The Silver Cord

By Alison Caiola

I invited author Alison Caiola to answer some interview questions, and am extremely happy to offer you this insight into her writing.  Thank you for joining us today, Alison.

The Silver CordWhat is the premise of The Silver Cord?

The Silver Cord is Book Two in The Lily Lockwood Series and takes place two years after Book One, The Seeds of a Daisy, ends. Popular actress, Lily Lockwood, is still reeling from her mother’s tragic car crash, but as the readers will see, Lily, now a mother, has grown immensely. She no longer is the same dependent young woman she was in The Seeds of a Daisy. Surrounded by her supportive and hilarious group of friends she is moving forward in her life; she appears self-confident, is a terrific mom, and, her career is on a bullet-speed trajectory. No one would guess that Lily is wracked with bouts of self-doubt and anxiety. She is also heartbroken that she has not heard from Robbie Rosen, a doctor she fell in love with two years prior, and is in Africa on a medical mission with Doctors Without Borders.

When Lily is informed that Robbie has been abducted by terrorists in Somalia, she must use her influence to gather a group of Ex CIA Agents and Navy SEAL’s, and with Lily in tow, they embark on rescue mission that turns into a heart-stopping race against time. Lily must accept the possibility that they may be too late to save Robbie’s life.

What aspect of writing a novel do you find tough, and which one do you find easy?  Why?

I find that at different times each facet of the creative process can be easy or challenging. Some days the words flow as if from a faucet. Then there are those times when the writing process is slow-going and I wonder if I will ever be able to write again. Then the faucet turns on again and I breathe a sigh of relief, and all is good with the world. Editing can be painful at times, but freeing at others. It may sound like a creative roller coaster and that’s because it is!

Did you know how The Silver Cord would end when you started writing?

I gave my son, JD Daniels, who is an actor and author, the first draft that had a totally different ending. One day I heard a resounding NOOOO from the other room when he was done. He thought my ending too harsh and felt it may be off-putting to my loyal readers. After thinking about it long and hard, and speaking to my agent, my closest confidantes, and colleagues, I decided to change the ending. I’m so glad that I did.

How did you choose the setting for The Silver Cord?  What kind of research did you have to do?  Why did you choose it?

I knew that The Silver Cord would be the book that would have Lily and Robbie, who were separated by unusual circumstances, trying to fight their way back to one another. Whether they succeed or not, well the reader will just have to read it to find out.

The facets of the book about the entertainment industry is an easy write for me, since I have been in that world for so many years. So that part I wrote from my first-hand experience. I have always been intrigued by The CIA and since we have all been affected, one way or another, by the horrors of terrorist activity, I wanted to write about it. I did intense research into Somalia and Mogadishu, where Robbie is on a medical mission, the terrorist group al Qaeda and the off-shoot terrorist group al Shabbab. I also researched and spoke with ex-Navy SEALs to ensure those aspects of the story were genuine and true-to-life.

Who designed your cover art? Why did you go with that particular artwork?Alison Caiola

When I was looking to re-do the cover of my first book, The Seeds of a Daisy, I had an idea as to what elements  I wanted on the cover but I was not sure how it would lay out or what it should look like. I knew I needed the right artist who I could collaborate with and who had mad skills. I was stumped until I realized that person was right under my nose. Eric Hutchison, a talented artist and my son, J.D., are collaborating on a comic book/graphic novel series. J.D. is authoring it and Eric is creating the art work.  I had seen Eric’s work and I was blown away. I approached him with the offer of designing and doing the cover art for the book. We collaborated and I was so impressed by his lack of ego and desire to “get it right.” That cover was amazing and has garnered so many positive comments and reviews, that it was a natural progression to turn to Eric when it was time to design the cover art for The Silver Cord.  I knew I wanted these themes: A silver cord that tied Lily’s and Robbie’s worlds together and also give it an Indiana Jones sort of feel. I believe that we accomplished that and I am very proud of it.

What advice would you give new writers?

I advise new writers first of all to write, write, write. It is important to set up a scheduled time every day where you know that come hell or high water you will be at that computer ready to write. I get my best story ideas while driving long distances or believe it or not, in the shower. I urge new writers to always keep a pen and paper or recorder close-by to capture all their thoughts, no matter how random. Also seek out or create a writer’s group of like-minded authors who have the same goal: Creating the best product and helping fellow authors do the same.

When you go on vacation, what sort of book do you take with you to read?

When I go on vacation I always have my Kindle stocked up with great murder mysteries, women’s novels and love stories.

What are you working on now?

Right now I am working on Book Three of The Lily Lockwood Series: The Family Bond which will be out in 2016. Of course all our favorite characters are back and bring with them emotional ups and downs of family relationships. There is also an Organized Crime Family/Mafia component which brings a whole other meaning to the title: The Family Bond.

 

My Review

The Silver Cord is book two of the Lily Lockwood Series. You can read my review of The Seeds of a Daisy, book one, here.

Lily it has been two years since Lily heard from Robbie, and he was supposed to be back from Somalia long ago. As she tries to put him out of her mind, her little daughter’s father steps back into her life.  Maybe they could make a go of it again.  But Lily is obsessed with her love for Robbie, convinced he is her only true love, her bashert.

Robbie, volunteering with Doctors Without Borders, is still in Somalia, captured, tortured, and beaten by Al-Shabaab, a faction of the terrorist group, Al Qaeda. For what purpose?  The only thing that helps him survive his misery is his memory of Lily. Can he turn his back on his oath to accommodate Al-Shabaab when to refuse will surely mean death?

When Lily learns of Robbie’s plight, she is determined to do everything she can to bring him back.  She enlists the help of her brother David and a retired CIA agent.  How much is she willing to sacrifice to get Robbie back?

This is a well-crafted story with references to the first book. Even with the references, I think it is best to read book one first to get the background for book two. In this character driven book, Caiola uses the voices of her characters to tell their own stories and, by doing so, brings more emotion and believability to the story.

I didn’t like The Silver Cord as much as the first book.  For my personal taste, there was too much darkness with the detail of Robbie’s capture and imprisonment.  It was at times, a struggle for me to continue reading.

What I did like. Caiola did a wonderful job relating Lily’s desire to provide a real family for her daughter so that Daisy Rose would grow up knowing her father was a part of her life, unlike Lily’s father. Her inner conflict of whether or not to go back to her ex-boyfriend in order to provide the ideal family for Daisy Rose, or follow her heart and find Robbie, kept me reading.

Assigning a rating to a book is subjective, and the one thing I despise about reviewing a book. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and many other sites require a rating, but I don’t feel that a certain number of stars really means anything; it is what people have to say about the book that influences me.  With these thoughts in mind, I will give The Silver Cord four and a half stars.

 

The Lily Lockwood Series:  The Seeds of a Daisy, The Silver Cord 

Purchase: amazon.com/author/alisoncaiola

Webpage: www.alisoncaiola.com

Facebook Author Page: facebook.com/alisoncaiolaauthor

Twitter: twitter@AlisonMCaiola

Instagram: alisonwrites

Google +: https://google.com/+AlisonCaiolaAuthor/

First Post Challenge

Colleen of Silver Threading challenged me to bring back my first blog post.  Since that first post, I have learned a great deal about blogging and writing.  Most important to me though, are the many friendships I have made along the way.

Here are the rules:

  • Copy-paste, link, pingback or whatever way you want to, your first post.
  • State what type of post that was. G. Introduction, Story, Poem
  • Explain why that was your first post.
  • Nominate 5 other bloggers. Five because I know the pain of opening a lot of tabs at once.

 

My five nominees are:

Booknvolume

Colline’s Blog

Between the Lines

A Woman’s Wisdom

Stephanie’s Book Reviews

 

I started blogging on June 6, 2013. My first post was a book review with an introduction to the reason I was starting a blog.  Later, I removed the introduction and made it part of my About page.  Here is that original post.

I am a reader, not a writer.  So why am I blogging?

I am a reader, and this blog is about sharing the books I love whether romance, historic fiction, chick lit, biography, memoir, fantasy, classic, contemporary fiction, or even an occasional children’s book.  What I will never read are thrillers (I even hid behind a pillow during JURASSIC PARK). This blog is a place to talk about current reads, and many of the wonderful books I’ve read over the years, as well. I invite your comments and recommendations, and hope that you will find this a place to return to often.

 

Let’s talk about books.apple_orchard

Recently I read Susan Wiggs’ THE APPLE ORCHARD. Wiggs’ main character, Tess Delaney, considers her life well planned out – she is up for a substantial promotion, has great friends, an apartment she enjoys – everything, except the closeness of family.  Tess’s mother Shannon traveled while her grandmother raised her; her father was never a part of her life, in fact, she knew nothing about him. As a result, Tess, like all the women in her family before her, felt she didn’t need a permanent relationship with a man. Then one morning when she had a very important meeting scheduled with her boss to discuss her promotion, her life changed forever in ways she could not have imagined when Dominic Rossi, an attorney for the grandfather she didn’t know she had, showed up in her office. Rossi informed Tess that her grandfather Magnus Johansen was in a coma and she had been named in his will and needed to come back with him to Archangel, a small town in the Sonoma country. This was the beginning of a journey filled with many unanswered questions and Tess didn’t want any interruptions in her life. She certainly wasn’t interested in traipsing off with a strange man to her grandfather’s orchard when she had such a rewarding job in San Francisco.

Tess is confronted with many unsettling issues after she arrives in Archangel, but she doesn’t want to stay to sort through them. However, as each day goes by, she is more drawn to the life and family she discovered there. There is also Dominic Rossi who keeps turning up, but Tess definitely doesn’t need a relationship and a ready-made family to alter her life. Will she stay or return to her former life?

Wigg’s characters were extremely well developed and the plot had many twists and turns to keep me turning the pages.  Long after I finished the last page, my mind wandered back to Archangel, Tess, and the other characters. I highly recommend this book.

How Important is Reading to Children’s Brain Development?

macjam47:

Janice Spina, children’s book author gives some valid reasons for reading to children from an early age, and some fun activities you can do while reading.

Originally posted on jemsbooks:

jjs books

How important is reading to children’s brain development? I recently read an article by two doctors, Dr. Mehmet Oz & Dr. Michal Roizen, in my local newspaper that stated that ‘Reading is brain food for kids.’  Google this interesting article by these two prominent doctors.

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In my opinion reading to young children has proven to be beneficial not only in helping them read by the time they start school but also in helping them with their speech and language skills. Reading to your children from birth on will provide a valuable bonding experience for both of you. You will find that your children will want to spend time with you and will share more of themselves with you later on.

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Once your children learn to read let them read to you. It will give them confidence and help them learn pronunciations of words and inflection of the storyline. It is also fun to…

View original 171 more words

More Children’s Books by Janice Spina

Children’s Books by Janice Spina

I love reading children’s books, and these two books by children’s author Janice Spina are superb.  If you have little ones in your life, or beginning readers, these books are the perfect stories to attract their interest, and yours. While about cute little animals, Spina weaves important lessons into her stories.

I can’t talk about her books without mentioning Janice Spina’s husband John Spina, who so beautifully illustrates the books with colorful drawings that tell her stories through delightful artwork.

 

Jesse The Precocious Polar Bear

Jesse the Precocious Polar BearSynopsis from the Book

Jesse is a precocious and very intelligent polar bear. He likes to learn about everything except what polar bears are supposed to know. Jesse has some surprising adventures and learns an import lesson.

My Review

Jesse wants a friend. Jesse doesn’t do what little polar bears are supposed to do.  While not minding his mother, Jesse gets into trouble and is saved by an unlikely friend.  This adorable story emphasizes not only the need to follow instructions, but also how to be a loyal friend.  The author’s husband delightfully illustrated this adorable storybook. It is sure to keep any young child entertained while teaching valuable lessons.

 

Lamby The Lonely Lamb

Synopsis from the BookLamby the Lonely Lamb

Lamby is a very different lamb because of his color. He is lonely and only wants to be accepted by the other lambs. Find out what lesson Lamby learns when a little girl, Leah, comes to the farm where Lamby lives.

Lamby the Lonely Lamb received the Silver Award for excellence in Children’s Picture Books from Mom’s Choice Awards.

My Review

Lamby fell into a vat of purple dye and was purple from head to toe.  The other lambs didn’t want to play with Lamby because he was different.  Lamby gets his wish to be accepted for who he is, not for the way he looks, a valuable message for young children.

Lamby the Lonely Lamb is a delightfully written and illustrated picture book for the young reader.  The author wrote it for her granddaughter Leah who has her own Lamby.

Janice SpinaAbout the Author

Janice Spina is an award-winning author with eight children’s books and one novel. She has been writing since a young child of nine and always dreamed of being an author. Her dream was realized once she retired from an administrative secretarial position in a school. Her goal is to encourage children to read by writing stories that are fun, entertaining and that reinforce life lessons. Her motto is Reading Gives Your Wings to Fly! Her slogan is Jemsbooks for All Ages!

 

Visit Janice Spina

Website – Jemsbooks

Blog

Goodreads

Facebook Author Page

Twitter

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Buy Books

 Janice’s Amazon Page

 Barnes & Noble 

To read my review of Janice Spina’s Louey the Lazy Elephant click here.

 

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog, click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-june-2015/

Butterfly Barn

By Karen Power

Butterfly Barn by Karen Power - Front Book Cover - (2014)Book Blurb

Three women, two continents, one dream

Grace Fitzgerald is about to sign a contract with an American cruise corporation to bring cruise liners into the idyllic coastal town of Bayrush, in Ireland. But her fiancé, Dirk, doesn’t seem to grasp just how important the business is to her. On her way through Dublin Airport, Grace catches a glimpse of Jack Leslie, her first love. He’s married now but he still has the power to turn her knees to jelly. Grace is about to make the biggest decision of her life. Will it be the right one?

Jessie McGrath is happily married to Geoff, and together they run a small equestrian centre on the outskirts of Bayrush. Jessie is finally pregnant with her second child, and life couldn’t be better. Will their dreams come true or will they fall to pieces?

Sophia Wynthrope can’t escape the emptiness of widowhood. After thirty-five years of marriage, New York holds too many memories of her treasured husband. Is she chasing foolish dreams by travelling to Ireland, or can she possibly find the peace she craves in a place called Bayrush.

An unexpected encounter will spark a chain of events that will entwine their lives forever…

  • Contemporary Women’s Fiction
  • Self-published – Comeragh Publishing
  • Book One of the series

 

My Review

Karen Power’s debut novel is a heartwarming story about friendships, family ties, love, loss, and forgiveness. Most of the story takes place in a small coastal town of Bayrush in County Waterford, Ireland.

Grace Fitzgerald has been dating Dirk for three years and he desperately wants to set a date for their wedding.  Grace is holding back, and finally gives in. She can’t seem to be excited about her forthcoming wedding, and wonders if Dirk is truly the one.  She still feels a connection with Jack Leslie, the guy she met twenty years ago.

Jessie is Grace’s best friend and is happily married to Geoff McGrath. Together they run a small equestrian center near Bayrush.  They have a young son Sam, but want more children.  Jessie is pregnant and after a scan Jessie and Geoff learn there is not one baby, but twin boys.  A reason for joy, which is soon dashed as the doctor explains Jessie’s pregnancy is a hydropic pregnancy, and there is a chance she won’t be able to carry the boys to term.

Sophia Wynthrope, a wealthy magazine publisher has recently lost her husband of thirty-five years.  She is struggling with the emptiness she feels since his death, and on a chance meeting with Grace on a plane to New York, decides to return to Ireland to the town of Bayrush, and her newfound friend.

The three characters Grace, Jessie, and Sophia have different problems to work through, but they find their support and friendship with each other provides the impetus to endure.  There is a huge supporting cast of characters, including Dirk, Jack, Geoff, Grace’s sister Kate, and many others, all very likeable and true to life.

The weaving of this many characters into a coherent story is a challenge for any author, but especially so for a debut author.  The author carried it off without faltering and developed a storyline that entwines fact with fiction to create a book you won’t want to end.  Butterfly Barn touched me deeply, especially Jessie’s story.

I won’t go into any more detail about the plot and characters for fear of giving too much of the story away.  It is a beautiful and heartwarming story that is bound to keep your interest throughout.  I hope you will choose to read it. I heartily recommend Butterfly Barn to all readers of contemporary women’s fiction.

I give Butterfly Barn 5 stars.

Butterfly Barn was given to me by the author in exchange for my honest review.

About the AuthorKaren Power (Butterfly Barn) - (2014)

Just to tell you a little about me. I live on a farm in County Waterford, with my husband, two children and our nutty Springer Spaniel called Sam.

I spent many years working in the travel industry where I had many fantastic experiences. For example, little did I know that I would use my boss’s idea to bring cruise liners into Ireland to be the career choice of my lead character, Grace Fitzgerald. That’s the beauty of fiction. People can do and be whoever they want.

Currently, I tutor in adult education delivering a range of modules such as communications, tourism, and personal effectiveness.  My big passion is my work as a voluntary literacy tutor. I truly believe that every person should have the opportunity to read. As a teenager, I travelled the world from the sofa in my living room, immersed in the world of books.

Now I’m embarking on a new adventure into the world of writing by releasing the first novel from the Butterfly Barn Series.

Karen Power can be found at the following links.

Webpage – http://www.karenpowerauthor.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/kpowerauthor

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/irishbutterflybarn?fref=ts

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/106353349118481109015/posts

To buy Butterfly Barn

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

The Faerie Tree

By Jane Cable

 

The Faerie TreeCover Blurb

How can a memory so vivid be wrong?

In the summer of 1986 Izzie and Robin hold hands around the Faerie Tree on the banks of the River Hamble and wish for a future together, but just hours later tragedy strikes and they do not see each other again for twenty years.

In the winter of 2006 Izzie spots a down and out on the streets of Winchester – a man who looks very familiar…

     The Faerie Tree pieces together Robin’s and Izzie’s stories and the people they have now become, but it becomes increasingly clear that their memories of twenty years before are completely different. Whose version of the past is right? And what part does the Faerie Tree play in their story?

Following on from the success of The Cheesemaker’s House, Jane Cable once again mixes mystery and romance with a sprinkling of folklore to keep you turning the pages from beginning to end.

 

My Review

In 1986 Izzie and Robin meet, and are drawn to the Faerie Tree on the banks of the Hamble.  The Faerie Tree is reputed to grant wishes, so amongst the ribbons, necklaces, and letters, Robin and Izzie wish for a life together.  Just a few hours later, tragedy sets events in motion and their lives take separate paths.

In the winter of 2006, after Izzie’s husband dies, Izzie and Robin’s paths cross once again.  They have each faced their own heartbreaking moments, and the tragedies of those moments have colored their memories of their last days together in different ways.

Izzie’s daughter Claire is the voice of calm in the rising tide of emotional outbursts.

This is a story of family relationships, love, and loss. A powerful telling of the events that shaped the lives of the characters, the story unfolds with sensitivity and warmth.

Author Jane Cable developed believable characters that are flawed and anguished, and yet ultimately strong and determined to get beyond their pasts and accept the love each has for the other.

The Faerie Tree was an enjoyable read from page one to the end. Once I started it, I had a hard time putting it down. I recommend it to all fans of women’s contemporary fiction.

Why The Faerie Tree? You’ll have to read to find out.

A copy of The Faerie Tree was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

Published through Matador, the book is available in all e-book formats and as a paperback.Jane Cable

Publication date for the ebook was March 21st and the paperback on April 28th

It is 300 pages long

The genre is women’s contemporary fiction (romance/suspense)

 

Authors Website

Jane Cable

Jane Cable Website photo

Social Media

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Buy The Faerie Tree

Amazon US

Amazon Canada

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

Matador (Troubador)

A CRY FROM THE DEEP

By Diana Stevan

 

A Cry From the DeepAbout The Book

Despite a near death diving accident years before, Catherine Fitzgerald, an underwater photographer, embarks on a journey to cover the find of the century, one of the lost ships from the Spanish Armada. But before she goes, she buys an antique ring that triggers nightmares and visions of a young woman searching for someone on an old sailing ship caught in a storm. When Catherine sets out to discover the young woman’s identity, she discovers a connection that will change her life forever.

A CRY FROM THE DEEP is a romantic adventure novel, set in Provence, Manhattan and Ireland. Interwoven with this story of love and loss is the drama that takes place in our oceans, where salvagers continue to wreak havoc on the environment and steal cultural treasures. It’s also about fate and the mystery of how we find love and how it finds us.

 My Review

I didn’t know what to expect of A CRY FROM THE DEEP, but soon found I was immersed in a mind-tingling mystery of two different times.  One event occurred in 1878 off the coast of Killybegs, Donegal Bay, Ireland, when Margaret O’Donnell married James Gallagher after his cargo ship the Alice O’Meary returned from India.  Her father gave Margaret her mother’s wedding band to wear.

Fast forward to 2010 in Provence, France.  Catherine Fitzgerald was working in her lavender fields when she received a phone call from her old boss.  He was offering her the opportunity to come back to work as an underwater photographer at National Geographic. She would have to return to New York so her ex-husband could look after their daughter while she photographed the deep-sea dive of an ill-reputed treasure hunter. Her job was to photograph everything during dives and to make sure all recovered items were recorded as required by law.  It was a dangerous job, and she hadn’t been back in the water since she had nearly drowned on another job several years before.

Once in New York, Catherine, with her ex-husband Richard and their daughter Alex toured a street market where Catherine purchased a peculiar gold ring.  Was this ring responsible for the nightmares she started having?

Catherine was to work alongside Daniel Costello, a nautical archeologist, who was a very experienced diver and would ease Catherine back into the deep. Daniel was engaged to be married after the salvage project.

Was there a connection between the event of 1878 and Catherine in 2010?  You’ll just have to read to find out.  No spoilers here.

Stevan created characters and a story that kept me in my chair all day reading A CRY FROM THE DEEP from beginning to end.  The amount of material she researched is mind boggling, but her diligence resulted in a believable story with characters so well developed, I had no trouble visualizing any of them. Before long, I felt I knew everyone personally, and was deeply engrossed in one of the most fascinating tales I’ve ever read.  This book absolutely merits 5 stars.

 About the Author

Diana Stevan

Diana Stevan took many detours to get to the writing phase of her life. After marrying at 19, she received a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics and a Master of Social Work, both with honors, from the University of Manitoba. She moved to B.C. in 1979 with her husband and two children. As a clinical social worker, Diana spent over twenty-five years in the field, working in a variety of settings—psychiatric, child guidance, cancer agency, and private practice.

She’s also worked as a teacher, professional model, actress and a sports writer-broadcaster for CBC television. Writing has been her passion, even though it was relegated to the back seat while her children were young. She’s published fitness and travel articles for newspapers, poetry in the U.K. journal, DREAMCATCHER and a short story in ESCAPE, an anthology published by Peregrin.

Diana has traveled widely and uses her experience to color her stories.

A CRY FROM THE DEEP is her debut novel. She now lives with her husband on Vancouver Island, in beautiful British Columbia.

You can visit her on her website and social media:

http://www.dianastevan.com

https://www.facebook.com/dianastevan.author

https://twitter.com/DianaStevan

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8420679.Diana_Stevan

Chapter Three

It was as if she’d never left. Driving over the Queensboro Bridge with Alex and Richard in his BMW, Catherine feasted on the Manhattan skyline. Even though the absence of the twin towers brought tears to her eyes, the majestic spires of the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings still stirred her like no other buildings could.

Richard glanced at her. “It still haunts, doesn’t it?”

She nodded as she looked again at where the towers once stood. She said nothing more until they’d crossed the bridge and a man yelling at another man on the street got her attention. “Are you still dealing with some of those patients you took on back then?”

“A few are still coming.” He pursed his lips. “I wasn’t much fun, was I?”

She shrugged. “It wasn’t a fun time.” Richard’s sadness over his patients’ misfortunes had crept into their relationship. Like a fog that showed no signs of letting up, a pall had settled over their union, to the point where even lovemaking became a chore. She couldn’t remember when they’d stopped doing it altogether. Instead of sex, they had each gone to bed with a book, as if reading would squash any desire.

They rode the next few blocks in silence. The rush of cars and pedestrians on East 60th and Park Avenue reminded Catherine of a Pollock painting with its kinetic frenzy and streaks of every color. The yellow cabs and street vendors brought back more memories. She remembered the times they had tramped across town to Greenwich Village to hear some jazz musician, or to an art gallery that had sprung up overnight in Chelsea. They’d had their happy moments.

But after her scuba diving accident, everything had changed. She got depressed, and Richard, being a psychiatrist, started treating her like a patient. And even when she decided to see a therapist, he couldn’t keep his hands off. He called her shrink periodically to give his unsolicited opinion until Catherine found out and insisted he stop. That only added to the strain between them. By that time, she was pregnant.

Catherine looked over at Richard. He was focused on driving. He was still a handsome man with his prematurely silver hair and soft blue eyes. And when he smiled, his face shone in a way that made her wonder why she’d ever left. Perhaps they were too much alike. They both needed to be in charge. One thing, though. They had their differences, but they never fought. Instead, they had drifted apart, each trapped in a bubble. It had been no surprise that their divorce turned out to be an amicable one. Richard hated scenes and because of Alex, Catherine was forever grateful.

They had stopped at a light. She said, “How’s the rest of your practice? Still turning heads inside out?”

“Not much has changed. I’ve got the usual assortment of the too thin, too rich, and too…” He glanced back at Alex, whose face was pressed against the side window. “Too forked.”

Catherine said wryly, “Forked?”

“You know what I mean.”

Alex groaned and gave her mother an oh, brother look. Catherine couldn’t help smiling. Alex was at the age where you couldn’t get much past her.

It was too bad she and Richard couldn’t have made it. Especially for Alex’s sake. When Richard had showed up at arrivals to greet them, Alex had run to him shrieking with delight.

He had swung her around and said, “Look at your legs! You’re getting so tall.”

Catherine always got a lump in her throat at these times. She still blamed herself for dragging their daughter so far away. When he had put Alex down, she and Richard had hugged awkwardly, as if they’d never hugged one another before. It was strange how intimate they’d once been. That alone made her wary of any future attachment. You love someone one day, and the next, you’re both strangers.

As they drove on, she was glad that Alex—after taking a recess—was back at entertaining her father with tales of Disney World. Her incessant chattering left little room for small talk or any uncomfortable silence.

Richard turned on to Central Park West, where the traffic had slowed to a crawl. Up ahead, there seemed to be an accident. It was bumper to bumper as one driver after the other swiveled to find an opening. They inched forward. It seemed to take forever before Richard was able to turn left at West 75th Street and then right on Columbus Avenue. It was still slow, but better slow than stuck in the midst of steaming New Yorkers. On the other side of the road, an outdoor flea market, one city block long, was in full swing.

Alex rolled down her window. “Mama, can we stop, please, please, please?”

“Oh, Alex,” said Catherine. It’d been hectic since they’d left Provence and the last thing she wanted was a stop at a crowded marketplace.

“Well…?” asked Richard. “You better make up your minds fast.”

Catherine threw up her hands. Parking was always a headache. “Suit yourself.”

Richard gamely looked for a spot. He could never say no to Alex.

“Looks like you’re going to get your wish,” said Catherine.

“How about I drop you both off, and I’ll come and find you?”

Catherine scanned the throngs weaving past the various stalls and spotted a canopy with lettering: Hats by Helene. She checked her watch and then pointed at the sign. “How about we meet at eleven by that hat table?” Maybe the market wouldn’t be so bad. She could always use another hat.

 ~~~

Catherine and Alex had walked the entire circuit—of antiques, homemade foods, and old photographs of once-famous stars­—before Richard caught up with them at the hat table. Catherine was trying to decide whether to buy a black wool one with a brim and a braided ribbon around the crown. It reminded her of the hat Diane Keaton wore in that Woody Allen picture decades ago. Some things never went out of style.

“Looks good on you.” He smiled approvingly.

“It does, Mama.”

Catherine checked her image in the hand mirror on the table. She liked what she saw and pulled her wallet out from her bag.

Richard took out a roll of bills from his pants pocket. “Let me get it for you.”

“Absolutely not.”

“It’s only a hat, Catherine.”

She hesitated and then said, “If you’re sure.” She grinned as he paid the seller. “Thanks. You’ve always been generous.”

“You’re welcome.” Richard put a hand on Alex’s shoulder. “What about you, cookie? Did you find anything?”

“Yes.” Alex opened a plastic bag she was holding and took out a small stuffed blue and yellow rabbit with a white bow on each ear. “She’s my lucky rabbit foot.”

Richard and Catherine laughed as Alex hopped around holding up her new purchase. Is this what it would’ve been like had she stayed? Would they be this perfect family?

Richard looked at her as if he was thinking the same thing. But maybe the thought was too dangerous, because he said nothing and turned away.

Alex stopped hopping by a booth featuring antique jewelry. She fingered some bracelets and then settled on a blue suede jewelry case with a twirling ballerina inside. Richard came up behind her to see the tiny plastic dancer spin slowly to one of the pieces from The Nutcracker. “Can you make her go faster, Papa?”

While Richard attended to Alex, Catherine admired a display of rings on a black velvet cloth on the same table. The bands were the usual sterling silver, some carved, and some set with turquoise, black onyx, or malachite stones. She tried on several, but nothing seemed special. The vendor, a woman with frizzy, red hair partly covered by a paisley scarf, watched Catherine for a few moments before bending under the table. She brought up a small wooden box and opened it, revealing a slightly tarnished gold ring.

Fascinated by the design—two hands holding a heart—Catherine tried the ring on her right hand. It slid on easily with no room to spare.

“This is nice, huh?” Catherine said to Alex.

“Oh, that’s so cute!”

The redheaded vendor tucked her hair behind her ear. “It’s a Claddagh ring. Very old Irish wedding ring. More than a hundred years old.”

Catherine raised her hand, allowing the sunlight to bathe her fingers. The heart with the crown on top glistened in the light.

“Why don’t you buy it, Mama? It’s so pretty.”

“It’s a wedding ring, Alex. I don’t need a wedding ring.”

The vendor said, “You can buy it for good luck. Everyone needs good luck.”

“But it’s not a good luck ring.”

Alex looked closer at it. “Maybe it is, Mama. I have my rabbit’s foot. You can have a ring.”

Catherine took the gold ring off, and examined the inside of it. There was some kind of hallmark, followed by numbers that were too small to make out. She put it back on the velvet cloth and looked at the others, but her attention kept coming back to the Irish ring. “Can I ask you where you got it?’

The vendor shrugged. “In an estate sale. The guy who died was an Irish immigrant. A fisherman. He apparently found it in a large cod caught off the coast of Ireland.”

“In a fish?”

“That’s what the seller said.”

“Strange.”

Alex screwed up her face in distaste. “Ooo. The fish ate it? Does it still smell?”

Catherine laughed and put the ring up to Alex’s nose.

“It doesn’t,” said Alex, wide-eyed.

Catherine said, “It’s a beautiful ring. How much is it?”

“One hundred and fifty dollars. You won’t find another one like it. It’s a genuine antique. You’re lucky, it already fits. You won’t have to have it sized.”

Richard turned to Catherine. “Do you need another ring?”

She hated when he used that tone. As if she were a child. It was her own fault. She shouldn’t have asked for his opinion. She glanced down at her finger again. “I’ll take it.”

The vendor got a small paper bag from under the table, but Catherine had already slipped the ring on. “It’s okay. I’ll wear it.” She figured she could use some luck.

 

Self-published

Printed by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Charleston, South Carolina.

Distributed by Ingram Book Company

ISBN:     eBook          1-4975-36634

              Paperback   978-1-4975-36630

CIP data on file with The National Library of Canada

Release Date:  October 15, 2014

378 pages

BISAC FIC027000

Now available on Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon UK, Kindle, Coho Books, Campbell River, Chapters-Indigo, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Nook, and Google Books

An e-copy of A CRY FROM THE DEEP was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

What If Summer Never Arrives?

macjam47:

With spring jumping right into summer, and summer falling back into wintry weather (or perhaps, jumping ahead to fall), I had to share this post by Hugh Roberts.

Originally posted on Hugh's Views & News:

Summer hadn’t turned up in the Northern Hemisphere and Spring was not very amused.

“Where on earth is she?” asked Mother Nature.

“I don’t know, mother, but I am not best pleased.  I am so very tired and need to rest before I make my way to the Southern Hemisphere” replied Spring.

“Have you seen your sister?” Mother Nature asked her third daughter, Autumn.

“Oh mother, give me a chance, I’ve been on duty in the Southern Hemisphere for the last three months and Winter wanted a quick catch up with me before she’d allow me back home. She may be the youngest of your children but she is far too bossy” replied Autumn.

“I just hope she hasn’t met up with the Gemini twins” said Mother Nature with a concerned look on her face, “those boys are nothing but trouble.  Not even their father, Zeus, can keep control of…

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English Pronunciation – a Poem

macjam47:

If you find learning another language to be daunting, try learning English.

Originally posted on Nicholas C. Rossis:

I found this on Tickld and just had to share! According to the original post, if you can pronounce correctly every word in this poem, you will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world. And, after trying the verses, a Frenchman said he’d prefer six months of hard labor to reading six lines aloud…

This Greek gave up somewhere along two thirds into it :)

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Given up yet? Why not read my award-winning children’s book, Runaway Smile for free instead?

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Battling Piracy of Your Books and Stealing Royalties

macjam47:

Authors and bloggers please check out Anastacia Moore’s very important post about book piracy. Bloggers make sure the books you’re reading are not pirated.

Originally posted on anastaciamoore:

Pirares This is a warning to ALL authors out there, whether you are traditionally or self published. BEWARE of unscrupulous people pirating your hard work and stealing your well deserved royalties by stealing your books and e-pubs and turning around and hawking them on such sites as EBay, Youtube and other sites.

As I was meandering around the internet the other night I happened to look at my own book trailers on You Tube to see how they were fairing. Much to my chagrin under the title “Curse of The Salute” I saw where someone was advertising on You Tube a link to my and other e-pubs for people to go there and receive copies of said books. Needles to say I was quite UPSET.

A little further research, by googling titles of my books revealed on google other sites such as EBay and other links offering not only printed versions…

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