Female aphids really don’t need male aphids, and biology professor Hattie McLean in Plan On It (A Contemporary Romantic Comedy) finds this reassuring. (I will admit, I had some dating moments when I would have been in total agreement!)
Hattie’s story of a science experiment that falls apart outside the lab, is FREE until midnight on Amazon. You can start with the excerpt below… Hattie’s just encountered an adorable little boy who runs by her saying Mama and reminds her that her reproductive clock is ticking!
She wasn’t sure how she’d gotten to the radio station, but she’d managed to walk across campus and take a seat in front of a mic. Rose, the afternoon d.j., was smiling at her and finishing the introduction, just like every month Hattie had done a spot for the department.
“And now for a Biological Moment, sponsored by Iguana World, located on Seattle’s west side. Be sure to stop in for something green. Biological Moments, an educational service of the Excelsior Biology department, with Professor Hattie McLean.”
Rose pointed at her, and Hattie realized her notes were missing. Twelve times a year from three-thirty to three-thirty-five her notes sat neatly typed just below the mic, and she read, as best she could, what she had so carefully researched. She couldn’t even remember what the month’s topic had been.
“Uh.” Uh was not it. “Well.” Not better. That boy had done her in. He’d called to her basic animal instincts and temporarily knocked out her capacity to think. She’d probably left her notes on the sidewalk, right where he’d kick-started her urge to reproduce.
“Reproduction.” That was a start, although Rose was raising an eyebrow at her as if questioning the subject. Hattie recalled talking about the large intestine once. No one could tell her she wasn’t capable of edgy programming.
“We think of sexual reproduction…” maybe she’d planned to talk about fungus. It was starting to come back to her, the oxygen needs of fungus.
Rose looked more amused than concerned about a Biological Moment Meltdown. “Sexual reproduction?”
Not her original topic, but she’d taught dozens of biology courses. She’d just keep it academic. “We think of sexual reproduction as needing both a female and a male. Many people don’t realize even flowers and trees also have female and male designations.”
Rose shook her head as if it was definitely news to her.
Hattie wondered if there was actually an audience out there for this kind of information. “But it’s possible, evolutionarily speaking, for the male to be completely obsolete.” And didn’t that sound like the best news ever? She stopped. God, had she said that out loud?
Rose motioned for her to continue.
“Uh, and many sexually reproducing organisms have asexual episodes and are quite successful.” She was right in the middle of an asexual episode herself, apparently for the past three years, although she hadn’t been able to reproduce during her drought. She tried to think of an example of a luckier creature. An octopus? Slipper Limpits… “Aphids.” She said it so loudly, the force of her breath blew like a gust of wind across the mic. She cringed, but Rose waved her on. And aphids were such a fine model of how the world could be.
“Aphids are nearly all female during the summer then most of them die off. But those females strong enough to make it through the winter, you know, the ones who’ve known adversity and sure they may wear a few signs of aging on them, but they still have a great deal to offer…” she stopped. Where had she been going with that? Little boys saying Momma, old aphids…
She had it. “Older female aphids…” she paused for what she hoped was effect, “can reproduce all by themselves. No male required.” She felt nearly dizzy at the prospect. “And there are strong females in many other species.”
Rose coughed, and Hattie took it as encouragement. “A human female can have a great job and control her own destiny and just because she doesn’t, right now, possess the capacity to self-fertilize, and sure, time is running out for her, doesn’t mean she needs a man, does it?” A child running toward a momma on a sidewalk. There was no man in that picture.
“We could embrace it.” She grabbed the mic and drew it closer as if someone was about to take it away. “We may be on the threshold of an evolutionary leap for human females, and like aphids we could find a really efficient way to reproduce, a Plan B so to speak.” She thought of her own Plan A, the Ph.D., the tenure, the home ownership. She’d focused on the profession of biology and maybe ignored her own biology. “Biology and babies.”
Rose cleared her throat, pointed to the clock, and Hattie scrambled to complete her usual close. “Uh, this has been Professor Hattie McLean with a Biological Moment. Remember, the biological perspective is an outstanding way to make sense of our world.”
Make sense? That was a good one given she’d rambled on about sexual reproduction for her five minutes and completely neglected the oxygen requirements of fungi.
She glanced up at Rose who was raising the volume on the next program, a pre-recorded retrospective of big band music beginning with Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree with Anyone Else but Me. She’d certainly put a damper on the monogamous forties with her dirty aphid talk, but maybe no one was listening.
Rose pointed to the studio window, and standing in the hallway, Hattie saw the entire female staff from the building. It was mercifully silent with the soundproof glass between them, but she could feel the vibrations as a couple of them high-fived.
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Sixteen years ago I became a Mom, and I celebrated the day.
Thirteen years ago I became a Mom again, and I celebrated the “Mother’s Day Three Day Weekend.”
This year with a sixteen-year-old daughter and a thirteen-year-old daughter, I have been referring to May as “Mother’s Day Month!”
But this year in addition to receiving, (’cause my family knows when Mama’s happy, everybody’s happy) I’m doing a little giving.
All day Mother’s Day Sunday, I’m offering my novel, Plan On It, for FREE. This full length romantic comedy is about a woman who sets out to have a baby and decides to choose the father based on what she knows best… the science of biology! You can download it right from the Amazon Kindle store
I wrote Plan On It by swapping babysitting with a neighbor, and I’d like to celebrate Mother’s Day by giving it away. I’ve given away over 50,000 downloads of my other novels and want to see moms out there enjoying a free read on their special day.
I hope you enjoy Mother’s Day… Mother’s Three Day Weekend & Mother’s Month!
As always it’s a crazy-busy time of year, but I’d like to share a pair of holiday inspired songs (only vaguely inappropriate) and offer you TWO PRESENTS! ( No, really, it’s okay if you didn’t get me anything)
The first song is for my writer friends out there… Sing to “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”
I’m dreaming of a write Christmas,
the one I hope’s right down the road.
Where the scenes I hammer and readers clamor
to rush my Kindle book download.
I’m dreaming of a write Christmas
with every novel that I plot.
May the book be funny and hot,
and may all the comma errs be caught.
I’m dreaming of a write Christmas.
I’ve worked the keyboard all year round,
where my neck would seize up, my fingers freeze up,
my head would spin around and pound.
I’m dreaming of a write Christmas
I made my list in case he might…
May St. Nick bring a manuscript tonight,
’cause I’ve heard those elves can really write.
This next number (I’m sounding like a lounge singer now, aren’t I?) is one I wrote for my beloved Bookgroup: all women, all amazing, and all wondering if… Here Comes Menopause.
You can hear this song performed (not by me) in front of my very own Christmas tree. I love the little dog in the background (also not mine but I wish he were).The yellow title below links directly to Youtube where you’ll enjoy lyrics like… “She’s got a bag that’s filled with rage, but she loves you just the same!”
And didn’t I say something about a PRESENT… about TWO PRESENTS? Yes, I did. To thank everyone for being so wonderfully supportive and encouraging in my first year as a real live author, The Do-Over and my newest novel, Plan On It will be available for FREE downloads on December 26!
Thankyouthankyouthankyou and happy e-reading!