Sat down this week to begin work on the new novel. Wrote a friend that starting a new book is like jumping into a cold pool–one will find lots of ways to avoid making that initial plunge. 🙂

The present WIP is called “The Grandma Gene,” and it focuses on three sisters who meet at their late grandmother’s house to clean it out so they can sell it. As they go through her things, they begin to know her as a person, not as the grandma they knew.

“The Grandma Gene” refers to a propensity for marrying often — and a couple of the sisters have apparently inherited it. Before I could even begin to write this story, I knew I would need a timeline to keep track of who did what when. So I spent the better part of an afternoon with my calculator to set down the following timeline:

Timeline for Grandma Gene

1915: Lillian Irene Harper is born.

1928: Lillian’s father dies. Lillian leaves 8th grade to help her mother. She’s 13.

1931: Lillian marries Charles Winslow. She’s 16.

1932: Lillian gives birth to Donald “Donny” Madison Winslow.

1934: Lillian gives birth to a stillborn.

1935: Lillian gives birth to another stillborn.

1940: Lillian gives birth to Margaret Shirley Winslow, the girls’ mother.

1944, June 6: Charles Winslow killed at Invasion of Normandy

1945: Lillian marries Joseph Goldstein. Donny is 13; Meg is 5.

1950: Joseph Goldstein dies. Donny is 18; Meg is 10.

June 25: Korean War begins

1951: Following father’s example, Donny signs up for the Air Force.

1952: Lillian marries Arthur Carey. Meg is 12. Donny in Korea.

1953: Three days before Korean armistice declared, Donny dies in Korea. July 24.

1954: Arthur Carey dies. Meg is 14.

1956: Lillian marries Stanislav Bobinski. Meg is 16.

1958: Lillian divorces Stanislav Bobinski. Meg is 18 and engaged to Edward Lawrence.

1959: Lillian marries Edward Gordon. She is 44, Meg is 19.

1960: Meg marries James Lawrence.

1961: Ginger is born to Meg and James.

Lillian divorces Edward Gordon; he goes to prison.

Vietnam War begins.

1962: Lillian meets and marries Thomas James. She was 47 and a grandma.

1964: Lillian divorces Thomas James, philanderer.

1966: Pennyroyal is born to Meg and Lawrence. Ginger is five.

1968: Rosemary is born to Meg and Lawrence. Ginger is 7.

Lillian marries Walter George. She is 53. Ginger is flower girl.

Vietnam War ends.

1979: Ginger graduates from high school.

1983: Ginger graduates from college.

1984: Ginger marries Michael Bishop.

Penny graduates high school.

1986: Penny drops out of college to marry Ted Thacker.

Rosemary graduates high school.

1987: Penny in vet tech school.

1987: Penny gives birth to Reese Thacker.

1988: Rose marries Harper.

1989: Ginger gives birth to Ross Bishop.

Rose divorces Harper.

1991: Ginger gives birth to Ryan Bishop.

1993: Rose marries Jonah.

1995: James Lawrence, the girls’ father, dies when electrocuted. Age 60.

1996: Penny divorces Ted.

1997: Penny marries George.

1998: Penny divorces George.

Rose divorces Harper.

Walter George dies of heart failure. Lillian, devoted wife, is 83.

1999: Penny marries John.

2000: Penny divorces John.

Rose marries Wort Dodson.

2002: Penny marries Langston.

2005: Penny divorces Langston.

Rose establishes Racehorse rescue.

2007: Penny marries Bob. She’s 37, but Bob thinks she’s 32, his age.

2010: Lillian Harper Winslow Goldstein Carey Bobinski Gordon James George dies at 95. She bequeaths her beach house to her three granndaughters, Ginger, Penny, and Rose.

There. Put another check mark in the list of things to prepare before taking the plunge. Now, off to play THE SIMS.



  1. Connie

    WOW Angie, looks like you deserve some Sims time after that!! I’ll be looking forward to reading it 🙂

  2. Kathy C.

    Oh my goodness. Yes, you certainly need a time line for this book! Maybe you can include it in the book to help us keep everyone straight!! : )

  3. Kristin

    My head hurts.

  4. Linda G

    Sounds a little like a few people in my family. One possible typo.
    In 1958 Meg is engaged to Edward Lawrence, but in 1960 Meg marries
    James Lawrence.

    Even though my mom was only married once it was amazing what we found while cleaning out her apartment after she died.

  5. Anonymous

    The rebirth of the saga. WOW! Linda already asked my question, and she made my comment, too. Mother was a diarist (has a Guinness Record for 78+ years of writing) and she kept “back-up” for everything. It took me almost a year to go through her two full file cabinets and collection of boxes with news clippings, photos, documents, diplomas, etc. etc. If you need any help with details, Linda and I will be happy to give them. =) Clyde

  6. Ruthie

    Hmmmmm…either you have a REALLY active imagination or this is one of those times where the story imitates real life. Or maybe both? Either way this one is a doozy. Hope you can keep it all straight as you right. Me? I’d rather plunge into that icy cold pool!

  7. Linda G

    When is your deadline for this book? Are you going to give us a sneak peak on the Heavenly Daze Cruise? We can proof read it for you while enjoying the breeze on our balconies.

  8. SmilingSally

    This already sounds like a winner.


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