Nancy Roman

The Local Church Ladies Could Hold A Better Raffle

I may be able to write a blog, a novel, and a poem.

I may be able to formulate a three-year-plan for the nursery business and negotiate insurance coverage.

I may be able to bake a loaf of babka.

I may be able to match my blush to the perfect shade of lipstick.

I may not be able to stage a raffle.

What I planned for my book giveaway was this:

Readers would write in and tell me what actress they pictured when they imagined a 50-year-old woman, like Cynthia in my novel, Just What I Always Wanted. Then I would take all the suggestions and have a poll. And the top 3 vote-getters would win a copy of my book for the person who suggested those actresses.

What I didn’t figure on is that several people would suggest the same actresses. And so then if five people suggested Diane Lane, do I need another poll to pick the winners?

And let’s not even mention the fact that I couldn’t even figure out how to do one of those “click on the button” polls. I tried a few times and … well… let’s just say that this is the third time I am typing this.

But I loved all the suggestions.

I loved that you picture someone as pretty as Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock when you picture “fifty”. And it’s encouraging that when you think of Susan Sarandon or Meryl Streep, you still think of someone lovely enough to play “fifty.”

Then there’s Meg Ryan and Courteney Cox and Julianne Moore and Michelle Pfeiffer and Kyra Sedgwick… how encouraging it is to see that instead of a limited supply of middle-aged ladies – there are so many that are so beautiful.

What is interesting is that no one suggested the actress (really two actresses) that I pictured as I was writing the book. It’s not that I was already thinking of the big movie deal (though that would be nice), but rather what I imagined Cynthia looked like. I don’t know why she didn’t look like me, but I knew she didn’t. The look I pictured when I first started the book was Geena Davis. Tall and pretty and quick to laugh. But there’s a funny twist to writing a novel.  It took me so long that Geena sort of outgrew the role. Because while she got older, Cynthia stayed fifty. So gradually the image changed, and about five years later, when I was finishing up, I was picturing Julianna Margulies.

But it seems that Diane Lane is the overwhelming choice. And it’s a terrific choice.  She’s so lovely in such a real and mature way.

And ironically, she makes an appearance in my book.

Early in the novel, Cynthia is soliciting suggestions of what to do with her retirement, and the patrons at the post office all chime in with the most romantic places to go.  And someone says, “Didn’t you see that old movie about the Bridge of Sighs in Venice? The one with the girl who now has a middle-aged bosom but still the pretty face?”

That movie was “A Little Romance” – my favorite film of 1979. And the actress was Diane Lane:


diane lane then

Diane Lane. Beautiful Then.


diane lane now

Diane Lane. Beautiful Now.


I am delighted that so many of us see fifty as lovely, not old.

But I still need to give away three books.

So I put the names of everyone who commented on post-it notes (except my brother-in-law… he doesn’t count) – and I folded up those papers and my husband drew names.

Not exactly the contest I promised, but my heart is in the right place. My contest-organizational skills just are not.

And the winners are:

1. Valentine Logar
2. Pegoleg
3. Diva For A Day

So send me your address at – and I’ll send you off a copy of Just What I Always Wanted.

I hope you enjoy it. (And if you do, please write a nice review on Amazon.)





  1. Congrats to the winners! (And I can identify with the technological problems after issues last week….)


    • I just keep telling myself that it has nothing to do with the aging process…


  2. Lucky them! What an interesting connection to Diane Lane. She’s lovely… then and now.


    • Diane is certainly lovely, and the more I consider it, the more I think she’s a great image to have in mind as you read the book.


  3. I am so excited! I can’t wait to read! Your book was nearly at the top of my read list for ordering on Amazon, now I get it directly directly from the author (I hope you autograph it).


    Thank you so much.


    • I will definitely sign the book for you! So happy you won!


  4. Woo hoo. Congratulations to the winners. Sigh. I’m afraid I wouldn’t know how to do a proper electronic raffle either. The old fashioned way still works. Something like books, which don’t need to be recharged. Old fashioned reading. 😀 😀 😀


    • I love my books, but I JUST got a kindle paperwhite, and I am loving that too… you can carry it anywhere and sneak in a little reading in so many “waiting” occasions.


      • Yes, true. I have Kindle on my iPad mini that’s getting filled up. Although I have read a couple of books on it and didn’t mind the experience, I think I’m avoiding using it. Sigh.


  5. Congratulations to the winners. I’d already bought your book (the Kindle edition) so I didn’t put in my two cents’ worth when you asked about actresses who could play the ‘lead’ character in a movie based on the book, but here it is now (BTW: I’m about half way through your book and thoroughly enjoying it; as soon as I’m finished I’ll post glowing reviews on Goodreads and Amazon). As I’m reading, I keep picturing Cynthia as a blonde Katie Couric (smart, sassy, intelligent); Diane Lane could work as well (I loved her in ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’); honestly, I just can’t picture either Geena Davis or Julianna Margulies in the role. I also have absolutely no problem picturing Shannon – I’ve known quite a few girls just like her (but without the traumatic background). Your characters are all very ‘real’. What’re you working on now?


    • Katie Couric as a face to imagine works! I am loving the idea of Diane Lane now. I haven’t a definite face for Shannon… just a typical surly kid with too much makeup. I’m thrilled you are liking the book. I have just started the outline for a novel that takes place around 1917… it’s based on some old family gossip that I keep thinking about. I’m not sure how I am going to handle a “period piece” – I already described the two of the sisters as “not exactly bonding” in my outline. I am going to have to “unjargon” my language.


  6. Cheers and congrats to the winner. Isn’t it interesting to see how readers envision characters. I like Julianna Marguilies – now must read the book to see who really fits the role.
    This was an intriguing post – nice.


    • Thanks. I find it fascinating to think about what the reader is picturing when reading my words. I’d love to hear what you think as you read it.


  7. How did I miss the contest? It doesn’t matter since I already bought and read the book. But I would have gone with Diane Lane, too.


    • And thank you again for the fantastic post and the Amazon review!


  8. Watching 14-year old Diane Lane in her first film role in A Little Romance you can see why she’s remained a working actress and a sometime star for over 25 years. Besides being heartbreakingly beautiful, she is a wonderful actress. She gives A Little Romance its innocence, its beauty and its soul. Little wonder she was your reader’s overwhelming choice.

    Congratulations to the winners.


  9. Yeah, it’s me! Great pick for the raffle, even if you don’t go with Meryl Streep to play the lead. Can I still leave a review if I didn’t buy the book on Amazon?


    • Yes, Amazon will ask you where you got the book if you did not buy it from them, and you should say you received it as a gift.


  10. I’m late to the party, but I nominate Annette Bening or Jane Lynch. They both possess the wackiness needed to pull off the whole, “I’ll adopt a teen mother so that I can have her baby” premise.


  11. Congrats to the three winners! I’m sorry my suggestion got there so late but it is still a good suggestion. 😉


    • Yes, it is. I think Sex and the City would have been very interesting indeed. Kim would have to be a little less glamorous for my novel, but she might be a refreshing surprise.



  1. Glamour | notquiteold

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