THIS IS THE HOME PAGE FOR WILSHIRE LEWIS AND HIS UPCOMING YA (Young Adult), NA (New Adult), MC (Midlife Crisis) RTV (Reality Television) comic novel, "Still Working on the Title."
Here you will find info about and excerpts of SWOT, how to buy it (paperback or e-back), and what went into it, which is a lot of corny jokes, some wicked attitude, and 47 pounds of heart, a large percentage of which gets broken, but finally comes out stronger and fuller than ever.
Truth and reality are up for grabs in this Young Adult/New Adult/Midlife Crisis contemporary family comedy as a problematic baby helps a mother and her daughter remember that they can love and be loved.
In the last year, mom Michelle has suffered through a bitter divorce, been fired, lost her health coverage, and gotten herself pregnant with a baby she can’t raise. The relatively good news is that she is so fat that no one knows she’s pregnant except her teen daughter, Callie. Callie is overweight, depressed, and convinced that she has no friends and no one loves her.
Michelle’s relationship with the presumed father, Edouard, has fallen apart, even though they pretend to be a couple on a cheesy reality television show. Michelle fears that if the producers find out about her secret pregnancy and baby, they will make her look like a reality-show crazeball. But she really needs the money she could win on the show.
When the baby boy arrives a month ahead of schedule, he throws Michelle’s plans awry. She had decided to give him up for adoption, but Callie is adamant that they keep him, and comes up with a brilliant solution for all their problems: they will pretend that she had the baby! Unwed mothers are popular at her high school, she says and a fake pregnancy will give her both an excuse for being fat, and motivation to lose weight. Because the EMT who delivered the baby was named Boomer Sigursky, the boy ends up with the nickname Boomer, or Baby Booms.
Of course, it won’t be easy. Edouard has to be kept in the dark about the mother’s identity, and Callie’s friend Zam, who witnessed the birth, has to be kept quiet. Both will try to claim fatherhood for their own reasons. However, since the baby came early but was full term, Michelle knows it could not be Edouard’s child, and Callie never had sex with anyone, certainly not Zam. The official story they come up with is that Callie was deflowered by a drummer from Saginaw in a reckless moment around last December’s Fiesta Bowl Marching Band Festival.
Michelle goes ahead with the reality show, which is run by Jock Sundlin, a television producer at the end of his rope. He desperately needs to make the show a hit, but he has a minimal budget, and a second rate cast of stars/contestants. To pad his budget he submits hours from fake employees, comps everything, and elects to film with a non-union crew in Phoenix, where most of the contestants live.
The baby does change Callie’s life. She has new friends, attends a mothering class at school, and is losing weight by dieting and working out daily. But she is secretly infatuated with classmate David Ross, and thinks that as an unwed mother, she has lost any chance with him. Yet she can’t tell him the truth. To ease her conscience, Callie decides that she will make more of an effort to be responsible for the baby, and become his real adoptive mother. Then the lie that she had the baby won’t matter.
The strain on Michelle makes her more interesting on the show, that is, bitchy and erratic. Jock loves the change, and Michelle and Edouard look like they are going to become the stars of the thing. The point soon arrives when Michelle tells Edouard that she, not Callie, is the baby’s mother, but Edouard convinces her to continue the lie, for the sake of the TV show.
But there’s another threat. Before Michelle decided against giving up the baby, the adoption agency had found a mother for him, the wealthy, sleek and arrogant Mrs. Coliche, who still wants to adopt him. She discovers Michelle and Callie’s secret, and threatens to expose them..
At an impromptu baby shower, Zam announces that he is the baby’s father—in front of the reality show cameras, and David Ross, and all of Callie’s new and old friends (some of whom assumed David was the real father). This incident convinces Michelle that if she continues on the show, her secrets will be exposed and her children’s lives ruined. She begins plotting ways to get out of the show without becoming more of a scandal.
By chance, Michelle meets Boomer Sigursky, Boomer becomes the rock who helps her stand up against Edouard, Jock, and Mrs. Coliche. And Callie tells David the truth about the baby. Instead of being repulsed, he supports her and they begin to build a friendship. Unable to force his way onto the show as the baby’s father, Zam hangs out with the film crew and becomes an unpaid intern who helps Jock cover up his budgetary shenanigans.
The climax is a confusion of mistaken intentions and unintended outcomes prompted by Callie’s fear that her mother is about to give the baby up for adoption, and Michelle’s fear that Mrs. Coliche has reported the whole affair to authorities, who have already taken both her children into protective custody. Boomer and David help sort out the confusion and restore order.
In the end, Michelle concedes reality stardom to Mrs. Coliche, who is just self-absorbed and tacky enough for it. Jock avoids being fired for false expense accounts because the show’s owners are already seeing good—that is, spectacularly tasteless and vulgar—footage; and intern Zam is well on his way to becoming the next Jock Sundlin.
Callie has an innocent teenage romance with David, though the world assumes otherwise, and Michelle finally reveals the baby’s real father, and the reason she hid that information from Callie and the world. More important, she finally forgives herself for the mistakes that led to the breakup of her first marriage and all the complications since. She looks forward to a new life with Boomer, her daughter, and her baby.
Wilshire Lewis is the comedy-side pen name of Fred Andersen, who writes mystery and suspense. Wilshire is full of fun and mischief, and not inclined to give straight answers when a quip or a humorous diversion will do. In fact it was only by exorcising Wilshire that Fred was able to concentrate at all on straight dramatic fiction. The good news is, Wilshire’s love of off-the -wall comedy finally found full expression in the new novel “Still Working on the Title.”
Pick the Cover Image!
While we seek an agent and publisher for our new, as yet untitled book, You are invited to peruse some ideas for cover images. The story:
Callie is entering her sophomore year of high school, after a stressed out time that saw her parents divorce, her mother get pregnant, and Callie gain twenty pounds of, I guess you could call it sympathy weight, over the summer. Her only friends are the dweebish Zam and the wiry and wily Fiona.
Callie's mother Michelle empathizes with her daughter, but her problems—relationships, employment, insurance, tough choices—threaten to overwhelm her.
Then in the space of one weekend, the baby arrives, and Michelle and Callie find a single brilliant solution that solves all . . . well, most of . . . okay, the worst of their problems.
So here are the pics. All of these images—the cabbage leaves, the autumn tree, and the glockenspiel, represent an important moment in the story.
“I also got band. Marching around in that sod— that uniform will take ten pounds off. All it will be is water weight of course.”
“No, marching is calories out.” Her mother slid her sunglasses up onto her hair like a barrette. “See, that’s problem solving. Like we’ve talked about.”
God, not again. Callie closed her eyes. Her mother couldn’t see how hopeless it was. She had never been a toad. Though chubby, and at the moment big as an Escalade, Michelle had the kind of old-fashioned beauty Callie knew she had not inherited, including gorgeous honey-brown hair with natural blonde highlights.
“You have such a great band.” Her mother smiled stubbornly. “I love to hear you guys.”
“Debbie Arthur graduated.” Callie sighed.
“Who’s Debbie Arthur?”
“The glockenspiel? She’s the reason we went to State. She’s the one everyone cared about.”
“All right, all right!”
They drove in silence through the relentless noontime. The single pedestrian they passed didn’t look sweaty, but you knew he had to be.
“Yeah,” said Callie, still staring out the window. “So by Christmas, I can look forward to just being dumpy again, but not the Pillsbury Doughgirl.”
“Would that be better or worse?”
MY GIRLFRIEND, THE ALIEN
She unclasped her bra and let it slide off her arms.
Edouard stared at her, stunned. He had just dared to try giving Michelle a little physical affection for the first time in months, and she had burst into tears and started taking off her clothes.
Now, as her bra came off, Edouard understood that she was an alien being. Her breasts were encased in horrible-looking green alien… plant matter. Edouard shivered as images from Invasion of the Body Snatchers exploded in his brain.
The aliens had taken over Michelle’s body—which at least helped explain her recent behavior. As Edouard stared transfixed at the bizarre sight, Michelle pinched her breast and the alien green matter peeled away to reveal… her breast. Edouard almost screamed.
“Cabbage leaves.” Michelle peeled off the other one and tossed the green abominations on the floor. “They soothe the breasts.”
“The breasts?” Edouard heard his voice but did not understand his own words.
“Yes. You know!” She pointed at them.
Edouard flushed, his stupor giving way to anger in an instant. “I know what they are! Why do they need to be soothed with lettuce?”
“Actually cabbage.” Michelle picked up her bra and put it on.
“Because they are tight, and the nipples are inflamed. It’s an old wives’ remedy.”
Back to stupor. “Why are they inflamed?”
“It’s automatic. Right after birth. I can’t feed him or they’ll just keep producing. So they fill with milk. Didn’t you notice they were like blimps?”
Edouard shook his head. This was more unbelievable than her body being snatched. She was telling him that…
“I’m Boomer’s mother.” She was dressed again, and stood very straight, her arms at her sides. “I had the baby."
WHY "FAT CHANCE: THE COUPLES CHALLENGE SHOW" GOT CANCELLED BY WaRM TV AFTER ONE SEASON
“What happened?” Jock paused. This was his chance to show the cast and crew that he was really one of them, that they were a team—the creative, fun people just trying to make a good show. He wasn’t one of them, the bean counters, the shallow, me-too Hollywood types. “As you know, they cancelled us in May, because they didn’t like our ratings. Just a…” he held his thumb and forefinger up, indicating a half-inch. “Just a bit short of what they wanted. Then they put on this asinine Hot Wives of Cocoa Beach, or Hot Cocoa Puffs on the Loose, or something. And it bombed.”
Donna laughed. A few others tittered uncertainly.
Jock continued. “She can laugh because she and I are practically the entire audience for the Cocoa Puffs. We watched, we hated, but we never gave up on this show. So now they come back to us, having been torched but not humbled. And they say, let bygones be bygones. We have a slot starting in February. Only what, five months from now? That’s the nutshell version.”