Bestselling Novelist Jacquelyn Mitchard Sponsors a Contest for Readers
Randolph, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 09/11/2007 -- Jacquelyn Mitchard’s bestselling new novel (“Still Summer,” from Warner Books) is about a trip to paradise – a Caribbean crossing – that turns into a nightmare. Four friends from high school, reunited, sail into the sunrise only to have their idyll transformed in minutes when they lose their two-man sailboat crew and find themselves adrift in a disabled sailing boat without power, with little water, and with spoiled food that tempts the eager sharks when they pitch it over the side.
The vacation-gone-wrong (but not THAT wrong) is a staple for comedy, even though not all the wretched experience may not feel so funny to those who experience it. Therefore, Mitchard -- author of “The Deep End of the Ocean” -- is commemorating the publication of her first novel of suspense with a contest on her website (www.jackiemitchard.com) asking readers to send her two lines about their worst vacation ever.
And already, she’s winced, gasped, and laughed out loud at entries such as these:
* Chari, who’d gotten a cut on her arm while tending a fence at home, was on vacation for just 24 hours in Louisiana when she visited a convenient store to pick up a few items. The clerk, eyed her suspiciously and seemed very interested when Chari innocently explained she’d cut herself on a barbed-wire fence. Within minutes, she was surrounded by plainclothes detectives with drawn firearms: Little did Chari know that convicted murderer Lawrencia Bembenek had escaped from a Wisconsin prison and that the officers thought they’d captured “Bambi” on the run.
* A single mom and her grown daughter looked for a cruise on which they hoped to meet, as she explained to travel coordinators, “a few nice men.” They even got a 50% off coupon! But when they stepped onto the ship, they quickly realized that all the men were nice; but all the men were also gay. While they had a great time, and met some great guys, none was in the market for a girlfriend.
* Lisa was stuck chugging up the mountains of Jacaltenengo, Guatemala, in a chicken-delivery bust, while, back at the airport, airline employees cheerfully chose their favorite items from her lost luggage.
* Just as Carol was boarding the plane for Denver, she was paged by the airport to pick up a courtesy phone. She learned that her house was being robbed.
* Rick was on his way to New Mexico for a ski vacation when he was stranded by a blizzard in KANSAS (not noted for its downhill skiing), surrounded by snow and land so flat he was the biggest bump on the landscape.
* Jean endured an endless trip on the Amtrak train. It featured such amenities as over-flowing toilets and vomiting children, her own – who decorated her outfit and each other’s.
* Lynn and her pal didn't figure out in time why the place they stopped for the night on a weary car trip was called the “Three Hours Motel.”
* Philip knew his wife was tired of his too-frequent business-related trips. But he was delighted when she offered to pack for him -- only to learn that his suitcase contained nothing except newspapers stuffed around two bowling balls.
It’s going to be a challenge to top the reader who told Mitchard, "I was working at a charity golf tournament in North Dakota, even though I've never golfed. A turtle peed on me when I tried to save its life, and I broke my shoe and scraped my knee in a tragic post-tournament conga line incident."
But there was also the international traveler who checked in at Venice’s Marco Polo International Airport for the return to Minneapolis, only to be informed that the flight out of Amsterdam later that day had been canceled TWO WEEKS EARLIER. Later arriving at Schipol, she was transported by a friendly airline rep to a hotel in the middle of nowhere, where her only option for dinner was that exotic Dutch delicacy, Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Not all of the summer vacation stories are comical. For example:
* Lynn and her young daughter missed their flight at O’Hare Airport in Chicago when they (gulp!) literally tripped over an unfortunate gentleman who met eternity and hit the floor just as they walked through the door.
* And poor Patricia was delighted to divorce the husband who took her on a New Orleans junket with her (ex) husband's co-workers -- only to find out just as they left that he was having an affair with one of the group.
More entries are pouring in, as Mitchard’s book makes his way up bestseller lists around the country. The prizes for women are a pair of handmade-by-the-author Message in a Bottle earrings (the message reads: “Survive! Help Is On The Way,” which could apply to some of these vacation scenarios).
The men will receive a bottle of Still Summer cologne, specially made by fragrance artist Zaja (see aromaticbodyoils on www.etsy.com) to capture the “essence” of the novel, both tempestuous and mysterious.
Send entries to Jackie@jackiemitchard.com, and visit her website, www.jackiemitchard.com, for more details. There will doubtless be more stories to tell, because vacations are only now wrapping up.
After all, it’s still summer.
By Jacquelyn Mitchard