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, December 10, 2009

If Only BUBBA Got Run Over by a Reindeer

Dear Mama, Here it is almost Christmas, and I still don't know what to do about my husband's drunken uncle, Bubba. He's managed to ruin every holiday dinner his family has ever had. This is my first year hosting at our home, and I flat-out do not want that sorry loser at my dinner table.

It'd be one thing if the man was a cheerful drunk. But he gets meaner than a rattlesnake with every swallow, and just as likely to strike. Last year, he told Donnie's cousin Toya she ought to lose some of her excess baby weight, and the only way to do it was to quit stuffing her face like she was still eating for two. PS: Toya was never pregnant.

When her boyfriend stood up to defend her, Bubba knocked him into the just-carved turkey. When the poor boy hit the floor, he brought down the bird and three side dishes. Donnie's mama was picking giblets and creamed corn out of her shag carpet for a week after.
Should Bubba be banned, Mama?


Doesn't Like Drunks

Dear Doesn't,

Honey, I have been there, done that. Husband No. 2 was an awful drinker, and three of his brothers were alkies, too. When those four got together, it was like backsliders' night at the Halfway House. One Fourth of July, those mo-rons brought two cases of fireworks to set off. I'm here to tell you Jack Daniels and explosives do not make a good match.

No. 2's youngest brother blew off his right thumb. After the ambulance took him away, the oldest two got into a fight about whose fault it was. One pulled out a gun and started shooting. Everybody dove for cover, including that sourpuss Ida, who nearly fractured a hip trying to hide under the picnic table.

So, my answer is yes, lock your door and hide the key. Tell Bubba he's banned from your family table until he takes those 12 Steps. Of course, that's no reason the rest of y'all can't enjoy a little nip of holiday cheer. I always say the worst parties come down to either too much liquor or not enough. Believe me, a little glass of pink wine is about the only thing that makes my sister-in-law Ida tolerable.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Goes Best with the Red Carpet?

Oh my stars, y'all! I'm getting an award!!!!

Somebody on this Wide World of the Web has decided my little advice column is one of the Top 100 Mystery Novel Blogs. Check out the logo on the upper right hand portion of this page. That makes it official!

I'm pretty sure they meant the Top 10, but I'm not going to quibble .... I'm sure before the red carpet ceremony in Hollywood, they'll get all the figures straightened out. I bet the same accounting firm that handles the votes for the Academy Awards is going to tally up our votes, too, to see who's No. 1.

But enough of this boring talk about math. What in the world am I going to wear? Now, here's where I can use y'all's help. Being the best-dressed woman in Himmarshee, Fla., is one thing. But Hollywood? That's a whole 'nother universe. I do not want to end up as a red-carpet fashion victim, like that poor gal from Iceland who draped the swan across her neck and called it a dress. Here's a picture, in case you don't remember (though, honestly, how could you forget?)

I just hope when I'm up there at the podium, accepting my award for the Top Blog on the whole Wide World of the Web, that they don't let that rapper fellow, Kenny West, anywhere near the stage. Did y'all see the way he grabbed the microphone away from that sweet Taylor Swift the other night? Poor girl looked like she plucked the biscuit with the hair out of the bread basket.

All I can say is thank goodness Beyonce's mama taught her some manners. I got a tear in my eye when Beyonce's turn came at the podium, and she called Taylor up to have her say. And I sure did like that red dress Beyonce had on, too. Hey, if any of y'all happen to see her, tell Beyonce to drop me a line at Ask Mama. The high heel is on the other foot. I could sure use some of her advice on award ceremony fashion do's. This is my moment on the red carpet, and I do not intend to be a fashion don't.

(Note to Mace: Honey, have those Hollywood people called yet? I do not understand why they're waiting 'til the last minute to iron out the details of when and where I'm getting my worldwide award).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Somebody Needs a Good Slappin'

Well, hello friends! I'm not that great on the computer, and I don't talk directly too much to all my readers. But listen, y'all, somebody is going to have to speak to that author gal, Deborah Sharp.

She's supposed to be working on my fourth story -- MAMA SEES STARS. It's all about how a Hollywood movie company comes to Himmarshee, and I get myself a speaking part. There was a spot of trouble over a murder, and a couple of near misses, too ... but I absolutely nailed (that's how the Hollywood actors say it: Nailed) my role as Ruby, a beautiful dancehall gal. You can ask anybody. And wait until you see me in Ruby's red dress. I don't look a day over 50. (Mace: erase that 50 to say 40, would you honey?)

Anyhoo, this is the problem: Miss Fancy Pants Author is not working on my latest story. Oh, no. Says she's too busy promoting the first two books. Oh, she had to take off time from writing about me to go all the way to New York City and be on TV. Maybe you saw her on the Today Show? That Natalie Morales is cute as a button, but Miss Too-Big-for-her-Britches barely mentioned ME. She's been flying off to Chicago, then to something called Killer Nashville (I'd like to kill something, and it ain't Nashville!), and then she's going to Vero Beach, and then north to Indianapolis.

And, 'promoting??' Hons, my stories sell themselves. That's how good they are. She makes it sound like she's having to coerce the Baptists to serve beer in their fellowship hall.

I want y'all to show up at one of them signings or talks or panels or whatever it is she has scheduled and give Miss Big-time a talking-to. I wouldn't even mind if you speak forcefully, if you get my drift. I've always thought she could stand to have a little sense slapped upside her head.

You tell her she better get back to work on STARS. There are thousands upon thousands of people (well, a hundred or two, at least) on the edge of their seats to see what's gonna happen next in Mama's life. You tell her authors are a dime a dozen, but there's only one Mama. And since that's me, Mama, I just might find me another scribbler to finish up properly what Litte Missy started on MAMA SEES STARS.

(Mace, you'll be sure to fix that typo about looking 50 before you mail this to the Wide World of the Web, won't you?)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Would you believe: Iguana Urine a Form of Welcome?

Dear Mama,
An iguana just let loose on my mother-in-law. Maybe you heard the scream all the way up in Himmarshee? She was relaxing in the shade of a palm tree on the dock behind our house, when all of a sudden: SPLASH. This was a BIG iguana, so it was a veritable tsunami of reptile pee rolling down from the palm fronds.

I tried to tell her this is life in south Florida ... a sweet manatee and calf meander by in the river one moment, a river of iguana ick rains down the next.

She's convinced, however, I somehow arranged for the iguana to be positioned high in the branches of the palm tree, right over the lawn chair she'd decide to use. Have you seen the claws on those suckers? I wouldn't try to position one ANYWHERE.

So, Mama, what should I do now? How does a daughter-in-law make right what nature has wrought?

Iguana Fan

Dear Iggy,

Well, honey ... are you sure you want to make it right? I've had 4 mother-in-laws, including one that moved in for a year. What I wouldn't have given for an incontinent iguana or two.

But if you really do want to get back on her good side (she does have a good side, right?), then you have to cook her a nice meal to make-up. That, and some fragrant soap and shampoo to get rid of the stench of iguana pee.

I went on the Wide World of the Web (it's amazing, really, what-all you can find on that Infonet). How 'bout some Iguana Stew? They say it tastes like chicken. This St. Petersburg, Fla., newsman, Jeff Klinkenberg, writes all about it here.

Good luck, honey. And watch out for those claws. I mean your mother-in-law's, not the poor lizard's.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Rodeo Wear?

Dear Mama,

I'm going to be in Okeechobee, Fla., on Sat., July 25th, to celebrate National Day of the American Cowboy (Who knew we had one?) I know that's pretty close to your hometown of Himmarshee, so I'm hoping you have some advice for me on what to wear.

I have to be comfortable, since I'll be at the Agri-civic center rodeo grounds for several hours, talking about and signing my book, MAMA RIDES SHOTGUN. It's very hot this time of year in middle Fla., I know. May I dress accordingly?

A Fan in Fort Lauderdale

Dear ''Fan,''

Honey, you aren't fooling me one bit with that young gal you sent a picture of. I know who you are: Deborah Sharp, Miss Snippy Author. Plus, that little gal in the cowgirl mini is young enough to be your granddaughter.

I know we've had our issues, what with you stealing all my stories for your books and all. But I'll do the Christian thing. I forgive you. And, I'm big enough to offer you my fashion advice. Lord knows you need it.

First of all, yes, it's warm. July here is hotter than two rats getting it on in a wool sock. But no short shorts (please, not in any setting, not at your age) and no halter tops (Gravity, honey. 'Nuff said.) You'll need a cowboy hat. And jeans are always in style in Himmarshee. One last thing, if your husband comes with you, tell him no Bermuda shorts and NO sandals. Those ''mandals'' will mark y'all as outsiders faster than trying to order a cappuccino at the Booze 'n' Breeze Drive-thru.

PS: It might have been nice, since I'm so close to Okeechobee, if you'd have invited me to be there for the big signing for OUR book. It's okay. I forgive you for that, too. But honey, you are pushin' your luck.

Love (?),

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Madder than a Box of Frogs

Dear Readers,

I know this Wide World of the Web plog is for y'all to write me for advice. But I need a little advice myself. What do you wear to a butt-kickin'? Because that's what I'm fixing to give that snippy author Deborah Sharp!

I've told you how she grabs all the attention for the Mama books, even though all she does is write down my stories.

''Creative'' writing, I guess she calls it.

Anyhoo ... get a gander at this press release her fancy publisher sent out about my latest: Mama Rides Shotgun. Go ahead and read it, below. Then, I want you to tell me if you see ANY mention whatsoever of my role as creator and originator of the Mama character. Nope, didn't think so.

And that's my next question: Where do I find me a good copyright lawyer?

Contact: Courtney Kish

Midnight Ink Publicity

Email: CourtneyK@MidnightInkBooks.com

Tel: 651-312-8452

Midnight Ink Midnight Ink

For Immediate Release

Native Floridian Continues Her Own Slice of “Old Florida” in Second Mystery

Author Deborah Sharp focuses on little-known rodeo-and-ranches slice of her state

“An amusingly wild ride through parts of Florida tourists rarely visit.”–Kirkus Reviews

ST. PAUL, MINN. — Native Floridian Deborah Sharp continues her passion about the vanishing culture, back roads and burgs of “Old Florida” in her second mystery novel Mama Rides Shotgun, (July).

In Mama Rides Shotgun, Mama's fixin' to marry husband number five. But before she does, she convinces daughter Mace to saddle up for some country-gal bonding on the Florida Cracker Trail. The six-day ride is going fine until wealthy rancher Lawton Bramble keels over in his Cow Hunter Chili.

A one-time beau of Mama's, Lawton Bramble had a bad ticker and tons of enemies. Mace has her doubts about natural causes, along with a long list of suspects who might have "spiced" the cattleman's chili. Mace's worried sisters Maddie and Marty join the ride, as does her sexy ex-beau, Detective Carlos Martinez. With—or despite—their help, Mace is determined to corral this killer.

Florida native Deborah Sharp is a former USA Today reporter. She left news tragedies behind to write the funny, Southern-fried “Mace Bauer Mystery’’ series. Her essays and short stories have run nationally, and her humor commentaries play on the NPR station in Tampa, Fla. Interviewed by Al Roker on NBC’s TODAY Show, Deborah has also made many appearances at book fests and conventions. Visit her on the web at: www.DeborahSharp.com.

Mama Rides Shotgun: A Mace Bauer Mystery (Book 2) by Deborah Sharp

US $14.95 CAN $16.95 | Paperback Original | ISBN: 978-0-7387-1330-4

PUB DATE: July 2009 | Midnight Ink Books

For more information, visit www.MidnightInkBooks.com.


To request a review copy or arrange an interview with the author, please contact:

Courtney Kish, Midnight Ink Publicity

Email: CourtneyK@MidnightInkBooks.com, Tel: 651-312-8452

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Perfect Mother's Day Gift

Dear Mama,

Mother's Day is fast approaching, and I have no idea what to get my own mama.

A tattoo is out; I did that last year. Since the rehab, the six-pack of wine coolers I usually get her is out, too. And after that Janet Jackson-style incident with her and that too-tight tube top at the truck pull, I don't want to get her a clothing store gift certificate. There's just no telling what kind of hoochie-mama outfit she'd come home with. She's gotten way too big for stretchy anything, but I'm not going to be the one to break the news that not even Spandex has infinite pliability.

And don't even suggest a nice dinner out at the Speckled Perch. Mama's not welcome there anymore after that ruckus she caused in the parking lot when she busted open the back of a stock trailer hauling her ex-boyfriend's prize bull. It's a shame that semi-truck driver picked just that moment to speed past on State Road 98.

Can you suggest a gift that won't piss her off, endanger her sobriety, or cause a clothing malfunction too embarrassing to contemplate in a woman of my mama's considerable size?

In a Quandry

Dear Quandry,

Now, don't take this wrong, honey .... but, your mama can read, can't she? Because if she can, I have the best idea for her Mother's Day gift. I don't want to sound immodest, but there's a terrific book out now called Mama Does Time. It's all about ME! Here's a picture of the cover:

Oh, it's no secret I've had a quibble or two with that fancy author who wrote the book. Like, Number One, how come Ms. Deborah Sharp gets all the credit when I actually lived the story and all she did was write it down? But that's water under the bridge. She's already got a second one coming out in July: Mama Rides Shotgun. That one's all about me, too.

But anyhoo, people do seem to like Mama Does Time, and she put enough of my sayings and all in there to make it entertaining (Believe me, I've met Ms. Sharp. She's about as lively as a Lutheran hymn fest.)

And maybe my story will give your mama a little something to brag about. No matter what all she's done, she hasn't done time. Or maybe she has. In that case, it'll give her something to identify with.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Proper Etiquette after a Bar Fight?

Dear Mama,

I had a little too much to drink the other night at Gator O'Riley's Bar and BBQ, and I let this uppity gal from Orlando get my goat. Well, long story short, we wound up in a catfight. I'm talking hair-pulling, floor-rolling, nail-breaking warfare.

Here's my question, Mama. I'd sooner push a Brahma bull uphill than apologize to that snippy witch from O'town (Who the hell does she think she is, calling
me a redneck?)

But I do think it would be polite to make some kind of gesture to Gator himself.
What's appropriate? A nice card with a personal note? A check to cover the mirror I broke when I tossed her sorry ass into it? Flowers?

I want to do the right thing, Mama. And I also want Gator to let me back in the door, especially since Thursday's coming up, and that's Chicks Drink Free night.



Dear Bubbette,

Honey, have you heard of AA? Sounds to me like you could stand to become a Friend of Bill, if you get my drift.

But if you haven't hit bottom yet . . . though, believe me, rolling around on a barroom floor soaked in beer and who knows what-all seems to be getting pretty close . . . I advise sending Gator that check for damages. I know the man, and he doesn't seem like the daisies type.

You didn't ask for fashion advice, but here it is anyway: Dark blue jeans are your best bet if you're going to keep bar-fighting. They barely show the blood at all.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Mama, It's COLD Outside!

Dear Mama,

This shivering Florida gal needs your help. This cold snap we're having shows no sign of ending, and I don't know a damn thing about dressing for frigid weather while looking fashionable.

Is that even possible? Does anyone look good in down? I mean, consider Wisconsin.

Please rush your advice. It's been so cold down South (check out that pix above of my husband taking a dip in Lake Okeechobee.
That's how cold we've been!), I'm at my wit's end.

Mama, what do you do, fashion-wise, when the temperature dips?

Signed, Shivering

Dear Shivering,

Honey, there's no use fighting it. You have to dress for the cold first, and worry about fashion second. Now, I know that's heresy coming from me, but have you been outside lately?

When I went to walk Teensy this morning, I was wearing a red Snugee blanket over my purple warm-up suit and a pair of Sal's golf socks on my hands. I even had on a stocking cap, and believe me, you do not want to see my 'do suffering from that Northern syndrome known as ''hat hair.'' I was just grateful no photographer from the Himmarshee Times newspaper drove by and snapped my picture.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. And I am DESPERATE for this cold weather to end. Thought you might like to see a photo of Teensy, below, in his little winter sweater. I figure he looks so adorable, maybe folks won't look too close at me until I can shed this insulation and break out the sherbet-colored pantsuits again.

Love, Mama

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Well, I Am Plumb Exhausted!

My goodness, it has been way too long since I've had a minute to sit down and answer all my letters and queries here at Ask Mama. I promise I will get back on track soon.

Who knows what Fashion Don'ts and Love Life Crises have arisen while I've been otherwise engaged? And I mean that literally, y'all! My fiance Sal popped the question, and I'm planning the biggest wedding little Himmarshee, Fla., has ever seen.

My middle daughter Mace calls it the Wedding of the Century, but I suspect she's being a little bit of a smart aleck, as usual. I do know we have a Gone with the Wind theme, complete with my dog, Teensy, as a ring bearer and ruffled gowns and parasols for my three bridesmaid daughters. They look as pretty as the Southern belles at Cypress Gardens.

I just hope the Yankees don't burn down Tara, figuratively speaking. You may remember my man Sal is from New York City (and, yes, I love him anyway.) A whole passel of his kinfolk are heading south on I-95, and some folks in Himmarshee feel like it's Sherman's March all over again.

I'll keep y'all posted on the progress. I even hear that snippy author, Deborah Sharp, is writing a story about the whole to-do. She's calling it Mama Gets Hitched, though I think I could have come up with a snappier title.

Well, ta-ta for now. I'll catch up with your questions soon.


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