Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz: Love Delivery

Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz has published more than 100 articles, 75 stories, two e-books, a chapbook, and her stories have been included in two anthologies. She writes for both adults and children. Her fiction has appeared in numerous genre and children’s publications and non-fiction work has appeared in a variety of writing, parenting, and young adult print magazines and online publications. She edits for three small independent publishers.

Her three romance stories: Love Delivery, Lady in Waiting, and Mirror, Mirror are all available from MuseItUp Publishing. Her middle grade novels, Ghost for Rent and Ghost for Lunch, will be released by 4RV Publishing. Her short story collection A Past and A Future is available at Sams Dot Publishing. Two picture books, Boo’s Bad Day and Many Colored Coats are also scheduled for publication with 4RV Publishing.

Welcome, Penny. Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?
I was born in Connecticut, moved to Massachusetts for a couple of years in my 20's, went back to Connecticut, lived in New Hampshire for a few months in my late 20's before moving to California where I met my husband. He and I moved to Oregon in 1978 and have lived here ever since.
Always nice to meet a fellow New Englander. How would you generally categorize the books/stories you write?
I tend to write a lot of different types of books, so it's almost impossible to categorize them. I write paranormal mystery and picture books for children. For adults, I write fantasy, soft science fiction, romance and some light horror.
Do you set your books/stories in your home town, or do you prefer more exotic locations?
My fantasies and science fiction are set in other locations, but most of my other books are set closer to home.
What inspired you to write Love Delivery?
Love Delivery started many years ago as an effort to write for adults who were learning disabled. I found it hard, however, to compose something which sounded good and the story sat unfinished. I played around with it from time to time but was never quite satisfied. I had wanted to craft a story with everyday people in the starring roles. My female lead works as a waitress/day manager in a donut shop. Her romantic lead is the delivery man who comes in on a weekly basis. I wanted them to struggle with finding love after having failed relationships. I also wanted them to be successful without college degrees. Finally, the story came together and I submitted it to MuseItUp Publishing, where it found a wonderful home.
Sounds intriguing. How did you come up with the title?
Since the story was about love and the male lead is a delivery man, it fit to be titled Love Delivery.
Is there a message in your story you want readers to grasp?
In all my stories, I think there is a thread of hope. In Love Delivery, the main characters struggle to accept who they are and that they can find love. Obstacles get in the way, but they manage to overcome them. I think my stories are like life that way.
Do you have a set writing routine?
No. I never have had a set routine. I'm a total pantser and write when the mood strikes me. I realize all the books say a writer has to write every day, but I have never been in that category. When life gets in the way of writing, I don't stress. I know I can always write later. When I first started writing, I did try to set a specific time, after I got home from my day job and on weekends. I soon found that my children weren't getting all my attention and I decided they were more important. They grow up way too fast and I wanted to spend more time with them. Sometimes, I think I learned that lesson too late, but they turned out great, so I guess I did okay. Bottom line is: I write when my Muse tells me to.
A good philosophy. Give us a mini-tour of your writing space.
I have a great little office that has wrap-around desk space on three of the walls. My PC, printer, and scanner are on one portion of the desk. There is a window that looks out to my garden through my greenhouse. On three walls are bookshelves, where I keep my supplies, completed work, reference books, photos of family and close friends, and artwork my daughter created. This is the space I generally use for writing. When I'm editing, I prefer using my laptop and sit either in my garden or my great room with my dogs and cat sprawled on my legs (which rest on a footstool).
Name a few titles I’d find if I browsed through your personal home library.
It would be easier to give you author names since I tend to read fantasy series. George R. R. Martin, J. K. Rawling, J. R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Stephen King, Margaret Weiss, Roger Zelanzky, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Devon Monk.
Wonderful choices. Have any new authors caught your interest?
I'm fortunate to be an editor at MuseItUp Publishing, so I've come across a number of wonderful authors: Nancy Bell, Sara Durham, Elle Druskin, Heather Haven, Debra Dunlap, Frank Scully, Viviane Bretanos, Lindsay Townsend…I could go on and on and don't want anyone to feel slighted because I've missed his or her name. May I suggest your readers check out the MuseItUp Publishing Bookstore?
Great suggestion. What advice would you give an aspiring author?
The best advice I've learned over the years is not to give up. If you believe in yourself as a writer, eventually you'll find the right fit for your story. It's most often merely a case of being in the right place, at the right time, with the right story. What one editor might abhor, another will adore. Keep trying, read everything you can in the genre in which you want to write, perfect your craft by attending classes, conferences, and workshops, and be professional when you submit your work.
Speaking of the right story, let's take a peek at Love Delivery.

A waitress in a donut shop, Ann is happy with her single life and her cat, Mittens, until she finds herself interested in Tom, the handsome man who makes deliveries to the shop. Unfortunately, Tom comes with some baggage, including five cats; Maria, his vicious ex-wife; and Maria’s adorable daughter he calls Kitten.

When Maria is hired at the donut shop and learns Ann and Tom are beginning a relationship, she does everything she can to tear them apart. Will Ann and Tom’s love prevail, or will the evil ex-wife win in the end? Love Delivery is a sweet romance, which will bring tears to your eyes and a smile to your lips.

"Here it is," he said, steering her to a quiet corner. Candles lit the table. A bottle of red wine stood open. Tom held the chair for her, and then sat close so their knees touched. "Would you like a glass of wine?" he asked, reaching for the bottle.

"No thanks," Ann said. "I don’t drink."

Tom poured a glass for himself. "Here’s the menu." He handed it to her.

"I know what I want."

"What’s that?"

"Fettuccini Alfredo." Ann shook out her napkin and placed it on her lap.

"This chicken dish is good," Tom said, pointing to an item on the menu.

Ann grimaced. Is he a control freak? I already told him what I want. "I don’t eat meat." Her voice sounded harsh in her own ears.

"Ah, well, okay, then. Fettuccini Alfredo it is." Tom called the waiter and ordered the Alfredo for Ann and a spicy chicken dish for himself.

I guess we don’t agree on everything after all. He drinks and eats meat, too. I hope he doesn’t drink a lot. Maybe we weren’t made for each other. Not knowing what else to do, Ann took a sip of water and smiled.

Tom smiled back. "You’ll have to come meet my cats one of these days. Tyra, a gorgeous, long-haired black female, is my bathroom kitty. Whenever I’m sitting in there, she has to be in my lap. There’ve been times when my pants have been around my feet, and she’s curled up in my underwear.

"Then there’s BeeBee. She’s a Siamese. When I first got her, I thought she liked to cuddle, but it turned out she was just scared. It took me a long time, with lots of persuasion, to get her to come close to me. Finally, I was able to pick her up. I had her in my arms, and I put my face down to smell her fur. Suddenly, she turned and bit me on the nose.

"I think my favorite, though, is Loki. He’s the smallest of the bunch. He has allergies, and if I don’t get him to the vet for a shot in time, he loses his fur on his rear quarters, right by his tail. He loves to ride on my shoulders. Looks just like I’m wearing a fur collar.

"Then there’s the two new ones, they’re the kittens. They haven’t developed personalities yet. You should always get two kittens instead of one," Tom said when the food arrived.

"Why?" Ann asked. Her face hurt from laughing at Tom’s cat stories. Mittens never did any of the things Tom’s cats did.

While she ate, Tom continued to share funny stories about the cats and kittens. "Kittens play with each other so you don’t need to play with them. You can just sit back and watch them. When I have kittens in the house, I don’t even turn on my T.V. set." Tom twirled pasta on his fork. He lifted the fork halfway to his mouth and stopped. "Looks like we have company," he groaned.

Ann turned. Maria and a curly-haired blond child entered. Ann watched Maria’s smile turn to a frown. Maria pulled the child toward their table. Ann gulped. Now what? Can’t she leave us alone? How can Tom and I ever get to know each other if she’s always showing up? She pasted a false smile on her face and clutched her napkin tightly.

"So you decided not to listen to me," Maria spat at Ann.

"Daddy!" the little girl cried, holding up her arms.

"Hi, Kitten," Tom said, scooping the child into his arms. He gave her a bear hug, and she giggled. "I want you to meet my friend, Ann. Ann, this is Kitten."

"Hi, Ann. Daddy calls me Kitten, but you can call me Catherine." The child put her arms around Tom’s neck and hugged him.

"Hello, Catherine," Ann said, finding her voice.

"At least you could have gone somewhere else, Tom. We always ate here," Maria accused and pushed Tom’s shoulder.

Tom moved Catherine to his other knee and glared at Maria. "Do we have to fight in front of Kitten?"

"Hey, Mr. Nice Guy, you’re the one who left us, remember?"

Removing Catherine from his lap, Tom stood up and faced Maria. "You’re creating a scene. Why don’t you leave before things get ugly?"

"Maybe you should have thought about that a long time ago." Maria poked Tom’s chest with her finger.

Ann watched in fear. Only moments ago, she and Tom were enjoying dinner. Maria’s face now looked hard and dark. She swore at Tom and poked him again. Then she shoved him on the shoulder.

Tom grabbed her hand. Maria spat at him and reached up, clawing his face with her other hand.

"I hate you," she screamed, grabbed her child, and ran out crying.

Tom turned to Ann. There were bloody scratches on his face. Ann dipped her napkin in her water glass and dabbed his cheek. "I’m sorry, Ann, I guess this spoiled dinner."

This is never going to work for us, not as long as Maria is in the picture. Ann nodded her head. "Sure did. I’m not very hungry now. I think I’d better just go home."

* * * * *
How to Reach Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz


  1. Mornin', girls! Great interview. I so agree with Penny on children and writing. I actually had a spell of ten years where I didn't write anywhere but in my head. Between the work that paid the bills and the teen years (away games, cheerleading, friends, away games, football, did I mention away games?) there wasn't time. There just wasn't. But not one thing got lost. It sat there brewing in a corner of my brain, and I humbly think was much better for the simmering time.

    1. I like to think of it as "marinating", Gail. When my kids were small, I took writing classes here and there, but I really couldn't focus enough to get anything on paper. Making up for it now, I hope :-) So glad you stopped by!

  2. Hi Pat, thank you for hosting me today and letting me talk about Love Delivery, my first MuseItUp book. Gail, thanks for stopping by and affirming my philosophy about kids and writing.

    1. Delighted to have you, Penny. Your list of works is impressive, and Love Delivery sounds like a wonderfully entertaining story. I wish you the best with it, and with all your writing!

  3. What a lovely, insightful interview and your excerpt held me capitivated. I wasn't expecting a Maria to turn up. Had to smile at the natural choice of affectionate nickname for Catherine. Ann and Tom don't seem to have too much in common to give them a smooth start but I'm sure there'll be something revealed in their favour. Btw, I enjoyed Mirror Mirror.

  4. Lovely interview, Penny and Pat. I like the sound of this novel and the fact you're using ordinary, everyday people.

  5. I'm late as usual. Nice interview and I like the title, Love Delivery!

  6. Thank you all for stopping by to support Penny and Love Delivery!

  7. Wonderful blog, my friend, congrats!