Monday, December 26, 2016

A Safe Place

We all need a place to feel safe. For most of us, it's our home. After a lousy day at work or a dismal day at school, home is a beacon. But what if home doesn't offer safety? In this passage from Pages in the Wind, eight-year old Emily, talks about her safe place - Grandma's house:

The faint glow of the late afternoon sun touched my face as I jumped out of the car. Birch trees quivered in the breeze, and the scent of damp pine needles and cedar reminded me of Christmas. The fruit groves, giant evergreens, and fields of wild clovers and moss surrounded the old wood and stone craftsman home like an enchanted forest. I gushed with giggles and short squeals knowing the day had finally arrived. I couldn’t wait to spend a month with Grandma.

Unfortunately for little Emily, her safe place only lasts a month. In this scene, she prepares to say goodbye to Grandma, and return to San Francisco with her parents:

Early the next morning, the family gathered at the front door saying their goodbyes. I stood back, dabbing my eyes.

Grandma sat eye-level with me. "My precious bébé. We'll be together soon. Next time I will teach you to make crepe cakes."

My chest heaved as I caught each whimper and reined them back to talk to her. I gazed into her soft blue eyes, already thinking about next August. She had no idea why going home was killing me—I didn’t even know. "I'll write you every day, Grandma. My hand never gets tired. I'll draw you beautiful pictures too." I grabbed her hand, wondering if it was too late to squeeze it twice.

Father pushed me aside. "That's enough. Leave your grandma alone."

Friday, December 9, 2016

designI love the sibling relationship between Emily and Robert in Pages in the Wind. I think it’s especially important in an intense book. We need someone to count on. In this excerpt, the tender relationship is defined:
I heard Robert grab his keys and leave the house. I pressed my palms against my eyes to snuff out the tears. I felt happy and sad. I was happy he’d convinced me my drawings were good but sad because I knew in my heart he had chosen Harvard.
I couldn’t tell him a cockamamie story to trick him into staying. It would have benefitted me, but I couldn’t do that to him. When Father put the negatives in my head and Mother gutted me with disinterest, Robert had been there to fill my head with mirthful sonnets to breathe hope into my tired soul.
Now, I had to go it alone because my sweet brother would be moving to Boston.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Cold Claire

img_0283She’s not a villain. She’s not even mean. Claire doesn’t neglect her duties. She educates her children and gives them cultural advantages. She decorates her daughter’s bedroom with beautiful French decor. She studies the teen magazines to make sure her child is dressed in the latest trends. But…you won’t love her. You probably won’t even like her. She’s Claire in Pagesin the Wind.
In this excerpt, a neighbor compliments Emily’s artwork. Eager to get her mother’s opinion, she raises the subject. Here it is:
“Of course you can draw, dear. Anyone can draw but drawing doesn’t make you an artist. Art is extremely competitive, and most artists don’t make a decent living.”
“But I could study art in college and get better, right? I could learn how to paint and sell my paintings at shows and stuff?”
“There are other ways to use art, dear. You can study art history or become a librarian. If you want to use your hands, you can go to beauty school and become a hairdresser. There are many careers you can choose if you like art.”
I gawked at her, speechless. She delivered the verdict and the punishment at the same time. She might as well have said, “No, you have no talent, and put away your sketchpad and do my hair.”
She smiled and returned to the countertop. She picked up a can of Pledge, polishing the wood to a yellowish-brown patina. I watched her shine the teak counter to perfection, but she had thrown enough muck on me to sully a landfill. I retreated to my bedroom.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Comforter in the Story

One of my favorite characters in Pages in the Wind is Doctor Lieberman. At first, an unlikely hero, he is everything you would want in a wise man. In many ways, he is the comforter in the story. When things become sad or dark, the doctor makes us feel we can find our way back from a seemingly impossible human condition. I love him. Here is an excerpt from the story, Pages in the Wind.

The doctor glanced at me without releasing the grip on his pen. "One moment, please."

It amazed me that such a frail man could write with such vigor. I looked forward now to our weekly visits, to some extent because it gave me a break from solitary, but also because I'd grown to like him. He never treated me like an inmate and, in spite of the murder charge, he managed to make me believe I had some good in me.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Are we becoming too mean?

We have a new president. People are marching on the streets. Groups are taking sides. Is it really a surprise? I'm more and more disheartened by what I read online. Whether it's Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites, the threads I read just seem to get meaner. Heck, read product or book reviews and ask yourself...are the comments productive and respectful or just plain cruel? Why glum on to the negative comments instead of sticking up for civility? I plan to. We all have different pain thresholds and that includes emotional thresholds. I get hurt by mean comments and I'm sure I'm not the only one. There is a world of difference between constructive comments and the personal "you suck and aren't worth my time" kind of comments I read online. Why be so mean? Those cruel (and I've read comments so much worse) words are not going into cyberspace...they are going into someone's mind and soul. I wish people would think about that before their fingers touch the keyboard. Maybe stop for two minutes and think about it before you post words that are just plain mean.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Pages in the Wind - Identity

Pages in the Wind explores the impact of harsh criticism, especially during the formative years. Funny, how we can remember a hurtful word or put down, especially if it's said by someone we love. In this scene, Emily joyfully sings a song as she skips around the yard. But she wakes up her father, who angrily tells her to shut up. 

I felt deflated, like one of those helium balloons that flies high until one day, it's just a blob of vinyl on the ground with all the air sucked out.
I trotted back to the chair. I felt deflated, like a helium balloon that f

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Ghost of Penelope from Pages in the Wind

But one day last year, she came back to me. It happened an afternoon last spring at the playground. Girls were giggling nearby, and I swung around expecting to find my sister. I stood still, feeling silly and light, my body tingling. We must have laughed all the time until something terrible happened to her and the laughter stopped. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Intuitive Fear - Brooklyn Bitters

Time passed as I continued to stare at my house. Every minute or so, I peered up the street for signs of Gunner's car. Nothing. It made no sense to stay in my car. My legs had cramped, and if I kept the inside light on any longer, it could wear down the battery. That would strand me. I massaged my neck muscles and wondered why I was frightened now. I'm home. Just go inside, Gunner will be back soon.

A sense of foreboding pursued me as I headed up the walkway, looking side-to-side for signs of an unknown peril. Months of uncertainty were coming to a sinister conclusion, I felt it in my gut.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Kate's Doubts

 The central character in Brooklyn Bitters, a forty year old career woman, longs for a romantic relationship. When she meets a handsome, charismatic man in New York City her excitement is filled with doubts. The man is secretive and she fears her attraction to him will supersede her good sense. In this excerpt, in the privacy of her office, she contemplates their relationship.

I tossed the messages aside and leaned back in my chair staring at my framed degree on the wall. I graduated summa cum laude not because I was a member of Mensa but because I worked my ass off. I couldn't let a secretive man derail all I'd worked for. So, until Gunner could fess up to why he showed up that night at Mulligans and who he was—I couldn't go any further with him.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Brooklyn Bitters is in its final edit and coming along nicely. The characters are have evolved considerably since the first draft. This scene deals with the uncertainty of life. Kate, the protagonist in the story, faces her fear over her mother’s illness.

An unexpected flood of dread stopped me. The silence of the room played its hand, deep in my gut, forming a physical ache. My heart sputtered and beat out of sync as I sat down. My mother was lost in her body. I missed the way her head tilted forward when she listened to me, how she nodded when she agreed, and how her eyebrows arched when she challenged me. I longed to see the way her blue eyes blinked with tears when she talked about her faith. I adored her, and no one could take her place. That scared me. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Brooklyn Bitters- Stacey

My next book, Brooklyn Bitters, is in its second edit and due out this summer or early Fall. The characters are fully developed and I'm having fun with them. In this excerpt, meet Stacey, the heroine's younger sister:

My sister barreled down the stairs dressed in a tight fitting white tank top and pink shorts. Her blonde hair trailed down her back in spiral curls, still a bit damp. She'd managed to brush mascara on her big blue eyes, along with hot pink lipstick. She looked sultry and bubbly. At five-feet-two, she had perky breasts and a toned figure, which she worked on five days a week at the gym. Her face, at thirty-seven, was unlined and "girlish" with her delicate features and a hint of freckles spread across her rounded nose. 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Brooklyn Bitters

Brooklyn Bitters is my new book, coming out this summer. The story is about two sisters and how family ties can sometimes lead to deadly consequences. It explores the role of guilt and loyalty and pits romantic love against family devotion. It's gritty and fast-paced with a lot of plot twists and characters you are sure to love and hate.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Kate and Gunner

My second book, Brooklyn Bitters, is almost finished. As with Pages in the Wind, I have become attached to the characters. This work deals with loyalty, betrayal, secrets, and love. The love story between Kate and Gunner is beautiful, though it doesn't always run smoothly. Here is an excerpt:

I hung up with a knot forming in my stomach. I was happy he had taken steps to improve his life, but I didn’t want him to move on without me. I wanted to see his place in Midtown, celebrate his admission to Georgia Tech, and talk to him about his dreams for the future. I wanted it to be our future. But that was impossible because of my pledge to put some distance between us. Doing the right thing made me miserable and set me back to the gloomy life I had before Gunner.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Body Language


I'm enjoying the new characters in my upcoming book, Brooklyn Bitters. The heroine, Kate Hathaway, is a lonely forty year old career woman with an addiction to romance novels. Her younger sister is a married homemaker with a husband and three kids. Opposites, for sure. The picket fence may have a few loose boards, as we find out in this scene. Kate, whose mother is in the hospital, finds out that her sister and brother-in-law will not help with expenses.

All I could do was stare at her. I wondered if this was her idea or if Frank was not the boring wimp I pegged him for. He’d still be boring, but maybe he was a boring dictator. He just stood there, dressed in khaki slacks and a brown pullover sweater I was sure Stacey had picked out. His gray eyes stared straight ahead, but the way he switched from one foot to the other made me think he was uncomfortable or uncommitted. I couldn't tell.