Monday, December 1, 2008

Giving Thanks for Girlfriends--Real & Imaginary by Deb Baker

By Deb Baker

Thanks to the Cozy Chicks for hosting me. I’m on tour through some of my favorite blogging communities to promote the launch of Ding Dong Dead, which hit the shelves today. For those of you who aren’t familiar with my protagonist, Gretchen Birch is a doll restoration artist transplanted from Boston to Phoenix. She has developed a close friendship with Nina, her mother’s younger new age sister (think auras, tarot cards, ghosts), and with April (doll appraiser and Curves work out buddy).

Girlfriends! They are my lifelines.

I don’t know about you but I couldn’t live without them. They see me at my very best (occasionally) and they stand by me and forgive me when I’m displaying my most demented side. We have the same gripes, usually having to do with aging parents, growing kids, and significant others. And we share our joys over personal accomplishments in all forms – working and playing. Girlfriends challenge us to reach for the stars, to follow our dreams, to dare to be the most we can be, even when we know in our hearts we really should run the other way.

Here are four odd, yet rich, experiences I never would have had without my girlfriends egging…er…encouraging me. I thank them for:

· Hot air ballooning. Okay this one wasn’t my dream, but I helped a girlfriend with hers. BTW, I’m more than a little uncomfortable with heights.

· Protesting the war with Women in Black. This one wasn’t my idea either, but what an experience! I’ll never forget the adversity we managed to conjure up by standing on a street corner silently holding anti-war signs.

· Running for state office. Once, when I thought I would never be a published author, I decided to go into politics (with a push from my girlfriends) because it was the only other career where I could still make stuff up. I didn’t win but going door-to-door prepared me for the promotional aspects of being published.

· Bringing home my first two sled dogs. This one had been my dream for years but would have remained just that if my girlfriends hadn’t encouraged me to make the first step. Two dogs morphed into twelve and I ran with my team in every Midwest race I could find.

Then there are long-distance girlfriends, the ones you don’t see every day, ones who make a huge impact anyway. Like Maggie Sefton, one of the Cozy Chicks. We met in Arlington at a publisher’s dinner and have been fast friends ever since. I was a fledgling author waiting for my first book to come out. Maggie’s knitting series was (is) doing great. The two of us paired up on a Wisconsin book signing tour that was the best I’ve ever done and the most fun. We celebrate each other’s successes and encourage each other as we work toward our goals.

So even though I write about murder, I also write about friendships between women. Gretchen Birch is a lucky protagonist, although sometimes she doesn’t appreciate her girlfriends as much as she should.

Sometimes I forget how important they are, too. This Thanksgiving I’m grateful for everything and everyone I have. Join me in giving thanks and feel free to share your special girlfriend experiences with us here.

I’m running a contest for a $50 gift certificate to the bookstore of your choice! Here’s how to win. Get a copy of Ding Dong Dead, read it, go to my website ( between December 2nd and January 15th and correctly answer three easy questions pertaining to the book. You will be entered into the drawing, which will take place at noon on January 15th. Winner will be notified through email and announced on my homepage Good luck!

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