, I love it enough that when we renovate the front bathroom, I'll be installing another one!


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