From Virtual to Live Friend

Living Lightly

Rachelle and P.C. Rachelle and P.C.

I’m fortunate to have a load of virtual friends and fellow authors through my blogs and my writers’ group. When I first started my leap into Indie Authordom, one person appeared in my online life and has remained constant. She writes under the name, Rachelle Ayala, and she was the first to appear on my Author Wednesday posts over at Writing Whims.

I’ve read all her books and reviewed them. I belong to two writing online groups in which she’s involved. I even joined a class she’s teaching on how to write a romance in a month.

We’ve exchanged personal emails and feel we know one another through our novels and through our personal sharing, yet we’ve never laid eyes on one another, until yesterday.

Rachelle posted that she was visiting Pittsburgh and I told her she would be in my part of the world. She…

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Book Review Friday – Yesterday Road

Small coverI once read that all memory is fiction. What remains rather than specific details is the perception and the ghost of emotions garnered from that memory.

Yesterday Road by Kevin Brennan shows the fiction of the memory is the most important.

Jack in Yesterday Road finds himself on the road a few hours from San Francisco one day with no memory of who he is or where he’s been. He hooks up with a Down syndrome young man named Joe, and the two travel in an innocent cocoon until adopted by Ida who doesn’t know that her waitress uniform conceals a big heart.

Jack’s memory of his past comes to him at night in his dreams as some form of fiction. He remembers snatches of things and knows from the things he says that he was a good man with a strong family. Without the facility to name those things from his past, including his own name, he leads with his instinct and shows those he meets great kindness and offers them a way to live in the present.

The agony of Alzheimer’s is portrayed in Jack’s knowing he won’t remember things if he goes to sleep. One night he stays up purposefully so he won’t forget Joe. As he knew would happen, Joe is gone from his memory the next time he sleeps.

His memories of the past come fleetingly, and he remembers them enough to take him to the place he knows was once home. He hears the voices of his parent, such as the words of his mother:

“Everyone follows his own path, she said. Remember that. Once you start out, you’re the only one who knows the right way to go.”

Those words carry him forth to where he knows not, but he continues on his journey aided by the kindness and love of Ida who abandons her own life for a few days to help Jack find his way.

Yesterday Road takes the reader on a weeklong odyssey with Jack and a cast of characters. The relationship between Jack and Joe is one of the sweetest. Jack knows that Joe can’t take of himself; and Joe knows that Jack can’t remember anything. Between the two of them, they manage to pull off a few miraculous acts. Those of us with most of our faculties intact probably couldn’t pull off half of what these two men do.

Brennan’s novel creates a poignant tale of what it means to be a victim of Alzheimer’s. Two people close to me suffered through this disease, and the worst stage for both of them occurred in the shadow stage of the disease. They knew they had it; they knew they forgot things; they knew enough to cry for what they’d lost even though they couldn’t always remember what it was. Jack is in this stage, and at times, it’s painful to read, but it’s important to read.

I started this book on Monday night and finished it the next day. It’s not a long book, but it’s filled with well-drawn character sketches, particularly of Jack, Joe, and Ida. But Brennan also writes with vivid precision of the minor characters to help move along the plot without clogging its progression.

Brennan’s writing is concise and clear, and correct. These are what I call the three C’s of writing. His depiction of Alzheimer’s is correct. The heartbreak of the disease is clear through the dialogue and actions of Jack. And his language is concise as he moves the plot along without stopping to smell the flowers on the side of the road as these road warriors travel from San Francisco to Salt Lake City to Omaha to Wisconsin.

I recommend giving this book a try if you want to immerse yourself in three very likable and charming characters who come to life in such a way that the fiction of our memory doesn’t matter so much as the effect it has on our living now.

Click here to read my interview with Kevin Brennan on Author Wednesday.

Author Wednesday – Kevin Brennan

typewriterWelcome to Author Wednesday! One year of posts introducing authors and their work to the followers of this blog has been a most pleasant journey. Today I welcome Keven Brennan, the author of several works of literary fiction. In his latest work, Yesterday Road, a “coming-of-old-age” tale, Jack Peckham finds himself on a journey into his distant past, helped along the way by Joe Easterday, a young man with Down syndrome, and Ida Pevely, a middle-aged waitress with her own mountain of regrets. According to Kevin, “We all tow our histories behind us as we make our way down Yesterday Road.”Small cover

Welcome to Author Wednesday, Kevin. I’m so glad you dropped by today to tell us a bit about Yesterday Road. What’s your pitch for this book book?
Jack Peckham is trying to find his way home. Home’s a tough nut to crack.

If Jack is the protagonist, who or what is the antagonist in your book?
The real antagonist in this book is memory. I have two characters struggling with it: one, Jack Peckham, who has a form of dementia that is preventing him from remembering anything about his past life, and the other, Ida Pevely, who wishes she could escape some of her more troubling memories.

So, though memory isn’t a character per se, I enjoyed playing with its possibilities, such as the way it isn’t always reliable or accurate and how it is always embedded in us even if we can’t call something up on demand. Jack has his entire history in his mind, but his mind has built a wall around certain painful things.

That’s so very true. We store away the emotion, if not the actual memory. I believe that all memory is fiction; just sit in on any family reunion of people raised in the same household. What type of research did you do in the writing of this book?
I did quite a bit of research about Alzheimer’s disease and other kinds of memory loss, since that’s Jack’s main characteristic. I also have a character with Down syndrome, thirty-year-old Joe Easterday, so I did a lot of research on that, too. I wanted to make sure I was creating a realistic character, but one who could also carry some weight in scenes and dialogue.

Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in this book.
I have quite a few favorite scenes, actually. There are a lot of funny, poignant moments. But I think the first one a reader will come across is a scene where Jack and Joe get abducted by a hapless carjacker named Steve, who’s trying to get out of the reach of his bookie. That scene kind of sets the tone for the middle of the novel.

That sounds great. I just downloaded to my Kindle, so I look forward to that scene and others that I’m sure are equally enticing. What is the best thing someone could say about this book?
The best I’ve heard so far from a number of readers is that they didn’t want the book to end. That’s a fantastic feeling.

I agree that hearing those words from a reading keeps me going. It’s always interesting to hear when other authors find their voice. Do you know when  first discovered yours?

Though I was already writing fiction in high school, I don’t think I really landed on my own voice or approach until I dug in and began a novel in my late twenties. Until then, I was probably emulating my favorite writers too much, but attempting a novel showed me how I could use different techniques and tones to get the effects I wanted. I discovered the possibilities of multiple points of view, nonlinear narrative, and use of thematic motifs, and that’s when I understood I had to be a novelist.

That’s not unusual to emulate at first. But at some point, it’s time to put down what others have done and pick up our own voice. Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring said she never chose a subject because as a writer, the subject chose her. Has this ever happened to you?
Quite a while ago now, I stumbled upon a small factoid in the newspaper that described something I would never have thought to write about (baseball in prisons). I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and over the years I’ve been working on a novel based on it.

That’s an interesting one. I think you’re supposed to write that book. Do you have similar messages or themes that you try to convey to your readers?
I keep gravitating to identity themes, for some reason, especially the idea that we are what other people see us as. I don’t happen to believe that as a philosophy of life, but it’s really ripe territory for fiction.

Does setting play a role in your books?
Sometimes it has a very large role, as in my first novel, Parts Unknown.partscover There the setting of Sonoma dairy country has had a major influence on the characters, between the stark beauty of the place and the harsh working conditions for dairy farmers back in the ‘40s. The main character, Bill Argus, has also banished himself to the California desert, which suits his assessment of himself.
Other times, the setting is more of a backdrop, as is San Francisco in my next book. It simply provides the right urban vibe for the action.

Both settings sound very powerful. All of your books are in the genre of literary fiction. Do you plan to continue writing in the same genre?
Well, I always write what I like to think of as literary fiction, but I also like to apply the techniques of literary fiction to other genres. My next book is essentially chick lit. I also have a dystopian novel, and I’m developing a thriller, a couple more comedic novels, and a historical novel. I don’t like to repeat myself!

Chick lit, huh? That’s quite a leap. Be sure to stop by when you’ve published that one. What’s the best thing said about one of your books by a reviewer?
People have said a lot of nice things about my latest book, Yesterday Road, but I always go back to a reviewer of Parts Unknown (from the Denver Post) who said I had proved that male authors can write female characters convincingly. It really bolstered my confidence and reassured me that it’s not a big risk to attempt that. Characters are people, after all. And they should also be unique, so that stereotypes and gender roles are often off the table.

That’s quite high praise. How about your preferences when writing? Do you listen to music while you write?
I do listen to music, and it can be anything from classical to jazz to indie to electronic. I tend to prefer instrumental music while I write though. Lyrics seem to distract.

I’m the same way. I love lyrics, and I tend to sing along and I can’t do that when I’m writing. What do you do during your down time?
I’m trying to get better at jazz guitar. I bought a very nice Gibson last year, and I feel I owe it some dedicated practicing.

Good luck with that. Thank you so much for stopping by Kevin. I look forward to reading Yesterday Road and your other books. 

Readers: From April 1 through April 7, Yesterday Road will cost $1.99 instead of the regular $3.99.

Brennan copyAbout Kevin Brennan:  Kevin, author of Parts Unknown (William Morrow) has rung in the new year in Red Square, performed as a busker in the London Underground, wandered the California desert, and auditioned unsuccessfully for a chance at stardom on reality television. He and his wife live in Northern California.

 

Links

Yesterday Road (October 2013, literary fiction/humor)
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Sony
Kobo
Smashwords

Children thumbnailOur Children Are Not Our Children (August 2013, flash fiction)
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kobo
Smashwords
Sony

Parts Unknown (January 2003, literary fiction, William Morrow/HarperCollins)
Direct from author (signed & inscribed)

 

 

Cover Reveal from annamaria bazzi

The day has finally arrived. I would like to present to all of annamaria’s readers the wonderful cover for:

Book: Incantation Paradox

Author: annamaria bazzi

Cover Designer: Natasha Brown

Release Date: Undetermined

IncantationParadox-small

Blurb:

A car accident cuts Dolores Reynard’s life short, leaving her with a long list of unfulfilled dreams. When she awakens in a strange bed, inside a much younger body, and living with a new family—she can’t worry she might be going insane. How can she be a teenager again?

Jason Richmond understands the danger awaiting his new houseguest. Wanting to ease her concerns, he works to earn Dolores’ trust. But attraction flares in the most unexpected way, and he finds himself caught between setting the situation right and following his heart.

An enduring evil threatens not only the blossoming love but their lives as well. As Dolores and Jason struggle to unravel the truth behind her resurrection, they find themselves tangled in a web of murder, intrigue and magic. Only together can they hope to overcome the incantation paradox holding them captive.

Dolores:

IncantationParadox-FacebookHello, my name is Dolores and I’m a forty-something mother of two high school girls, Ella and Chloe. On my way to their recital, I was in a car accident that changed my life forever. We all desire to be young again, but never in someone else’s body.

If you think magic doesn’t exist, think again. There truly are people in the world who can wield magic, and I’m not talking the illusion kind we see on stage, I’m talking real magic, the magic you read in books with wizards and sorceresses. You don’t have to take my word, read my story and find out for yourself the ordeal I had to go through to find my way back home.

Author Bio:

Although born in the United States, annamaria bazzi spent a great deal of her childhood in Sicily, Italy, in a town called Sciacca. Italian was the language spoken at home. Therefore, she had no problems when she found herself growing up in a strange country. Upon returning to the states, she promised herself she would speak without an accent. She attended Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Computers with a minor in Spanish.

annamaria spent twenty years programming systems for large corporations, creating innovative solution, and addressing customer problems. During those years, she raised four daughters and one husband. Annamaria lives in Richmond Virginia with her small family where she now dedicates a good part of her day writing.

You can visit annamaria at:

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Author Wednesday – #New Release of Glimpse of Sunlight

Welcome to Author Wednesday and something a little different today. In the year I’ve been posting Author Wednesday guest posts and interviews, I’ve never had an author not follow through with either the materials or a cancellation apology. It happened with today’s scheduled author so I suppose that’s better odds than I had as an English teacher on the days a major assignment was due!

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Click on cover for Amazon page

As I was figuring out what to do, my friend and colleague Leona Bodie (see previous Author Wednesday post) posted the release of her new novel Glimpse of Sunlight, co-written with G.E. Gardiner. I had the pleasure of editing this book and am anxious to receive my copy to see the final version. Leona is also the author of the award-winning thriller, Shadow Cay, which I also edited.

Click on cover

Click on cover

 

Here’s the press release for Glimpse of Sunlight:

Legend and myth combine with historical fact throughout the pages of Glimpse of Sunlight, creating incredible adventures set during the golden age of piracy and sunken treasure ships. The characters are faced with moral choices that range from revenge and violence, to murder, greed, and sensual compromise. Even a voodoo priestess, a haunted house, and a secret attic room find a place in this action-packed novel. And best of all—it’s based on a compilation of historical people who lived and breathed and features Jonathan Dickinson, who shipwrecked near the St. Lucie Inlet in 1696 and whose name lives on in Jonathan Dickinson State Park, an 11,500-acre preserve near Hobe Sound that allows visitors to step back in time and see what this pristine area looked like.

Reviewers and fellow authors are delighted by Glimpse of Sunlight. Mackenzie Lucas, award-winning author of To Have and To Hold, states, “I fell in love with the characters…wonderfully compelling story.” Richard R. Blake of Reader Views says the novel is “sure to add new fans to the growing number of enthusiasts of the works of both authors.” These pirates are bound to steal your heart.

I hope you’ll take a look at this exciting book. From what I read during the editing stage, I know you won’t be disappointed.

About the Authors

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALeona DeRosa Bodie is the award-winning author of the suspense novel Shadow Cay. After teaching high school English and a stint in private industry, she decided the novel churning in her brain for fifteen years really deserved her attention. So she left her job to sail and write full-time. Leona is the Florida Writers Association’s Regional Director and past VP.

G.E. Gardiner spent his first career founding and running several small businesses. In 1997, a hemorrhagic brain stem stroke put him in the hospital for more than six weeks. Seven years later, he began writing to strengthen his brain. G.E. also leads a Florida Writers Association group.

Please visit www.JonathanDickinson.org for more information.

Trails in the Sand – Indie Book Award

ibdbadgeI woke this morning thinking today would be a day filled with nice things. I can’t say why I felt this way, but I did. A few minutes ago one of the many nice things happening today appeared in my inbox.

Royal Certificates

Sometimes when we just keep plodding along despite our feelings of failure and inadequacy, life will boost us back up and show us that we really are on the right path.

I’ve had a few weeks of feeling as if I wasn’t getting anywhere as an author. Whenever I felt most discouraged, I kept writing and I kept promoting my current works.

This award is just for a day, but the good it does to my heart, mind, and attitude will last far longer.

Check out the feature on Trails in the Sand: http://indiebookoftheday.com/trails-in-the-sand-by-p-c-zick/

Let this be a lesson for those of you out there pursuing your passion. Keep going and find the rewards for your work in the small satisfactions that sometimes come in small packages to fill the well of creativity.

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Click on cover to purchase on Amazon

 

Book Review Friday – The Palaver Tree

Book Review Friday – The Palaver Tree by Wendy Unsworthphoto 2

The Palaver tree serves as the heart of a community. It’s the place for discussion, decision-making, festive occasions, and the place for storytelling. In the hands of Wendy Unsworth, the Palaver tree becomes more than a literal tree. In her novel, The Palaver Tree, it becomes a figurative place, as well, for the characters in this suspenseful novel set in a fictional country in Africa. Literally, the tree is the gathering place for storytelling and decision-making. It also provides shade from the harsh sun and scalding temperatures in the poor landscape of a violent and unstable government. However, as this story goes from Cornwall and London to Africa, the characters must come together to communicate or all is lost.

The good-hearted and generous people in a tightly knit community in Cornwall seek to help the hopeless children in Africa. Two women of some means, Elly and Diane, are eager to help, when they hear about the Hope Foundation run by Gabriel Cole. In London, the poor and gullible Tiffany runs the foundation and only wants to be loved by her employer and lover, Gabriel. The poor girls, Promise and Beauty, in Gabriel’s service in Africa bring him more than tea. Gabriel becomes the all-encompassing evil force in this novel rich in its beautiful description of the African landscape and its wildlife.

The novel is heartbreaking in its characterization of vulnerable and defeated folks, yet it soars with hope as dedicated individuals come together to form their own version of the “Palaver tree” to tell their stories and make decisions.

It is in these individual stories and connections that the human spirit fights for survival against some pretty awful odds. Unsworth tells this story using a wide variety of relationships to express the defeats and triumphs we all experience through marriage, friendship, and professional associations. She effortlessly weaves her story, and despite the wide-ranging lives of all the characters, somehow they all manage to find the universal denominators to form unwavering bonds.

In the beginning, a politeness exists between the characters, which prevent them from going to the “Palaver tree” to compare notes about the evil Gabriel. There exists in the good characters an unwillingness to believe in the corruption of their bank accounts and hearts.

To me, that is the lesson from The Palaver Tree. We become stronger when we gather to communicate, decide, and encourage in order to survive the worst of ordeals.

Through the exceptional storytelling talent of Wendy Unsworth, it is easy to believe in the words of Anne Frank, who wrote in her diary, “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”

The “Palaver tree” bears fruit when those who visit walk away believing that goodness still exists in a world darkened by the few with dead hearts.annefrank109060

New Release! Bound by Time by A.D. Trosper

Bound by Time is a YA paranormal romance by A.D. Trosper, the bestselling author of the epic fantasy series,

Dragon’s Call. Once again, I have to thank Blue Harvest Creative for everything they do and for the incredibly beautiful book they have designed. From cover to cover, they outdid themselves.

Can he save her this time or are they bound to be separated for eternity…

Bound-by-Time-(For_Web)

Isobel Moore is looking forward to spending her summer break alone while her parents are overseas. Until she returns from college to find her home isn’t quite the welcoming place it used to be. The stained glass window her parents installed is more than just a beautiful piece of history; something sinister is sealed within the colored glass.

When Isobel meets her new neighbor, Damien DeLuca, she discovers the gorgeous and mysterious stranger has plenty of his own secrets. Including the knowledge of what’s happening in her home.

As her world spins out of control, she unravels a past that not only tests her limits, but also everything she thought she knew. The darkness within the window yearns to be free and it will do anything to escape—including killing Isobel.

Click HERE for a quick preview of the front and back covers and peek at the interior

BBT first page

Buy now in either E-BOOK or PAPERBACK or visit the AUTHOR PAGE

 

About A.D. Trosper

Writer, mother, ruler of the world inside her head.

A.D. Trosper is the author of the bestselling, award winning Dragon’s Call series. The first and second books are BeFunky_Author pic12.jpgalready out under the titles Embers at Galdrilene and Tears of War. She has also written a children’s book and has three books planned for release in 2014. A.D. enjoys writing in a variety of genres including epic fantasy, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance.

An avid lover of animals, she has rescued and rehabbed horses, goats, dogs and cats. When not writing, she spends time with her family and pets. She is convinced chocolate is a necessary food group and magic is real (not always the way we think it is, but real nonetheless).

You can connect with her at her

Blog

or on

Facebook

Author Wednesday – Wendy Unsworth

typewriter.jpgWelcome to Author Wednesday. Today I welcome Wendy Unsworth, a frequent visitor to Writing Whims. Wendy is the author of several children’s books and a novel, I recently finished reading, The Palaver Treephoto 2Watch for my review of the book on Book Review Friday. It’s a pleasure to meet so many wonderful writers through this blog, and so it is with pleasure I introduce to you this talented and versatile writer. Please take note, The Palaver Tree is available now through March 31 for .99 cents on Kindle.Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00056]photo 3

Welcome, Wendy. I’ve so appreciated all your warm comments over the past year, and I’ve looked forward to having you be in the “hot seat” so we can all get to know you a little bit  better. Let’s start where I start most of these interviews. When were you first able to call yourself a ‘writer’ or an ‘author.’

Firstly, I would like to thank you for inviting me here today; I always enjoy this feature on your blog and am fascinated to learn what influences and ideas make other writers tick!

Through my life, I have always been a ‘scribbler’ of stories, poems and travelogues… anything really. I am a dedicated list-maker! For me, any experience or idea seems to engender a desire to ‘put it down on paper’ (often virtual paper, these days!) However, seeing my own book in print and online finally made me feel that I could call myself a writer.

I’m glad you enjoy these posts. Seeing a book in print does wonders for making it all real. How does your immediate family feel about your writing life?

I think they are proud of me. My husband, in particular, has been my great supporter, most especially in his recognition that I am actually ‘doing something’ when I may look far from it, glued to my screen or staring blankly into space! Oh, and he is a stalwart tea-maker.

That’s funny. My daughter can always tell when I’m eavesdropping on a nearby table at a restaurant. She says I get “that look.” Do you have any particular messages or themes  you try to convey to your readers?

In my novels, I like to focus on ordinary lives and then ask myself, “but what would happen to them if. . .?” In real life, extraordinary events, both good and bad, have a habit of crossing the paths of ordered lives. My interests lie in the strength and abilities ordinary people can summon to cope with the situations that they least expect to happen to them.
What am I trying to convey? That these inner qualities are there, and whether or not they ultimately lead to the outcome we would wish for, we have an incredible fortitude and the willingness to fight for what we believe is right and for those we hold dear.

My children’s titles are written for fun, no bones about it! My quirky, main character, Kellie Culpepper and her madcap family of explorers, witches and pets, which include a giant African snail and a dragon, have lots of unusual adventures. However, along with the laughs, I hope I convey the importance of strong family ties and of caring for the ones we love.

Those are all very noble messages. What are you working on these days?

At present I am writing the second book in my ‘Berriwood’ series. The book is entitled Beneathwood. I anticipate there will be four books in this series. Each book centres on the life of an individual resident of the Cornish village of Berriwood, living their quiet, country existence. Of course, it doesn’t stay that way for long!
In the first of the series, The Palaver Tree, the protagonist, Ellie Hathaway, finds herself far away in central Africa, volunteering at a remote school where daily existence operates on a knife’s edge and many things are not what they first seem. Ellie needs to push her wits and courage to the limits to survive.

In Book 2, Beneathwood (at present in the editing stage) has a more quietly sinister feel. Gordon Carroll has spent the first two years of his retirement renovating the old house that he inherited. He says it will make a wonderful home for himself and wife Beryl, and a roomy place for their daughter Olivia and her family to visit. But Olivia hates the old house and stubbornly refuses to say one good word about it. She urges her parents to sell and buy a nice, safe, village new-build. For once, Beryl Carroll is standing up for Gordon. She would do anything for her daughter but Beneathwood has been in the Carroll family for three generations; all that can’t be dismissed just because batty old Auntie Edith died there. Of course, as it turns out, it might have been a good idea to sell the house but I hope that I manage to keep the reader guessing about the real menace that hangs over the Carroll family with this story!

As a complete contrast, Kellie Culpepper is due for a new adventure at the end of April. This time her Aunt Kitty, who is also a ‘sometimes-cat’, goes missing.

You certainly have a broad expanse of writing genres. I look forward to reading Beneathwood. What’s the best thing said about one of your books by a reviewer?

I loved this, because it is entirely what I am trying to achieve in my writing: “The characters are cleverly drawn with flaws as well as strengths, which makes them more interesting, as well as realistic. The ending will leave you gasping and pondering the human condition.”

I am so thankful whenever someone takes the time to engage with me and others about my work. Thank you, again, for inviting me to your lovely blog today, and I would like to wish you and your readers a belated Happy New Year!

Thank you, Wendy. Happy New Year to you, too. I can tell you’re going to be very busy. I’m so glad you stopped by today.

photoAbout Wendy Unsworth: Wendy was born and raised in Lincolnshire, England. Her passions are her family, travel, beautiful gardens, and reading and writing stories. Wendy lived in Ndola, Zambia and Nairobi, Kenya throughout the 1980s and early ’90s before returning to the U.K. to acclimatise back to the English weather in a draughty Cornish cottage close to Bodmin Moor! Never one to let the grass grow under her feet, she is, at present, spending a year in Portugal.

Links to Goodreads:-

The Palaver Tree
Kellie at Come-alive Cottage
Danger at Come-alive Cottage

On Amazon:

The Palaver Tree
Kellie at Come-alive Cottage
Danger at Come-alive Cottage

Twitter @WendyUnsworth

Book Review Friday – Dying to Know

DyingToKnow-resizedChristina Carson writes important books with huge messages. After I read Suffer the Little Children, I thought about her deft portraits of human despair when a life is lived without connection to others.

Living a life in balance and without judgment recurs once again in Dying to Know. In this novel, Ms. Carson uses health as the vehicle for expressing her themes. She also examines the way we hide our true feelings in check, even from those closest to us. There are times when communication on the very basic and level playing field of childhood friendships doesn’t work unless both sides are willing to come forward with the masks removed.

Dying to Know showcases five friends who’ve been together since ten years of age. They’re now “thirty-somethings” and know very little about one another until the main character, Callie, explores her own mortality, and the way she views herself and the world around her.

Her call to conscious living brings discord to the group. Through their various reactions, Callie is able to assess her relationship with them. Three of them are annoyed and then angry with her decisions and acceptance of her dis-ease with herself. Most of them are narcissistic, but Callie doesn’t see this side of them until she begins questioning her view of the world. One of the members of the group, Sue, is unable to hear and accept Callie and in that closing down, Callie is able to walk away.

I read once that there are certain people who will pass through our lives for a specific reason, but they may not linger with us for life or any set time. They will pass out of our lives when the reasons for their presence disappears. This occurs in Dying to Know. Callie is in turmoil about Sue until she stops and examines her gut. Her gut tells her what is the right thing to do.

The setting of Vancouver, British Columbia, brought back fond memories of a few days spent in this lovely city. But Carson also goes deep into the landscape of Canada drawing pictures of a majestic natural world. Making the main character, a photographer and illustrator of inspirational books made for a perfect vehicle to express the messages in the book.

The group of childhood friends continues and expands as each member finds his and her own way to the truth. I bookmarked so many places in Dying to Know, it’s difficult to choose the most important one. The messages stayed with me after I put it down and remain etched in my brain days after finishing it.

The book reminded me of a way to live that incorporates living in balance with nature and the world swirling around me. We act from fear whenever we go into imagining what could happen or what could go wrong, leaving us immobilized to move forward.

Perhaps this statement from Dying to Know expresses the most important gift I received for reading this novel, “Judgment is the servant of fear; the heart of love has no interest in comparisons.”

See Christina’s guest post on Author Wednesday. She gives more insight into her writing choices.