A Dead Tomato Plant And A Paycheck

“The Devil Wears Prada” meets Erma Bombeck in this humorous memoir that tells all the secrets of the Miller family. Not even the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

My husband and I raised five children, and one of the things that helped us face the challenges of a large family was having a sense of humor. Being able to laugh can pretty well diffuse any situation, although the humor might not always be apparent right away. Some things have to age somewhat before they take on comic proportions.

I used to write about the family nonsense in a weekly column for The Plano Star Courier, an upscale Dallas suburban newspaper, and I always thought some day I would combine the collection into a book.

Well, it’s “someday” now.

A Dead Tomato Plant and a Paycheck  features many of those columns that have been organized into chapter themes and enhanced with narrative transitions. While the focus is a humorous look at the nonsense that goes on in a large family, sprinkled throughout, sort of like medicine hidden in applesauce, are tidbits of wisdom about what makes families work. I always loved that Erma Bombeck did that in her wonderful books, and she is my idol and inspiration.


A Dead Tomato Plant And A Paycheck was a finalist in the Top Shelf Book Awards in 2019 for humor, and it has been nominated by Top Shelf for a 2020 award.


“The style is concise, readable and definitely funny. Wife, husband, five children, and numerous pets all have their day in this book. Chapters devolve around topics such as vacations, first day of school, sports, holidays, marriage, and how the author managed to hold a writing life together, and her husband his good humor, amid all the wonderful chaos generated by their children. These subjects flow seamlessly; the book never comes across as a disjointed collection of newspaper columns, but as an integrated whole.” Michael D. Smith author of The Martian Marauders

“The title caught my eye on Twitter and I had to get this. Very entertaining, with the kids, family even pets and dead tomato plants brilliantly combined. This read will have you smiling.” Amazon review.



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