A Life Less Ordinary


For the last fifteen years, Rose “Manny” Mankowski has been a very good girl.  Now, at the age of 45, she’s questioning her choices and feeling more and more disconnected from her own life.  When she’s passed over for promotion and her much younger new boss implies Manny’s life will never change, something snaps.  In the blink of an eye, she’s quit her job, sold her house, cashed in her pension, and she’s leaving town on a six month road trip.

After placing an ad for a travelling companion, she’s joined in her mid-life crisis by Zeke Powell, the cynical, satirical, most read – and most controversial – blogger for the e-zine, What Women Want.  Zeke’s true goal is to expose Manny’s journey as a pitiful and desperate attempt to reclaim her lost youth – and increase his readership at the same time.

Now, armed with a bagful of destinations, a fistful of maps, and an out-spoken imaginary friend named Harvey, Manny’s on a quest to rediscover herself – and taking Zeke along for the ride.

Manny walked in her door, looking tired and feeling worn out. She wondered ruefully why the only thing not on a schedule was the time she could leave the office. She dropped her purse on the table and hung up her coat and keys. With a tired sigh, she walked into the living room and plopped into the armchair. She closed her eyes as Harvey walked out of the kitchen with a glass of white wine and began to rub her shoulders. He again looked impossibly handsome, this time wearing a sweater and jeans. She sighed in imagined bliss, and looked at him with sad eyes.

You have no idea how much I wish you were real.

In a blink, he was gone–and the phone was ringing. For a split second, Manny considered not answering it.

There’s your chance to talk to a real person, Harvey murmured.

Probably a telemarketer.

Probably Rebecca. Or Daisy. They’ll worry if you don’t answer.

All right, all right.

Manny heaved herself to her feet and walked to the phone.

Maybe I’m glad you’re imaginary after all.

She caught a glimpse of his grin as she answered the phone.

It was Rebecca, asking her to go out the next night.

“I don’t know...” Manny sighed.

“Oh, come on–you’ll have fun! And seriously–you haven’t gone out with us in months!”

“I’ve been tired...”

“You’ve been tired your whole life I think. You need to break out of this rut you’re in! Come out for a few drinks and dancing with me and Daisy. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet a good-looking guy and be swept off your feet into a red-hot love affair.”

Sounds like a plan to me.

Yeah, ’cause that’ll happen.

“I’d love to go dancing,” Manny said to Rebecca, “but the guy is just a figment of your imagination.”

“Only because you don’t put any effort into it. Seriously, it’s not healthy to do nothing but work and go home. That’s how people go crazy you know.”

“Huh. You mean next thing you know I’ll be talking to my imaginary friend?”

Harvey grinned wickedly and Manny abruptly turned her back to him.


Victoria Bernadine (a pseudonym) is, as the saying goes, a “woman of a certain age”. After twenty-something years of writer’s block, she began writing again in 2008. She began with fanfiction about a (now-cancelled) TV show called Jericho and particularly about the characters of Heather Lisinski and Edward Beck. From there, she expanded into writing original fic and she hasn’t stopped since.

Victoria enjoys reading all genres and particularly loves writing romantic comedy and post-apocalyptic science fiction. What those two have in common is anybody’s guess.

She lives in Edmonton with her two cats (The Grunt and The Runt). A Life Less Ordinary is the first novel she felt was good enough to be released into the wild.

Victoria can be contacted through Love of Words Publishing Inc. (loveofwords@shaw.ca) or through her brand new blog at http://victoriabernadine.wordpress.com/.

A Life Less Ordinary is available for sale on Amazon in both Kindle and hard copy formats at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AMJBOSQ

My Interview with the author:

“If you show me yours, I’ll show you mine with author Charity Parkerson”
Tell me 3 fun facts about yourself
Oh, dear – they need to be fun?!
1.)  In a case of life imitating art, I did quit my job and cash out my pension.  Still looking for a Zeke, though!
2.)  I’m owned by two cats – one who is twenty pounds; the other is about six.  No wonder my nephew calls them the Grunt and the Runt!
3.)  I’m not-so-secretly addicted to true crime documentaries, and I usually end up freaking myself out when I’m watching them.  I wish I was smart enough to write a mystery novel!

If you could bring one of your book characters to life for only one night, which one would it be, and what would you do?
Only one?  LOL  Oh, dear...*ponders*...well, I’ll go for shallow and say Zeke, so I could prove to him that older women really do make the best lovers.  Well.  I’d do my best, anyway!

Is there anyone you’ve always secretly thought of as sexy that other people might find strange? If so, who?
Lorne Greene – and I’ll be surprised if anyone even remembers/knows who he was – LOL!  Even before I hit puberty, I loved his voice and thought he was very, very handsome.

What’s the worst/oddest present that you’ve ever received?
In elementary school, my best friend’s mother gave me a pair of underwear as part of a Christmas present...which I opened up at school...I was incredibly embarrassed (although they were very pretty).
Confession time: What’s on your ipod right now?
...erm...I don’t have an ipod *looks sheepish*.  I do use YouTube playlists, if that’ll work!
The Good:  Let Her Go – Passenger – I just discovered this artist; love, love, love his voice and this song!
The Bad:  She Took It Like a Man – Confederate Railroad – it’s just a funny, silly reverse-sexist song.
The Ugly:  Star Trekkin’ - I don’t even know the artist – I suppose it’s more hilarious than ugly, but...close enough – LOL.

Do you have any tattoos?
Nope.  I’m too much of a commitment-phobe to get a tattoo!

What’s your favorite snack?
Potato chips.  Flavoured are preferred, but as long as they’re salty, I’ll eat ‘em.  And coke...as in coca cola.

What’s your ultimate fantasy?
World peace...a best-selling novel...a tropical island filled with gorgeous men who adore me and are willing to provide me with an endless supply of books and cats (not to mention potato chips and coke)!
At least, that’s my ultimate fantasy for today!!

Victoria will be awarding a $25 gift card and two $15 gifts cards, to either Amazon or Smashwords (Winners choice) to randomly drawn commenters. For more chances to win be sure to check out all the tour stops. Here's a link to find those:


  1. I'm wondering if when Zeke turns up Harvey disappears for good?


    1. Hi Mary.

      Thanks for commenting!

      I wish I could answer your question but that would (possibly) spoil the story (at least a little bit). ;)

  2. Fascinating premise! I'm going to have to keep reading and following the tour to find out more!

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

    1. Thank you for commenting, Andra Lyn - and please keep following the tour for more info.

      I also have a Review Tour that will be starting tomorrow (the schedule is here on my blog). You can also check out a free preview on both Amazon.com and Smashwords.

    2. *facepalm*

      Sorry; the link to my blog didn't work the way I expected. Here's a better one.

  3. Hi Charity.

    Thanks so much for hosting me today! I really appreciate it!

    I'm brand new at blog touring, so just let me know if there's anything you need from me. I may (sadly) be working for a while today, but I'll be checking back as often as I can.

    1. No problem. I hope the tour will be a huge success.

    2. Thank you - I'm looking forward to having a good time with it. :)

  4. Wonderful tour! Love the premise of the book!


    Erzabet Bishop

    erzabetwrites at gmail dot com

    1. Thank you, Erzabet! I'm glad you love the premise; it was a lot of fun to write. :)

  5. "I might start talking to my imaginary friends." *imaginary friend reacts* lol, very nice

    1. I love imaginary friends. They rock! lol

    2. Hi Mary. Thanks for the comment.

      I'm glad you lol'd at that part; I giggled quite a bit when I wrote it (but I'm just a teeeeny bit biased. ;D )

  6. What a fun read. Thank you for the tour.


    1. Thanks for commenting, Ingeborg. I'm glad you enjoyed the post! :)

  7. I like the way you write Harvey - was he an easy character to write? And was he always part of the story from the outset or did he only show up once you started writing?

    1. Hi, Liz - thanks for commenting! And I'm glad you like the way I write Harvey. :)

      Harvey was always part of the "cast list" when I started writing** but he was originally intended to be a silent character. He was supposed to be Manny's Perfect Fantasy Man and just act out silly romantic scenarios whenever Manny needed to escape from her real life. Think the Old Spice commercials only without the monologue. :D

      That concept didn't really work all that well, so he eventually morphed into this anthropomorphic personification (tm Terry Pratchett) of her inner thoughts/conflicts.

      Harvey was both an easy and a difficult character to write. Easy, because he's simply the other side of a conversation you might have with yourself, but difficult because I wasn't sure what, exactly, Harvey is (e.g., is there some magic realism involved here) or where he came from. I'm still not sure. :)


      **The novel began its life as a script written for the now-defunct ScriptFrenzy challenge. I was given a cast list from an online friend in response to another little challenge, and Perfect Fantasy Man (aka Harvey) was one of the characters I identified. The rest, as they say, is history. :)

  8. Perhaps it's a Canadian thing! I knew right away what you were saying about Lorne Greene! I agree with you!


    1. *virtual high five*!

      Thank you for telling me I'm not alone! LOL I remember watching Bonanza as a kid and thinking, "yeah, Little Joe's cute and all, but there's just something about Pa..." And while I haven't heard his voice in years, I think I can probably still recognize it within one word.

      Maybe it is a Canadian thing! :D

  9. I didn't realize you had a NBtM tour going on at the same time as your review tour. Sorry I missed your first day!

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

    1. Hi Karen - LOL - no worries! At least the NBtM tour is only every Monday (and there's not stop on the 27th) so you have lots of time to catch up! :D

      Thanks for dropping by!


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