Title: MRS. PETERMAN'S BENTLEY
Genre: Adult Sci-fi
Word Count: 70,000
My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle: The Internet! Mona Peterman can thank Twitter, Instagram, and text-messaging for every noisy, littering tourist who's on her lawn trying to get a better look at the mysterious car in her garden.
For years, 81-year-old Mona Peterman has stubbornly refused to give back any toy the neighborhood kids accidentally toss over the fence and into her prize-winning tomato garden. But when a traveling alien accidentally drops a broken transporter into her yard, Mona finds her latest acquisition is more than she can handle. Mona plays with the device and causes a 1925 Bentley to materialize in her garden overnight. Poking front-end first out of a bed of tomatoes, the quarter-million dollar vintage car quickly becomes an oddity that draws unwelcome sightseers to Mona’s lawn.
Nothing Mona does with the device makes the car disappear and digging it out would destroy her lawn. As a result, Mona becomes an unwilling internet sensation as well as the target of a nosy reporter and a jealous garden rival looking for a chance to unseat her as the town's tomato-growing champion. But the toughest blow of all is how her own adult daughter reacts when Mona finally tells her about the alien device. Realizing she will have to track down the alien to prove her sanity, Mona finds herself in a race against time to get rid of the car and get her quiet life back.
Mrs. Peterman’s Bentley is a 70,000-word Science Fiction novel born out of my love for old cars, gardening, and the town of New London, Connecticut, in which this story takes place.
It seemed hard to believe, but there it was. Rising out of the earth between the six-foot-tall tomato plants were the smooth, rounded ends of two front fenders, twin headlights and tires. The paint job on the Bentley (for Mona Peterman was certain it was a Bentley) was a deep maroon that sparkled faintly where the light hit it in and out of the tomato plant shadows. Where the vines weren’t folding over it, they were wrapped around the car like a lattice, as if protecting it.
“Goodness.” Mona walked around her large, thick garden, peering in between the vines without actually stepping inside. “Goodness me.”
The car had only been in Mona’s garden since late last night, and now, by the light of day, she could get a good look at all the damage it had done to her bed. It was buried at an angle, and the front poked out of the ground as if it were a plane on takeoff. The car ended and the dirt began at the bottom of the front wheels.
Mona took off her gloves and flung them in irritation. They ricocheted off the car’s shiny paint job and slid to the earth, getting lodged between two thick beefsteak tomatoes. Mona sighed as she began picking through fallen pieces of fruit and stacking them on a windowsill.
This was going to set her back considerably in the upcoming Field of Greens tomato competition.