Valentine's Blog Tour: Margo Candela

One day to go until Valentine’s Day so hang on and don’t buy that themed chocolate just yet. It’ll be half off by Friday. Elaina Walter, you are the lucky winner of some sweet goodness courtesy of Jamie Martinez Wood for answering A Box of Valentines blog tour short story question.

And now my stab at romanticism in the form of fictional (as well as a real life) Missed Connections...

veryone who knows me, or who has at least skimmed my books, knows I'm not a big cheerleader for romance and all that stuff. But I am a true believer in love at first sight and soul mates, positive there is a perfectly reasonable, even scientific, explanation behind both phenomena. Since I'm not a science writer I skipped all the technical stuff for my next book, More Than This (Touchstone, August '08), and let myself be inspired by an experience I had with a guy in my health education class during my first semester of junior college. (Go Vaqs!)

He was all peaches and cream with dark hair and, as we used to say, all the way fiiiiine. I on the other hand was newly 18, the first in my family to continue my education beyond high school, still in braces and totally clueless. So much so that the day I caught him peeking at me during lecture, I looked around to see who he was interested in. And then he did again, and again until I couldn't deny the fact that he was looking at me. So what did I do? Nothing! But neither did he.

This went on for the rest of the semester, both of us doing the lame dance of lingering after class, almost working up the nerve to say hello and once or twice even smiling when we passed each other on campus. But for whatever reason, be it shyness or mixed signals, we never took the chance to plant ourselves in front of the other person and say, "Hi." So I'll never know what could have been and maybe that's a good thing since what ifs are sometimes a lot more interesting than reality (which would have been breaking up when we each transferred out or got to know each other).

In More Than This (Touchstone, Aug '08) two people have to decide between staying in their comfort zone or taking a chance on someone they share a fleeting moment with. It's just a look, but it makes them question everything they thought they knew about, yes, love and even themselves. My initial idea was to start chapters with those ads where a stranger who shared a moment with another stranger seeks the each other out in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, the other person will not only see it, but respond to it. I used to read them, back before I was attached to my computer, in the back pages of the SF Weekly and, I admit, sigh. Unfortunately, I had to cut the ads I wrote out of the book because editing is part of the process. But I saved some of my favorites and I hope you find them as bittersweet and hopeful as I did when I wrote them. And isn't that what love is all about?

SF Express>>Missed Connections>>Rocker Boy at Embarcadero Station

Long line for bus tokens, Friday after work. I was in a hurry, you took your time paying with loose change. Lots of it. My bad thoughts turned to puppy love once our eyes met. Meet me there again when you run out of tokens in a week? Look for a Rocker Chick in green and black striped tights and a big stupid smile on her face.

SF Express>>Missed Connections>>Sad Man with Bad Man
Spotted you at Café Flor, Sunday Brunch Time. He doesn’t understand you like I can. Dump him and come on over to my table next Sunday. I’ll be wearing my heart on my sleeve. Literally. It’s tattooed there.

SF Express>>Missed Connections>>Pretty in Pink at Potero Safeway
'Round Midnite in Ice Cream Aisle. I reached for the last Chunky Monkey and was wearing Ratty T and Mismatched Socks. You wore a Pink Sweat Suit and had Fat Free Fudgesicals and Diet Coke in your basket to go with your Beautiful Smile. Left My name and number with store manager for You. Call Me next time You have a snack attack.

SF Express>>Missed Connections>>Movie Buff with Snuck in Snacks
Guy at the Lumiere, middle section, Wednesday: We were the only two people there for the early afternoon Truffaut double feature. Kurosawa retrospective next week? I’ll buy the stale popcorn if you sneak in one of those smoothies for me.

SF Express>>Missed Connections>> Lovely Lady at the Blue Lamp Bar
I drink out of the milk cartoon, leave the toilet seat up, like to watch sports in my tighty whities and, most of all, I lose phone numbers. But don’t give up on me. I’m a work in progress. See you again soon?

SF Express>>Missed Connections>>Vision on Valencia St. and 14TH
You and your short skirt made me miss my light. It was worth it. Don’t judge me by my crappy car (rusty green Honda). I have a heart of gold and you walked off with it with your smile. Give it back!

SF Express>>Missed Connections>>Driving Me Crazy
Thursday, lunch time at the Fell St. DMV. Congrats on passing your written test. I wasn’t as lucky. You: red shoes that matched your fingernails and a dimple on your left cheek. Me: navy suit and power tie and really embarrassed. Tutor me?

SF Express>>Missed Connections>> Girl with the Big Blue Eyes and Magenta Hair
La Taqueria, Sunday afternoon. You ordered a super burrito, sans chips, large agua fresca. We talked in line about the weather. Hope to talk about something real next time.

SF Express>>Missed Connections>> Brown-Eyed Boy at SFSU
I was smoking outside before class. You are a definite non-smoker. I’m looking for a reason to quit. Say hello next Tuesday before class?

SF Express>>Missed Connections>>Missing You Missing Me
I’ve been stuck at home with a cold, but you’re still on my mind. Hoping next week everything is back to normal. Share a smile and some Kleenex, maybe?

SF Express>>Missed Connections>> Smoking Hot Smoker 4th/Townsend
I smoke. You smoke. I bummed a cigarette from you and you gave me two. I’d be happy to return the favor. Remember me? I have a fresh pack of your brand with your name all over it, but I don’t know your name.

SF Express>>Missed Connections>>Naughty Girl with Naughty Mutt
Noe Valley, last night. I gave you a dirty look when you didn’t pick up after your pooch. All will be forgiven if you go out for coffee with me. Bring the dog. I’ll bring the pooper scooper.

Question: What community college did I go to?

If your answer is correct (and in this case there is only one correct answer) and your name is drawn out of a hat and you haven't won any prizes from Mary Castillo, Mayra Calvani or J
amie Martinez Wood you may win a Barnes & Nobel Gift Card. Submit your answer here and good luck!

To find out if you’re the winner, hop over to Barbara Caridad Ferrer’s blog tomorrow. If you don’t score here, you just might get lucky by reading Dream Catch Me, Barbara’s story culminating our short but sweet blog tour.


Laura R said...

Hey, Leah Garchik stole your idea! Check it out:

Kate Perry said...

I *love* missed connections. I used to read the ones on craigslist faithfully every day, but that was back when I was working on someone else's dime. Ahem.

Really looking forward to More Than This. And you're not as much a romance scrooge as you think. ;)

Melodye said...

I'd say somewhere in SF, CA, but I'd be guessing. It's a fact, however, that I love your "Missed Connections, and that I'd love to win a copy of your book.

Anonymous said...

Wow cool Missed Connections. Especially liked Pretty in Pink! I'm a chunky monkey fan. : ) I'm currently reading Life Over Easy and loving it!

HP said...

Those ads are so romantic! Can't wait to read the book.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading your website-can't wait for your next book! Maria from San Franicisco

Maria SF said...

I really enjoyed reading your website-can't wait for your next book!

Margo Candela said...

Thanks, Maria from SF. I hope it's worth the wait! I know I'm looking forward to it. It has such a pretty cover, I'm surprised it has my name on it it. ;-)