Matchdotbomb's Blog

THE GREEN is up and running!

August 28, 2015
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This is to announce that the website  for my novel, THE GREEN, is up and running. To access THE GREEN‘s site, simply click on The website will introduce you to THE GREEN‘s setting, characters, and stories. My novel is finished, and I’m hoping that it will be out sometime next year. Meanwhile, my posts will keep you posted. Enjoy!

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Another glimpse of THE GREEN

May 17, 2015
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Happy spring! My previous post offered a peek at one of the chapters of my hopefully-soon-to-be published novel, THE GREEN. In repsonse to many of you who’ve asked for more, following is a brief glimpse into another chapter. As a reminder, one of the central characters, Dave, a weathered cop who’s married to Donna, is having an affair with the CPD precint’s secretary, Cheryse. In the following section, Donna switches cars with Dave for the day and takes his through a car wash on her way home. Here goes:

As she approached the car wash, she pulled over to a nearby garbage can to empty out some of the car’s debris before she’d need to hand the keys over to the attendant who barely looked old enough to drive. Donna collected five Styrofoam used coffee cups, a half-dozen candy wrappers, a Dunkin’ Donuts bag with stale crumbs in it—the perfect receptacle for the overflowing ashtray, which contained an empty M & M bag, gum wrappers, an old double-A battery, a few pennies, and some half-smoked cigarettes.

“When did Dave start smoking again—he kicked the habit a decade ago,” she said aloud. As she continued to dump the ashtray contents into the paper bag, her heart began to pound harder and her eyes burned as she saw the cigarettes on the bottom. And when did Dave start wearing lipstick, she thought to herself. Okay. There has to be a reasonable explanation for this. Maybe he had to accompany a female reporter or social worker through The Green for security reasons—but why in his personal car, she wondered.

Donna reached under the driver’s seat—searching for more garbage. Three traffic violation books—Dave often said he never knew when he might have to make an off-duty arrest. After all, his was a twenty-four hour job. A flashlight with corroded batteries. And two of their good coffee mugs from home that had been missing for months. I’m just helping rid his car of litter— and locate our everyday dishes, she thought, feeling a bit guilty. As she groped under the passenger seat between the bottom of the cushion and the carpet, she felt something silky. A tie, maybe. It was caught on the cushion’s spring. As she pulled, she heard a rip and then the material gave in. Donna was staring down at what she held in her hand, turning it over in disbelief. “Purple crotch-less pantyhose? I don’t think that sonofabitch is a cross-dresser!”

She stuffed the pantyhose in her purse, turned the key in the ignition and began to back Dave’s car out of the car wash. The teen in the Sudsy Dudsy uniform yelled out, “M’am, where ya goin’? You’re next in line.”

As Donna careened out of the driveway, she looked to her left, directly at a U-Haul as it was barreling toward her. She heard a tuba-like horn and then metal crashing, comparable to cymbals in an orchestra. The last sounds she remembered were sirens and a man’s voice yelling, “Let’s get her on the stretcher. Can you find her pulse?”

* * *

Stay tuned for more.

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April 3, 2015
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I recently returned from a three-day writers’ conference where I “pitched” my completed novel, THE GREEN, to several agents, who were most encouraging. The conference was exhausting but energizing, and I’m determined to get my novel out there this year.

Meanwhile, many of you have asked for a glimpse or two of some of THE GREEN’s main characters. Let’s take a look at the protagonist, Dave, a weathered cop who’s having an affair with his secretary, Cheryse. Cheryse is a beautiful, young, single mom who has devoted her entire life to raising her son. Dave is conflicted: nobody has ever made him feel the way Cheryse does. Yet Dave’s been married for twenty years to Donna, the mother of his two boys. Following are Dave’s reflections after one of his recent afternoon trysts with Cheryse:

Dave admired Cheryse for the good mother she was, just as he respected his wife for the fine way she was raising their sons—especially when he thought of his own parents, whom he could barely remember. His dad’s best buddy was Jim Beam, which contributed to his parents’ volatile marriage and his father’s premature death when Dave was only five. His mother juggled three part-time jobs to try to keep the family afloat, with little success. The church finally stepped in, at her request, and placed Dave and his two younger siblings in separate foster homes where they received three daily squares and clothes on their backs, albeit never a pat on top of those clothes. Get over that ancient history, Dave thought to himself—a thought that never completely left him like his parents had. Maybe that’s why he appreciated Donna and Cheryse all the more for their strong maternal instincts—although that’s where any similarities in his feelings for each of them ended.

As he watched Cheryse get out of his car and walk up the stairs to the precinct door, straightening her skirt and smoothing her hair, he tried to remember how long it had been since anyone had made him feel as alive as Cheryse. Then he remembered how much he was looking forward to having the three-day weekend off to spend with his family, especially his boys. He never felt so conflicted in his life.

“God, how I need some R and R,” he said aloud.

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The Power of Words

March 21, 2015
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I’ve always been drawn to the power of words to bring people together, to teach, and to help others. It began with a inauspicious launch when I was in grade school, which I mentioned in an earlier entry. We lived in a six-flat building in Chicago, and it seemed to me that our neighbors needed to connect with one another. So I typed my very own first (and last) neighborhood newspaper on my father’s typewriter at his office, ran off copies on his mimeograph machine (you can Google that dinosaur), stapled the pages together, and slipped them under the doors of our neighbors. Not wanting other residents to feel left out, I also distributed them to adjacent buildings. I thought the headline story on page one was hot news—too hot, apparently. My mother was embarrassed that I revealed to our little world that her much-too-old iron went up in flames when she plugged it in. My budding journalism career came to a halt.

Years later, I taught English and journalism in Chicago’s public high schools. As the advisor for the school newspaper, I helped my students express their hopes, dreams—and some common gripes, in a constructive way—through the written word, For many of them, this was the first time they’d been given that opportunity.

My current 9 to 5 profession, fundraising and development communications, also involves words. By writing effective communications materials, I tell the stories of nonprofit organizations and their missions, with the goal of raising public awareness and private funds to support these worthy institutions.

My before-and-after-hours career also entails writing. I’ve had short stories and essays published—all having powerful messages. My memoir, MATCHDOTBOMB: A Midlife Journey through Internet Dating (the name of this blog), came about a few years after I lost my husband and found myself suddenly single after decades of “coupledom.” (Is that a word? It was for me). MATCHDOTBOMB won two first-place awards for non-fiction in 2008. Its universal message deals with love, loss, and moving on with one’s journey. I’m hoping to expand MATCH’s reach through a broader medium—a play, movie, or sit-com, perhaps. What do you think?

My latest venture into words (109,000 of them, but who’s counting?) is my recently completed novel, THE GREEN, which tells the story of a 17 year-old drug dealer, a Chicago cop on his trail, a professional “escort,” a philandering husband, and other disparate characters whose lives intersect through a murder. Again, there are messages in my novel. While readers are getting to know THE GREEN’s entertaining characters and their stories, they’ll be contemplating contemporary issues of gangs, gun violence, prejudice, teen promiscuity, infidelity, and socioeconomic inequities—almost by accident. THE GREEN’s timely story needs to be told and is currently looking for a publisher. Keep an eye out for THE GREEN’s own website, which should be up and running soon.

Again, the power of words can accomplish so much—often in unusual and subtle ways. How about your stories of words that have affected you and others? Please share them.

Happy Spring!

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A memory grown stronger

February 16, 2015
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Growing up, I was privileged to know my grandmother, Constantina. To her friends, she was “Dina.” To her grandchildren, she was “Yiayia.” Like many other young women in those days, Yiayia emigrated from Greece to the states in her late teens, married a man who was selected for her by her parents (something I could never imagine), and raised a family of whom she was very proud. But the pride she had in becoming an American citizen could not be equaled.

I can’t help but recall one of my favorite memories of Yiayia from decades ago. As a widow, she would come to our house once or twice a year and stay for a few months. One evening, very late at night, she and I were the only ones awake. I was doing my high school algebra homework at our dining room table and Yiayia was knitting while watching television in our adjacent living room. She had contracted polio as a child, and its later effects—together with her adult arthritis—made walking and standing in her older years a painful feat.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Yiayia struggle to get up from her chair, stand erect, and put her hand to her heart. I panicked. Was she having chest pains? I rushed into the living room, only to see and hear the test pattern on the television as it signaled the end of the day’s programming. There was the American flag waving on the screen and our national anthem playing in the background. And there was Yiayia, proud to be an American and grateful for the freedom it granted her.

Nowadays, that memory is more meaningful to me than ever.

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Valentine’s Day . . .

February 13, 2015
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Valentine’s Day is almost here. For some, it means phoning the florist, booking a restaurant, and heading to the local candy shop for a satin-covered box of sweets. For others, it will be just another lonely Saturday. Many of these countless “others” are adjusting to a new stage of their lives: the suddenly-single adults who spent years—even decades—of previous holidays with spouses or significant others and now, due to divorce, death or other causes for separation, they’re finding themselves no longer one-half of a couple. It’s a tough adjustment . . . I know.

Some singles may make resolutions to get back in the game by succumbing to blind dates, while others might get serious about joining or returning to one of the numerous Internet dating sites. With over half of all marriages ending in divorce, it comes as no surprise that Internet dating is alive and well in the United States. For single adults with or without children—as well as empty nesters, widows and widowers—scrolling and trolling online for their soul mates is a quick, convenient, and anonymous way to meet the next Mr. or Ms. Right. Right? Sometimes.

Did you know that there are over 100 million single adults living in this country, more than 76 million baby boomers, and close to one-half of all of the dates in the U.S. are generated online. When my one and only husband of 31 years died, I became a member of this triple statistic almost simultaneously!

Some of you know my story. My friends strong-armed me into trying my hand at online dating, and I found myself viewing profiles of men who advertised themselves as ‘Lover Boy,’ ‘Gun in My Pocket’ and ‘Want a Wife Right Now.’ ” After almost a year online, I decided to write a book about my experiences as a middle-aged cyber-dater: MATCHDOTBOMB: A Midlife Journey through Internet Dating.
I had a number of “F & L” dates—First and Last—(I never had a second date with any of my online acquaintances—not always by my choice . . . you know, chemistry, or lack thereof, works both ways). But I kept my sense of humor and—to my surprise—I found that each failed date taught me something about myself. My online adventure led to more soul searching than it did to a soul mate. Online dating was a wake-up call to stop waiting for the perfect mate and instead concentrate on living life to the fullest. My dates helped me realize that I’m responsible for my own happiness. Don’t get me wrong . . . I’m still open to finding love the second time around. But I want to focus more on where I’m going, instead of with whom. Life truly is a journey. And although traveling companions can add or detract from the trip—often depending upon pure luck—the adventures are out there, and they’re waiting for us.

So get out your neighborhood, town, city, state, US or world map and start planning your own journey.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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February 18, 2014
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Still writing and editing . . .

I’ve been away from my blog for too many months, but it’s good to be back! Aside from polishing my novel in anticipation of unveiling it this year, I’ve also been taking writing workshops, penning a few short stories, and working on my novel’s sequel.

Someone once asked me if I have any hobbies and which one is my favorite. Hands down, writing is mine. I started at a young age by writing a neighborhood newspaper. I was eight or nine years old and I typed all the news that was fit to print (and some, apparently, that wasn’t) on our Smith Corona (okay, my age is showing); took it to my dad’s office to crank out copies on his mimeograph machine  (I don’t expect anyone to know what that ancient piece of machinery was); stapled the pages together and, voila: “The Irving Park Road Gazette” was born. I hurried back home and slipped a copy under the doors of all of our neighbors. We lived in a six-flat, but not wanting any of the residents in adjacent buildings to feel left out, I left copies at their front doors, too. One problem: I asked no one to edit it. The spelling was fine, the paragraphs flowed, my byline was modest (only once on every page), and all was well, or so I thought. Not so. My mom was appalled when the front-page story revealed how her old iron (the one that my dad insisted fixing on his own, unsuccessfully) burst into flames when she plugged it in. My big brother using his fake ID to get into the Gate of Horn was so cool that I put it on page two. Still, he was not thrilled when my dad made him hand it over. And although I was praising my older sister for cleverly avoiding her curfew violation by sneaking in through the back door while my dad stood for hours waiting for her arrival at the front one, she didn’t speak to me for weeks. My journalist aspirations were thwarted. Hadn’t they ever heard of freedom of the press? Copy for future issues had to be approved and that’s when the newspaper failed. Who cared about my mom’s new meatloaf recipe? Or the fact that my brother got an A+ in his debate class? Was my sister’s high school trip to Springfield really the biggest news in her life? Of course, I was enraged. It was just another trick to keep the family’s youngest one in check. Years later, when I was teaching journalism in high school, I proofed every word of each article for the school paper for errors, words used too often in sentences, split infinitives (we didn’t know in those days they were acceptable), when to use quotation marks instead of italics, etc., etc.. But not for content. I wouldn’t inhibit my students. No way. Never. Okay, maybe once. But just because the assistant editor saw, with her very own eyes, the married head of the English department kissing another tenured teacher in the supply room doesn’t make it newsworthy, does it? Besides, I loved my job.

Keep writing . . . and editing!


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Computers are like relationships . . .

April 12, 2013
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After 48 hours of total frustration with my computer “acting up” recently (e.g. general touchiness, moodiness, serious glitches, and showing signs of crashing) and my complete inability to resolve any of my computer’s unpredictable behavior on my own, I had to contact an expert, Dr. Cybershrink. Face it: sometimes computer relationships get to this point. You’ve taken each other for granted for a few years (certainly the case with me and Mr. Gateway), so you try to improve or fix the relationship on your own with something new (upgrades, a larger screen, a wireless mouse, etc.) Occasionally it works; other times you need to call in a doctor. Computer counseling was definitely in order for Mr. Gateway. Dr. C. prescribed some meds for Mr. G., who seems to have improved slightly . . . at least for today. Nonetheless, I’m taking a wait and see attitude.

Sound familiar? Relationships are everywhere.

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Signaling Spring . . .

April 10, 2013
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There’s been a lot of new and renewed interest lately in my memoir, MatchDotBomb: A Midlife Journey through Internet Dating. I wondered why. Of course, feedback from readers has been positive since the beginning, as they ‘ve confirmed how MatchDotBomb has elicited laughs, tears, and memories of their own journeys.  But I think this new interest has something to do with the onset of spring and the harbinger of  so many good things in store: warmer weather, many outdoor activities, a more carefree attitude as we abandon our heavy coats, scarves, gloves, and boots and simply feel “lighter. ” And maybe with that weightless feeling, we just may have room for a companion to join us on our spring and summer journeys.  So indulge and lift yourself up. Be open to making new acquaintances, friends, and more. And don’t forget that all important lesson: the destination is the frosting on the cake, but the cake itself is that rich, irresistable journey . . . without the calories.

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Blogs, Blogs Everywhere!

April 5, 2013
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I’m listening to my MatchDotBomb followers, who’ve suggested that I start a new blog for my registered, yet-to-be published novel, THE GREEN, as my novel is so different from my memoir, MatchDotBomb. Makes sense to me! Most followers of MatchDotBomb are single (often suddenly) individuals who are trying to get back into the scary game of dating. So many readers of my memoir have said that my true-life experiences depicted in MatchDotBomb have helped them as they laughed, cried, and, most of all, related to my online dates and the lessons I learned from them. My novel will cover other life issues and, although it’s fiction, readers will be able to relate to many of its characters. So, be on the lookout for my new blog, which I’ll announce here and which will hopefully be up and running in cyberspace very soon. Happy Weekend!

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About author

Francine Pappadis Friedman is a fundraising and communications consultant in Chicago. A former English and journalism teacher, she is an author of short stories and magazine articles. After authoring MatchDotBomb, an award-winning non-fiction book, she has become a sought-after speaker for both keynotes and panels on the subject of love, loss and making sense of your life's journey. Contact the author: EMail: