Welcome to Ask Mama, for all the answers . . .

Rosalee Provenza, Mama in my mystery series, thinks she's the whole reason for Mama Does Time (Midnight Ink, 2008), and Mama Rides Shotgun (2009). She was sure her star couldn't shoot any higher after Mama Gets Hitched came out in 2010. But, sure enough, her head swelled to Hollywood diva size after 2011's Mama Sees Stars debuted with a red carpet party, complete with paparazzi. Now she's mixing it up with Mama Gets Trashed (September 2013). Don't tell Mama you read this note from me. In her mind, she sprung to life all on her own.
Author Deborah Sharp
PS: Mama has a way of taking over; but you'll find my own website nearly Rosalee-free.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Advice to the Lovelorn

Now, y'all know I'm Himmarshee's fashion maven (that's a word I learned from one of my aromatherapy customers who moved to our little burg from New York City. It means expert.) Did you know I also dispense romantic advice? As someone who's  pranced down the bridal path a time or two (or five), I can tell when your would-be beloved does not pass the smell test. A couple of my exes stunk like the dumpster out back of Skipper's Seafood Shack, so I know what I'm talking about. I just got this letter, and I was happy to set this gal straight:

Dear Mama, 
My fiance is about to pluck my last nerve. I've been planning our wedding for the last six months. He's had zero interest in what we're serving, how we're dressing, or who all's coming. Don't even ask about his response the one time I put some pictures of cakes and color samples on the kitchen table to get his input. 
His eyes rolled back in his head and he pushed up out of his chair. 
"We got any more beer?'' 
You see what I mean? 
About all I expect of him is to show up on time and make sure the fly is zipped in his tuxedo pants. 
Now, with the wedding less than two weeks away, he's suddenly taken an interest. A buddy of his brought his wedding album by the trailer. My groom's now brimming with ideas. He wants a camouflage theme, just like his buddy's big day. I don't mind some camo accents here and there, maybe for cummerbunds or the bunting in a bouquet with yellow carnations. But he's talking a camouflage tsunami, with everybody from the minister to the flower girl garbed up like deer hunters. 
What do you think, Mama? Should I change everything just to make him happy? 

Not a Happy Hunter

Dear Not Happy,
Run for the hills, honey. This man is not marrying material.
I don't have a thing against camouflage clothing (in fact, I have a sexy outfit in pink camo that Sal thinks is adorable!) What stinks is a selfish nature, and your groom has that in spades.
First, he lets you do all the hard work, acting like it's beneath him to help plan what's supposed to be the happiest day of your lives. Then, at the last minute, he expects you to toss out everything in favor of his harebrained idea. (How many of those beers did he drink anyway, mooning over his buddy's wedding pictures?)
Selfish, selfish, selfish.
Break off the engagement. Cut your losses. Then go out looking for a man who cares about your feelings. C'mon by and see us at Hair Today, Dyed Tomorrow beauty parlor. We'll do a pick-me-up makeover, and I'll even let you borrow my pink camo get-up for your manhunt.
You can see what it looks like, in the picture just above. 


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Yippee, y'all! We're getting back to Mama handing out advice here in the bloggosphere. As you know, that's something I dearly love to do. So here's my most recent fashion question:

Dear Mama, 
I don't know what to do about an author friend of mine. She insists on wearing a feather boa to book signings, conferences,  and the like. I don't have the heart to tell her the boa's gotten kind of ripe (if you know what I mean) and it's really ratty looking. It's molting, and she leaves a trail of feathers everywhere she goes. Plus, who wears a boa with a pantsuit? Well, I know you do, Mama, but that's because you were in that movie recently and you became a Hollywood diva. I read all about it in Mama Sees Stars. Divas are expected to swan about in dark sunglasses and feather boas. 

Authors? Not so much. 

So my question is this: How do you tell a friend when they're making a big fashion faux pas? I don't want her to feel bad, but I'm also tired of vacuuming up feathers from the floor mats whenever she rides in my car. Did I mention I'm allergic to birds?

A Concerned Friend

Dear Concerned,

It's funny you should ask, because I know someone just like your friend. That snippy author Deborah Sharp runs around in a boa, pretending to be me. It makes me madder than a wasp with a ruined nest, I can tell you that.  Last time I checked, she wasn't the one who was cast in a Hollywood movie. I put a picture on this page, above, so you can see her blatantly trying to steal my spotlight, not to mention my red carpet.  (PS: Who wears a boa with sneakers?)

But enough about me. I say you sit your friend down and tell her the truth. That's always the best way to handle advice, don't you think? Well, unless one of your daughters asks if a certain dress she's wearing makes her look fat. It turns out you really should tell a white lie, or she'll go on a diet and not bring you candy on Mother's Day. Trust me.

You could always convince your friend to wear a sherbet-colored scarf instead of a boa. A scarf is just as pretty, and they don't shed. Unless you buy it at the dollar store. 

Yours Truly,

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mama Takes Manhattan

Howdy, y'all! This blogger spot had me locked out for a while, but I'm back now. Something about passwords and authentication. My middle daughter Mace finally took care of it. I told her to tell those folks down at the Hotmail factory I'm a Florida native, and as authentic as they come. ''Tell them I resent the implication,'' I told Mace. She said the tech support people could not give one -- or zero -- about what I do or do not resent.

Anyhoo, you may have heard the big news: That snippy author Deborah Sharp made a visit this week to the Today Show in New York City. As much as it pains me to say it, she didn't take my fashion advice ... and it turned out all right. I was lobbying pretty hard for her to wear something in the sherbet-colored spectrum. Lord knows that palette's worked for me. But she listened instead to some salesgirl at the Dillard's in Fort Lauderdale. It's no surprise our Ms. Fancy Pants Author would choose a swanky department store over Himmarshee's very own Home on the Range Feed Store and Clothing Emporium, is it?

Anyway, here's a picture Mace snapped off the TV of her in that pretty royal blue sweater:

I'm big enough to admit it works. Now that her hair's going gray, that wintry blue is a fine color choice. But don't get me started on how I feel about her opting for the natural look, hair-wise. Betty Taylor, the owner of Hair Today, Dyed Tomorrow Beauty Parlor, could take 10 years off her look if she'd just sit down for a little highlight and tint.

Did you happen to see her interview? When that nice Savannah Guthrie asked her how many times I'd been married, she made a big show of counting out all five times on her fingers. I've never thought someone else's unfortunate marital history should be the source of a cheap joke, have you?

You can watch a clip of Ms. Fancy Pants on TV by clicking here. Maybe if she ever gets invited back up to New York City, she'll ask me along for the interview. After all, I'm only the one who's lived the stories she writes down in those books of hers. Not that I'm bitter, understand. Bitterness is just as unbecoming as failing to give credit where it's due. That's a little bit of advice, courtesy of Mama. Hopefully, it won't fall on deaf ears.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mama's Big Ol' Blog Tour

Hi, there ... Snippy Author here. Mama's invited me here to her blog because somebody's got to help me remember where I'm supposed to be guest-blogging (it's clear I haven't remembered to blog here, at Ask Mama, for a good little while!)

Today is the official release date of MAMA SEES STARS, the fourth book in my funny, Southern-fried Mace Bauer Mystery series. All the kids are doing blog tours, so I thought I'd try one, too. But I'm old, and kind of lazy ... so not only am I not making that many stops, I've also screwed up the scheduling through failure to plan and memory lapses.

Hence, I have lots of days with no stops, and a few days with too many stops. Sigh.

Anyway, I'm putting a list here of where I'm supposed to be, and what I'm supposed to write about (either as the fictional Mama character or the relatively real me). I think I can remember my way back to Ask Mama to check from time to time to see if A, I'm who I thought I was, and B, I'm at the tour stop where I'm supposed to be.

Do check out some of the wonderful bloggers so graciously hosting me:

MAMA SEES STARS Big Ol' Blog Tour, Sept-Oct 2011

Sept. 8, Launch Date:
Mama on Aromatherapy: Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers

Interview with Gail Shepherd on her blog about writing, PARADOXY

Profile by Jackie Minniti, Fabulous Florida Writers

Sept 9:

A Day in the Life of Mama, at the blog of super reader Dru Ann Love.

Bling My Boa, at the Midnight Ink Writers' Blog, Inkspot

Sept. 12:

Five Great Public Speaking Tips for Writers, at Elizabeth Craig's terrific blog, Mystery Writing is Murder

Sept. 15:

Guest at Barnes and Noble's online Mystery Book Club. Moderator: Becke Davis

Sept. 23:

''Watch for Falling Logophiles,'' at Cozy Chicks.

Oct. 13:

Guest Blogger at Meanderings and Muses, with the fabulous Kay Barley.

Oct. 23:

Sweeeeet!, Deborah on Movie Candy at Mystery Lovers Kitchen

Oct. 31:

Mama's Horrifying Halloween at Killer Characters

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dress for the Weather

I thought I'd sit down and jot a few words, since the rain has all but spoiled going outside today. It's so gloomy and overcast in Himmarshee, Fla. The only living creatures who aren't sick to death of this weather are the dabbling ducks and the gators.

When the day is this gray, I like to cheer things up by dressing in lots of color. If you've read anything about me in one of those mystery books Ms. Author writes, you already know I like anything in shades of sherbet. I've got my sherbet-colored pantsuits, of course, but I've also got slickers and boots and rain hats in every hue in the ice-cream rainbow. I've been on the look-out for a cute raincoat for my sweet Pomeranian, Teensy. Maybe something like what the cat's wearing in that picture, above? I just know Teensy could rock that little cloak, but it'd have to be in lime-sherbet green or raspberry, to match my foul-weather gear. You let me know if you see anything, hear? Teensy wears an XXXXSmall. My new husband, ''Big Sal'' Provenza, on the other hand, wears an XXXXLarge. Not that I'd ever get that man into a sherbet-colored rain cloak.

Well, thanks for letting me bend your ear for a moment or two on this dreary day. If it was already September, I could sit down with a copy of MAMA SEES STARS. I like to take out my red pen and mark up all the parts of my story Ms. Smarty Pants got wrong. But the book won't be out until then, so I have to find something else to do in the meantime.

Tell me, what do you do to cheer yourself up on nasty days?

Love, Mama

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Too Much or Just Enough?

I never thought I'd see the day. That know-it-all author, Deborah Sharp, has come to me for fashion advice. Can you believe it?

She wants to know whether she should bring along the lovely ''Mama veil'' when she goes to Malice Domestic, a big convention for fans of mystery books. It's in Maryland, right outside Washington, DC, and she'll be there from April 30 to May 1.

I told her, Absolutely! Pack up that bridal vision and turn some heads! My mama taught me to ALWAYS make an entrance, and believe me, with that veil Miss Sharp will certainly make an entrance in the halls of Malice.

I hear she's been wearing it at some of the signings she's been doing for MAMA GETS HITCHED. I say ''hear'' because she's never seen fit to invite me to a single signing, even though every one of her blasted books is based on something that happened to ME. She says the veil is modeled after the one I wore when I married Big Sal Provenza last summer ... but then she tells folks at her signings that it looks like a prehistoric wedding bird flew over and plopped a five-pound turd of tulle and fake flowers right on top of her head. Now, I ask you, is that any way for Miss Author to talk about the fashion sense of her literary muse?

Anyhoo ... she's all worried that people will think she's just looking for attention at Malice Domestic. She's afraid they'll stare. I told her, "Honey, there's nothing wrong with a little attention and admiration. Lord knows I'm used to it!''

I promised to put the question to my faithful readers. So, here it is ... The Mama Veil: Too much or Just enough?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mama's Plumb Web Crazy

Well, y'all, this Internet thing is about to pluck my last nerve.

Mace and I have been knocking ourselves out to see if we can't get my little advice column and myriad musings on the Wide World of the Web to ''feed'' over to a ''page'' that snippy author Deborah Sharp set up over at a place called ''Amazon.'' I'm putting those special quote marks around the things I don't really understand in that last sentence. The only feed we're familiar with here in Himmarshee is for chickens, hogs and cattle. You can walk right up to the counter at Home on the Range Feed Store and Clothing Emporium and ask for it by name.

Easy, breezy, right? Let me tell you, visiting the nice folks at Home on the Range is nothing like trying to get something done on the Internet.

Nonetheless, we're going to keep on trying. Well, if I'm honest, I'd have to say my daughter Mace is going to keep on trying. I myself am enjoying a glass of sweet pink wine. Ahh, that's good! Another couple of these, and I won't care where in the world my ''post'' ''feeds'' to.

But Mace is working awful hard to get it to work. Please do let me know if my latest musing ever shows up at the Amazon shop, would you?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Stars & Garters!!

I'm absolutely in a dither, y'all! I need some advice, right quick.

What should I wear for my turn on the red carpet when MAMA SEES STARS comes out in September? (You can get a sneak peek at the book right here. Somebody pasted it out there on the internet, right onto the Wide World of the Web. )

It's still hot as Hades in Himmarshee in September. So, whatever I wear can't show sweat .... er, ''dew.'' I know you've heard the saying: Horses sweat; men perspire; ladies dew.

Well, honey, the ''dew'' is running like a river in middle Florida in September. You're lucky if you make it from your air-conditioned house to your air-conditioned car without sopping wet stains as big as dinner plates under your armpits and your pantyhose all soggy and stuck in spots you didn't even know you had. I don't mean to get personal, but I'm just sayin.'

So, help me out, won't you? What's cool, comfortable, appropriate red-carpet garb for a Southern gal of a certain age? I won't mention the specific number, because you'd never believe it. Everybody tells me I look 10 years younger than I am. I know I look 10 times better than that fancy author, Deborah Sharp. She's sure to be there on the red carpet, too, taking all the credit as usual. But this one is purely my story. It's all about how I got a part when the film crew came to shoot in Himmarshee. It was so exciting!

Of course, there was that murder and all. Still, I've heard my scene in the movie they made has all the hallmarks of a Hollywood legend. That's why the pressure is on to pick the perfect outfit, y'all. Mama Sees Stars might just be my ticket to super-stardom.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Snippy Author Stealing My Stories ... Again

Howdy, y'all ... she's done it again. Months and months and months go by without a single word from that snippy author, Deborah Sharp. And then my middle daughter Mace goes onto the Face Book and finds that she has another book coming out soon. Well, la-di-da.

Anybody want to take a guess about whose story she's stolen again? That's right. Mine. Doesn't that gal have any ideas from her OWN life?

As you can see from picture to the left, the new book is called MAMA SEES STARS; it'll be out in October. If it was up to me, we'd call it MAMA BECOMES A STAR, since that's how the whole thing went down when a Hollywood movie company came to film in little Himmarshee. But, as usual, no one asked me. I'll have to admit, Ms. Sharp's publisher has done a bang-up job with the new cover. Though there might be a few too many bullet holes in that movie theater marquee. There weren't that many people who got shot.

Anyhoo, just wanted to say a few words here to update everybody on the latest way that Ms. Smarty Pants has inserted herself into my life. I haven't been getting onto the computer like I used to, because I've been so busy these last few months, being a newlywed and all. Believe me, y'all, it doesn't get any easier just because I've skipped down the bridal path a time or two before (OK, a time or four before). I'm going to try to make more time for the Wide World of the Web, though, because I want everybody to know who's really living these tales while she's out there taking all the credit.

I hear she's at Sleuthfest, some big mystery conference, this weekend. I also hear she's wearing some bright colors for her panels ... a turquoise jacket, and one in pink. Now, I wonder where Ms. Dressed in Black got THAT idea? That's right: From me! You may remember I'm a aromatherapist and consultant at Hair Today, Dyed Tomorrow, where I compile seasonal color charts and tell all the gals how they can improve their looks and their moods by dressing in cheerful colors. Maybe Ms. Author is finally catching on. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Snippy Author Sees Stars

Well, I have to say .... Ms. Deborah Sharp did not embarrass herself when she went on the Today show on Aug. 24 to talk about my latest story, MAMA GETS HITCHED.

Of course, BLACK is not a fashion choice I'd make for a pantsuit. Sherbet colors are so much cheerier. Not to mention, my little Pomeranian, Teensy, sheds like a blizzard, so I never wear dark colors. I was encouraged to see her in a little lipstick, though. Wonder if it was Apricot Ice, my favorite shade?

Anyhoo ... aside from the fact she never mentioned my name, which, by the way is now Rosalee Provenza, since Sal and I tied the knot, Ms. Author did all right for herself. If you missed it, you can watch the Today Show link here

And if you happen to see Ms. Author, tell her not to get too big for her britches. After all, there wouldn't be any stories for her to write without Mama! The TV folks even made my latest tale one of their ''Hot Summer Reads.''

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