All my life, I was a writer poised on the precipice before letting go of the Zip Line and slipping from writer into author. Finally, with the encouragement of a dear friend, I “got writing.”
“Romance sells!” They told me. The journey between writer and author is a long cinder trail of mishaps and missteps. While on that uncertain path, I wrote about writing. When I learned something important, I shared it. Later I branched out to favorite and familiar subjects such as nursing home abuse, hospice, and after a search for my birth mother, adoption.
My issues of fraud, longing, humor, and more “natural” issues such as card playing and travel while observing senior citizens combined to jell my Brand.
Daughters of the Sea, (2013) is a romance based on the legends of the South Pacific. Legends make good blurbs describing visual scenes without disorienting the readers.
Daughters of the Sea's legend of the coconut as told over dinner by contemporary hero, Ian Christopher, to contemporary heroine, Laura Cates.
“Oh, you know, the old love conquers all stories.” Ian hunched closer.
“One told of how the coconut palm came to be. Are you sure you want to hear it? It’s fantasy.”
“I love fantasy.”
“Well, okay. It seems long ago when the island was bare of tall trees an eel from the sea fell in love with the Goddess of Earth. They met each day on the shore, to make love. Soon they came to realize they were not suited. She couldn’t live in the sea and he couldn’t survive on land.
“One day, as a show of his love, he climbed all the way to the top of her mountain. He was dying and asked her to cut off his head and plant it. ‘From my head will grow a tall tree reaching toward heaven. The tree will bear fruit. Inside the fruit will be a sweet liquid to remind you of the sweet kisses we have shared. The face of the fruit will be my face. Then I will be with you always.’”
In January, Morning After Midnight (2014) family dynamics, one of a shattered white southern family contrasts with our hero’s relatively upwardly mobile black friend in the midst of social unrest.
Usually titles fall trippingly from my pen, but my most recent work for MuseItUp was bereft of a title. Brainstorming was my only solution. I needed a way to encapsulate the story in a zippy title—something that expresses friendship and mature love. Picking a title is like picking a cover. It’s a form of poetry in imagery and emotion.
This southern story, Morning After Midnight, conjures up visions of magnolias and humidity, conflict and soft speech. Add a difficult family dynamic and you have the essence.
The dysfunction in my families is reversed. Skillet, named after a martyred saint, is from a traditional family: hard-working father and mother, only child, and a pretty good student. His friend is our hero, Aaron. It’s his story. Aaron is from a messed up, convoluted and confusing set of circumstances. The boys’ proximity, as so many were in the South, was shaken asunder once they entered school —separately. The emerging relationship overcomes social stigma during the 1960s on through 1996 when the two young men, one white, one black, emerge into the light of acceptance.
To find a title, I kept thinking of the song, “Walking After Midnight”. The two young men’s world was dangerous for either to walk in the dark, but the music has a poky kind of rhythm I liked. A new age was dawning. “There’s Got to be a Morning After” came to mind. Both young men find their place and their true loves years after many have settled down to boredom. By combining the two images, the book became Morning After Midnight.
Unsettled times and dysfunctional families force young lovers to rethink their values and find love between the States.
Two boys, Aaron who is white and Skillet who is black are bonded in a friendship forged in secret in the deep South. Yet it is the white boy, who must adjust and readjust as his family splinters in the changing climate of Integration during the fifties and sixties.
Aaron is hard on himself, but with Skillet's vision he finds a place to rest his weary cautions and return to the happier seven year-old boy he starts out to be when the book opens. Both boys learn what it is to be responsible family men. For Aaron, it's a struggle. Unlike his friend, he has few examples of the man he wants to be.
Morning After Midnight is available from MuseItUp Publishing and other online e-book distributers.
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Julie is a regular blogger on http://thewritersvineyard.com/ , and feature writer for http://cocktailsmagazine.wix.com/fictionandgossip#!issue-14 an online slick. Her flash fiction appears under http://bewilderingstories.com/bios/painter_bio.htm
http://bit.ly/17GtxDh for Bewildering Stories, my bio
Blog for The Writers Vineyard, every fourth Monday Link: thewritersvineyard.com