It's rare I find a book that holds my attention. I've been jaded by the book industry - that's the truth of the matter - and I'm picky as hell. I 'know' whether or not a book is worthy of my time, brain and absorption into my soul within the first few sentences. White Oleander drew me in just like the beautiful yet poisonous flower that it is named after.
It's wonderful to read a book written with care and exquisite use of language. Might as well feed myself whilst reading.
It's wonderful having a story awaiting you at the end of each day ( when I read ).
White Oleander is now passed on to my two daughters who I share my love of reading and writing with - because I know they will devour and absorb the story like I have.
My faith in meaty, real stories is confirmed. They stick with you....for days after finishing.
And, any story set in my favorite place on earth already has it's foot in the door of my heart. Homage to California.
Our family has been through so much this past week - it would take hours and pages to share the challenges that we are facing right now. Please pray for my son. He is struggling to maintain fragile sobriety and the desire to remain in a rehabilitation facility. If he does not get the help he needs, he is very near a tragic ending. So I'm putting this out there in hopes anyone who comes across the blog will take a moment and pray for him. I will be forever grateful.
I realize yesterday's post was...startling? Morbid? Depressing? Sad? WTH?
The next day always changes circumstances a little bit. Thankfully. Even my stagnant circumstances shifted every so slightly. So, YAY for that.
Which reminded me of #Overprotected. The first story I ever wrote ( even though the final version was MUCH different than the initial version, which started out as a Women's Romance. Overprotected is ( like most of my books ) much of my life experience as an only child. Overprotected. Minus the New York socialite ( that status I stole from my very rich cousin who also, coincidentally, was an only child - also my age ). Minus the over-the-top mother and father. ( Though my mother definitely qualified ( still does ) as OTT in some parts of our relationship. Minus the hot, nemesis bodyguard. THAT definitely took the story to another, more interesting level.
I read one review ( back in the day when I actually READ reviews ) that said: " Overprotected is SO not what I was expecting - it's so much more! "
I like to think all of my stories are like that, but Overprotected especially - with it's complex love triangle between a father and his daughter and the young man he hires to protect her, are original in their twists.
Overprotected is juicy fun.
How did I come up with those names? The characters? Always, real life figures in.
Ashlyn: the name of a neighbor's child. ( I really like how original the name was, back in the day - now, not so much )
Colin: I had a major screen affair with Colin Farrell during this period. I saw him cast as Colin when he was first on the Hollywood scene.
Fiona: Is my Aunt- ( not her real name )right down to her dramatic enunciation. Love my aunt, had to immortalize her.
Charles: I always loved the name, and the idea of this very wealthy, very influential society man being completely off his rocker when it came to his one and only child -- but not in a way that anyone except his wife, and his child knows about. Like his deep weakness, his undoing. Everything in his life is in his control -- except her heart.
My thoughts on Overprotected. If you've read the book - share your thoughts with me. Better: share the book with someone!
The dark, dismal, hopeless kind. Where your eyes are heavy and you'd rather bury yourself beneath comforters and pillows than move. Your heart is so weighed down with grief, you force breath in and out of lungs too weary to breathe any longer. Yes, it's sunny outside. Yes, you should be grateful for life, health, home, family, love, support, yes, yes, yes. But for a few minutes THAT DOESN'T MATTER. You're falling, sinking, grasping, then recoiling, then grasping and -- nothing is within your grasp. You pray more. Sobs wrench your body. No control. Like everything else in your life -- everything still out of reach. Nothing changes.
Praying. Sobbing. Your prayers -- same ones, same because the anguish is ever present. Like everything in your life that remains the same.
Waiting there for you.
God, will it EVER, EVER get better?
You keep waiting for the day. The hour. The SECOND something improves and STAYS better.
I stopped writing about a year and a half ago. My muse, which had proved impenetrable by ANY force other than my creative heart, had, over the past five years taken such a brutal assault from serious family issues, it finally passed away. The death was slow. I'd felt it coming, and had religiously sat myself down in front of my computer and FORCED myself to create even though each day less and less of my heart was in the process. The experience was devastating, heartbreaking, disappointing. The massive loss of "writing" in my life was as painful to imagine as was the family challenges I was dealing with. Both realities I could not ignore or escape.
I took a year to ponder the death of my writing. The idea was horrible. Unsettling. No matter how awful I felt, I couldn't resurrect my muse, buried so deep inside of me I often wondered if it had ever existed in the first place.
Friends kept saying, "Oh, you'll get your groove back." "Give it a rest.""You've been through so much, no wonder!" "You can't stop!"
But I knew I was done. Like a mother knows when she's had her last child, she's done. Like a woman knows when a relationship is over.
I've been amazed that, even with knowing I was done writing, how hard it's been to accept that. "Yes, but are you REALLY done?" a little voice would repeat whenever I browsed for books on Amazon, or meandered into the local B&N. Every day when I check in on Facebook and wish all of my FB friends happy birthday or check the news feed, "Yes, but are you REALLY done?"
I thought I was. But then I discovered an even more looming problem: I couldn't replace the creative outlet writing had been for me / for my life. I tried a variety of other creative endeavors but nothing stuck, nothing felt right.
Yesterday I opened my last WIP that had been sitting untouched on my laptop for over a year. I started reading it. Fixing it. Playing with it.
It felt good.
I don't know what will come of that one moment. Life is still messy at our house. My muse still feels heavily drugged by responsibility.
I'm here, though. On this blog - and I'm WRITING. Not sharing a contest or giveaway - WRITING. Perhaps that's the beginning of resuscitation. I don't know.
So I often pick up whatever Oprah has on her book list because I usually LIKE what she suggests. Ruby by Cynthia Bond started out with a writer's dream page: beautiful, lush writing unfolding the start of what seems a promising story.
But as I continued reading, the scenes literally DRAGGED on through too many unnecessary details that became tedious rather than lending themselves to the moment ( moments that stretched into what seemed like hours describing how a recipe was made, a chair was sat upon, light coming in a window.) Enough already. I've read enough overwritten books to know one when I start wading through one. I don't have the patience or time.
I appreciate and can enjoy ( as I thought I would with Ruby ) well written prose. But this was beyond flowery. This was a patch so dense you couldn't catch any one scent and enjoy it - so overpowered by perfume, if you get my 'drift'.
I read 3 chapters of Ruby and put it aside.
My opinion, of course, and every reader is entitled to their own. ( Alas: Read and let read )
It's hard to find a good read these days. Even with Oprah as a 'filter'.
The hop where all your dreams come true. Well, maybe not ALL of your dreams - but we can start with BOOKish dreams! To add to your dreamy dreams, I'm offering your choice of my books: A Season of Eden, with dreamy James Christian and teenage dreamer Eden who lusts after him.
I'm also offering Heavenly, book one in my Heavenly series. Featuring dreamy Matthias, Zoe's autistic sister's guardian angel, who Zoe falls heart and soul for.
I'm also offering Overprotected, with dreamy Colin - Ashlyn's childhood nemesis, hired by her father to protect her from the evils in the world. Naive, innocent Ashlyn fights falling for Colin, but it's tough - he's HOT. And he's there 24 /7 to protect her. How can she resist????
To enter to win, post your choice of book, then add me on Facebook and follow this blog or join me on Twitter. ( Links in sidebar )
I write YA books. Whatever my heart desires, I write. I don't have someone over my shoulder, in some office somewhere telling me what I can and cannot write. Or should and shouldn't write. I listen to my heart, the center of my muse, and trust my instincts.