Rose A. Valenta is a nationally syndicated humor columnist. Her irreverent columns have been published in Senior Wire, Associated Content, Courier Post Online, NPR, Newsday, USA TODAY, the WSJ Online, and many other local news and radio websites.
She is the author of Rosie’s Renegade Humor Blog. This is the blog for people who would be knowledgeable about current events and politics if only politicians and news anchors didn’t stretch the truth. “What else is there to do, but share an honest laugh?” Rose said.
Rose regularly attends the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop at the University of Dayton, is a member of the Robert Benchley Society and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC).
Rose lived in Philadelphia for over 40 years, where she honed her humor writing skills by being married to a Philadelphia Policeman and giving birth to three children. “Times have changed. Now that we have 10 grandchildren, I’m not sure how I feel about children being exposed to the evening news. Humorous things happen, like the time my grandson asked us to come outside to see his version of ‘Frosty the Inappropriate Snowman’ right after Snowmageddon.”
Rose worked for a subsidiary of McGraw-Hill, Datapro Information Services, for 12 years as a technical staff writer, and also wrote freelance articles for other computer industry publications.
She claims that her Italian heritage stunted her growth. She is English on her Father’s side and believes that in a past life, during medieval times, she was probably a trusted member of the Counsel of the Jesters.
It is a compilation of satirical essays, an epitome of situations that invoke Murphy’s Law – family fiascos, politics, the media, public figures, our American culture, the economy, and sports. Political gaffes and scandals are perfect fodder for satire. My Italian heritage also gets a laugh in my essay “Who Moved My Mascarpone?” You can expect something funny for addressing a variety of topics.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I’ve been writing for many years, but never wrote a book before. I have a blog, Rosie’s Renegade Humor Blog, that is popular and I have syndicated some of my columns via Senior Wire and Associated Content/Yahoo News. My readers, friends, and colleagues all encouraged me to publish a book of essays. I already knew what topics worked and got laughs, so I decided to go for the gusto.
Q: What kind of research did you do before and during the writing of your book?
I studied what other authors in my genre were doing. I also attended classes on publishing and marketing.
In 2006, I started attending the bi-annual Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop at the University of Dayton. I was impressed by the sessions, instructors, and keynote speakers. Garrison Keillor was among the speakers that year. I always listen to his Prairie Home Companion broadcasts on public radio on Saturdays, and enjoyed his presentation. In the back of my mind, I was making mental notes of what worked for other humor columnists and authors. I took notes and mingled with the attendees and joined a humor writer’s newsgroup where I made many friends. One of the instructors, Canadian humorist Gordon Kirkland, was a hoot. I laughed out loud when I saw the cover of his book “Never Stand Behind a Loaded Horse,” (mental note: make the cover funny). I joined all the social networking sites and gained a following. I listened to all the feedback. Then, I joined the Robert Benchley Society and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.
The best example I could identify that depicts Murphy’s Law (my theme) in a woman’s life is going into the bathroom at 3:00 am, after a hard day, and find yourself sitting on cold porcelain. It became the title of my book.
Q: If a reader can come away from reading your book with one valuable message, what would that be?
‘Illegitimi non carborundum,’ no matter what happens, you can always get a good laugh.
Q: Can you give us a short excerpt?
It’s been a difficult day at the office and you’re exhausted. Your eyes hurt from working on a computer all day, not to mention the crimp in your neck and back, and sore Maxine (escape key) finger.
You turn on the evening news to find out that all sorts of crazy things are happening in our world. Terrorists are trying to kill us, our Vice President made another gaffe at an important event, our political pundits are calling for impeachment, a famous designer has introduced a line of bullet-proof clothing, another politician has gotten himself involved in a sex scandal, PETA is making yet another smoker ad, a scientist wants to give Galileo a posthumous eye test on a stimulus grant, and the term “Brangelina” now refers to a gay variety show at the Boston Roxy; you know that because your 10-year-old grandson told you.
You try to find out if your v-chip works for news programming, as the kids are doing homework in front of the TV. They are not asking about protractors and math manipulatives.
You could describe the way you feel as “punch drunk,” only there are no Marquess of Queensberry rules here.
You get into bed feeling warm and cozy; your significant other is snoring loudly at your side. Icicles are forming outside. You fluff your pillows, turn on the heating blanket, set the alarm, and insert the ear-plugs – all is right with your world.
Then, at around 3:00 am, at the very beginning of your crucial Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep (the three-hour sound sleep window that keeps people from going crazy), you begin dreaming about soaking in a hot tub, you wake up suddenly before you pee yourself, make a mad dash into the bathroom, quickly squat, and find yourself – sitting on cold porcelain.
Realizing that the culprit is still sleeping soundly in the next room, totally unaware of your predicament, and probably dreaming about lunch with the guys at Hooters, you scream loudly, as if to wake up the dead or at least that slug stuck in a salt ring.
He comes running into the bathroom, completely naked and wild-eyed with a Colt 45, ready to protect his damsel in distress. He looks around quickly like a buck protecting his turf. He almost pees on the wall to mark it; then, he looks down and spots a puddle of water and his damsel, who is stuck in the commode.
You, his damsel, begin to spew a Dennis Miller monologue, worse than anything he has ever heard on the O’Reilly Factor, he aims, and you karate chop him. The weapon falls into the commode. It can’t rust, so he stays up for an hour cleaning it out and oiling it. You are still beating his ear an hour into REM sleep. Both of you are red-eyed, resembling vampires. You go back to bed. There is still an hour left.
No, this is not a sneak preview of the next Super Bowl prize-winning GEICO caveman commercial. Some people call it Murphy’s Law every time things go wrong. I feel justified calling it “Sitting on Cold Porcelain.”
Q: In your own experience, is it hard to get a nonfiction book published today? How did you do it?
I researched my options. The traditional publishing process takes about two years. So, I used a Print-on-Demand (POD) publisher, Xlibris. The most difficult task is promoting and marketing your hard work.
Q: What’s a typical day like for you?
During the week, I wake up early and go to my day job; then, I come home, eat dinner, and work at my laptop until almost midnight. I spend quality time with my family on at least one weekend day. That’s when something funny always happens and I grab a notebook or tape recorder for a potential essay.
Q: What’s next for you?
I’m working on my next book Sitting on Cold Porcelain II. Long-term, I’m hoping to write for television.
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Rose. We wish you much success!
Thank you. My book Sitting on Cold Porcelain is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Better World Books, Xlibris, and the order desk at your local book store. It is also available on Kindle and Nook and has a Facebook fan page. Please look me up on Facebook, Twitter (@rosevalenta), and my blog – http://www.rosevalenta.com.
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