Friday, November 9, 2012

His last request...

Don't bury me 'neath

The cold dark ground

Imprisoned in a box.

Release me with

A roaring blaze.

Burn through my earthly locks.

Then climb atop

The highest cliff.

Turn and face the sea.

Close your eyes.

Feel the kiss of the wind.

Know that it is me. 

Stories come to me in bits of dialogue. My hero sensed his fate and scribbled this last request to the one he held dear. But if my hero dies, the story ends. Or does it? Maybe death is just the beginning…

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Power of Words...

 Please join me in welcoming the very talented Andrea Downing. She’s discussing a very powerful subject.


I just returned home from two conferences, back to back, where I finally met a great many fellow authors with whom I had only previously corresponded.  In some cases, they had been nothing more than the words in an email, since looking at every author's FB page or web site proved too time consuming. Yet friendships had been made via the power of 
; unlike potential lovers, it never proved necessary to see a person's appearance in order to like them (not in the Facebook sense!) and want to continue corresponding with them.  Big, small, dark, light, no matter the size of their nose or ears, if a friendship had been made via the correspondence, it continued in person with a connection that could not be broken.  We know that words are powerful.  We know that words have swayed voters, manipulated nations and seduced the opposite sex or reduced them to tears. So why shouldn't words make good old-fashioned friendships that last?

Yet language is not an easy art to learn.  On the news tonight, there was a feature about a seven-year-old musical prodigy who rivals Mozart.  After listening to the interview I realized that we often hear of child geniuses who excel in music or paint like Da Vinci yet never do we hear—to my knowledge—of a child who writes like Shakespeare or is, at some tender age, the next Dickens, Austen or Twain.  My own daughter spat out, "Thank you Mommy and Daddy for the delicious Chinese meal" at the ripe old age of two yet never went on at five to write anything that rivaled a Bronte.  So what is it about the art of language that takes years to master?

Experience is the attribute that comes to mind.  Vocabulary is nothing more than learning the notes and their permutations but experience teaches us how to charm or how to hurt, how to dispute and argue, how to persuade or convert, how to lie, deny and invent.  Ah:  invent!  Experience goes hand in hand with IMAGINATION.

The experience of studying, learning, reading and life itself feeds our imagination so that we eventually can tell stories and write.  And whether it's an email that is telling some person whom you've never met the minutiae of your day in humorous detail, or laying out for the unknown reader the glories of an historical figure or a make-believe character, language and writing remain our main connection to each other.  Yes, even in this digital cyber age, we are still connecting via language.

While John Lennon once said, “When you're drowning you don't think, I would be incredibly pleased if someone would notice I'm drowning and come and rescue me. You just scream,”  I’d like to think that the man who wrote ‘Imagine’ and ‘Give Peace a Chance’ was highly aware of the power of words.  While his scream might be a reaction, it would be words that expressed what he felt about the possibility of drowning. Just as I felt the connection with my fellow authors whom I had never met, but it was words that finally connected us. 


When Lady Alexandra Calthorpe returns to the Loveland, Colorado, ranch owned by her father, the Duke, she has little idea of how the experience will alter her future. Headstrong and willful, Alex tries to overcome a disastrous marriage in England and be free of the strictures of Victorian society --and become independent of men. That is, until Jesse Makepeace saunters back into her life...

Hot-tempered and hot-blooded cowpuncher Jesse Makepeace can’t seem to accept that the child he once knew is now the ravishing yet determined woman before him. Fighting rustlers proves a whole lot easier than fighting Alex when he’s got to keep more than his temper under control.

Arguments abound as Alex pursues her career as an artist and Jesse faces the prejudice of the English social order. The question is, will Loveland live up to its name?

He watched as she sat on a stool and pulled first one boot, then the other off and kicked them aside, then she stood and put her leg on the stool to roll down her stockings one by one.

He marveled at her wantonness, her lack of propriety. “Alex, stop,” he said, laying his hand on hers. “Stop. You know…”

But he was lost; she took his face in her hands and pulled him to her, kissing him so any resistance he had had was now shattered. His heart was beating faster at the sweetness of her mouth, the softness of her tongue, the lack of air as they sought each other. His hands moved over her feeling the outline of her body, knowing its curves, its gentleness, its yielding. “Are you sure?” he asked at last.

“I want you so much, Jesse, I want you so much, I’m not waiting three years. And if…if anything happens, so what? We’ll get married, that’ll be it.”

“Yes, but Alex, you can’t…I mean it’d be a shotgun wedding, it’s not how—”

“Shh.” She put her finger to his mouth and then turned for him to unhook her gown. He ran his hands gently down her exposed back, feeling each scar, then kissed her neck.

“You have nothing on under...”

“It’s how the gown is made. Monsieur Worth builds the undergarments into the gown.” Her voice was at barely a whisper, a tremor showing her nerves. She turned and still held the gown up to her, then, looking at Jesse, let it drop to the floor.

Andrea Downing emigrated to the UK from New York in order to do her Masters Degree.  She ended up marrying, raising a beautiful daughter and staying for longer than she cares to admit.  Teaching, editing a poetry magazine and a short stint in Nigeria filled those years until in 2008 she returned to NYC.  She now divides her time between the city and the shore and often trades the canyons of New York for the open spaces of the west—and writes incessantly.

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