Cupcakes as Competition

Pretty blue & white flowers on chocolate cupcakes

We are up to day 21 of the Wordcount Blogathon 2013. I am glad I held a few ideas back for the end of the month because I am feeling a bit brain dead these days. One of the topics I’d like to explore over the next few posts is competition.  When someone says the word – competition – people tend to picture an athlete, or more specifically, a young male athlete. They don’t normally think about middle aged women. Believe me, middle aged woman are very competitive.

In Overlook, the women are shockingly competitive. Stacia Curran abuses her already broken body to compete in long distance open water swims. She is fueled by guilty and ambitions. Kitty Haskell relentlessly practices her tennis strokes in order to win the neighborhood round-robin every year, she keeps track of who is in or out of The Lookers clique of popular moms, and she makes the most beautiful cupcakes on the bake sale table. Kitty doesn’t have to make cupcakes with fruit leather butterflies or decorated to look like ladybugs. She does it to one up the other women.

When you go to a school or church function, is there one women who always brings beautiful desserts or fancy hors devours? Is she doing so to express her creativity through food, or is she trying to one up everyone else?

Photo attribution: Angelina Cupcakes via Flicker

What Would You Do I You Weren’t Afraid?

This amazing video has been bouncing around the internet all week. As the mother of two young women, its message is close to my heart. I am trying to teach my girls to be leaders and cultivate a sense of fearlessness.

After I watched the video a few times, I started thinking about Kitty and Stacia (the main characters in Overlook). Kitty is afraid. She gave up her dreams to do what was expected of her, rather than what she wanted. She is afraid of what people will think if they find out her husband is cheating on her. She is afraid to disappoint her mother, yet she is willing to disappoint herself.

I wondered what Kitty would think if she saw the video in her Facebook feed. I think she would want her daughter’s life to be different than her own. She would think about Stacia and how Stacia is so much stronger than she is. Perhaps that would motivate her to make a change.

Drowned Towns of North Carolina

You may not know this, but the state of North Carolina is littered with drowned towns. In the Piedmont, the Neuse, the Tar, and the Catawba all have hydroelectric dams. In the mountains, the Broad river has several dams. The supply much needed power but didn’t come without cost.

In 1917, the town of Badin was drowned when the Yadkin-Pee Dee River was dammed to support the local aluminum smelting plant. It’s said to be tricky going to boat on the resulting lake because there are still church steeples and full grown trees on the bottom.  In 1944,  a Navy bomber went down in the lake. The rescue and recovery crews never found the pilot’s body because of all the debris under the surface.

At one point, I lived on one of the man made lakes along the Catawba River. it was a beautiful spot but I always wondered what was under the water before the dams were built. Native Americans had lived in the area before the area was settled, textile plants had dotted the river for a hundred years or so, and farmers had built plank bridges across narrows.

When conceiving Overlook, I decided to have the secondary lead character be part of the Tate family that built the local dam that created Lake Tate. Unlike the residents of Overlook, Stacia Tate Curran knows what is buried under the seemingly serene waters of their upscale neighborhood.