Laughter is the Best Medicine

According to HelpGuide.org, laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. This is one of my favorite pictures of my dad and my youngest granddaughter. I can hear Dad laughing as he and Georgia ham it up for the camera.

As a romance writer, I have shied away from writing anything truly contemporary these days but it’s dawned on me that this is going to be our reality for some time yet, and other things that have changed may never go back to the way things were.

So, when I decided to write a romantic comedy for the new Cute But Crazy Series, Unique and Unpredictable, I wanted it to reflect the times we’re living in, so masks and social distancing are a thing in the story. While so many people struggle to see any good in these measures, I wanted to make them seem natural and normal, a fact of life not an extra misery or deterrent.

I live in Ontario, Canada where masks are compulsory for kids in school. They’ve become part of their wardrobe. Sweater Day at Christmas included a hat and a mask.

So when I wrote The Tipsy Pig, I incorporated the reality of my life during COVID 19. Someday, when this is over, people may read the book and reflect on the reality of our times.

A former socialite, a recluse, and a tipsy pig—the perfect recipe for disaster or romance?

Dreading publicity over her recent divorce, her ex-husband’s arrest, and her upcoming 40th birthday, Sahara Larson, the former CEO of Larson Enterprises, escapes from Toronto to hide away at a friend’s rustic cabin near Algonquin Park. The future looks bleak, but among her neighbors is Hiram Colson, a reclusive bestselling author who rescues discarded pets. Will he be able to rescue her, too? Can a potbellied pig with a penchant for homemade dandelion wine unite two lonely people?

Here’s a scene from the story where the hero and heroine meet.

I jumped back when the man pounded on the door once more and, coward that I am, rushed back into the bathroom searching for a weapon. Toilet plunger in hand, I watched and waited, prepared to go out to save my friend or die trying. My heart raced, its beat thundering in my ears as I eased closer to the hallway door once more.

“I know you’re in there,” the stranger yelled, his voice muffled by the helmet. “You’ve got two minutes to open the door before I break it down and haul your ass out of there. You’re trespassing.”

I stifled a scream. Miranda, never one to walk away from a fight, looked at me, swallowed, stepped over to the door, and opened the curtains, raising her chin defiantly.

“The hell you are,” she yelled back. “The only one trespassing here is you. I’m Miranda Holmes, and this is my place. Now, before I call 9 1 1, I want to know who the hell you think you are, coming around here with a gun and scaring the hell out of us?”

“Sorry, Mrs. Holmes.” The man’s tone had changed from threatening to apologetic. “It’s me, Hiram Colter.”

He raised the visor on his helmet, but I couldn’t see him clearly from where I stood. Judging by the relaxing of Miranda’s shoulders, she could.

“Annie saw someone drive in. She sent me to see who it was. We had trouble with kids coming up here to party just before Christmas, and I wasn’t taking any chances. We weren’t expecting you until later this spring.”

Miranda, trusting as always, reached for the mask in her pocket and put it on.

Before I could yell at her not to open the door, she did.

“My bad for not calling first,” Miranda said, opening the door wide. “I was planning on phoning shortly. I didn’t recognize you with the helmet on. Come on in.”

The man stepped inside, closed the door, filling the crowded vestibule. He placed his hunting rifle on the deacon’s bench, removed his helmet, and unzipped his jacket.

I blinked and stepped back.

The long, reddish beard gave him an Amish appearance, a man of peace, and a direct contradiction to the weapon he’d carried.

He pulled up a neckerchief and covered his mouth and nose, now resembling a wild west bank robber, but Miranda didn’t seem to be in distress.

I stood in the doorway, paralyzed by his size. He stood a good six-feet four inches, dwarfing Miranda who was five foot six. He had wide shoulders, no doubt made even wider by the bulky snowsuit he wore.

“What brings you up here at this time of year?” he asked. “Trying to escape the COVID 19 restrictions? You aren’t planning to sell just yet, I hope.”

“No. Not any of those, although I am looking forward to loosened restrictions. My friend needs a place to stay for a while, and I thought this would suit her. She’s an artist and looking for a quiet place to work. Sahara, come meet your neighbor.”

You can read more about Sahara, and Petunia a potbellied pig who likes dandelion wine in The Tipsy Pig, one of 9 romantic comedies in the Cute But Crazy Unique and Unpredictable Box set, now available at all Amazon online stores for only 99 cents USD and free to read in Kindle Unlimited. https://books2read.com/CBC3

Here’s hoping May finds us one step closer to normality!


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About Susanne Matthews

I'm a retired high school English teacher turned author. I'm Canadian. My husband and I have been married 48 years and have 3 children and 5 grandchildren, as well as 2 step-grandchildren.  I enjoy traveling, especially somewhere warm in winter.

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