Sunday, December 1, 2013

Family Participation


When my second, and youngest, child got his driver’s license, the ecological side of me decided I needed to downsize my car. It’s been years since I’d toted around Girl Scout or Boy Scout troops or organized carpools to and from school or extracurricular activities. A smaller car made sense.
But moving my eldest child back and forth between cities for clinical rotations made me long for the vast boxy-ness of my previous Chevy Astro van.
A road trip to Pittsburgh from our Long Island hometown this past week, served two purposes: to celebrate Thanksgiving as a complete family unit, and to move my daughter out of her latest, clinical setting at UPMC.


My family and I enjoyed traipsing through the mountainous and picturesque ‘City of Bridges.’ We laughed, we took silly pictures, and we ate turkey, together. But on our last night, I could see the stress begin to set in. Both my husband and my daughter, the two so much alike, began to dwell on the move.
He asked, “Does she have that much stuff?”
She asked, “What if we can’t fit it all into your car, Mom?”
Light as a breeze, I answered, “We can put a box in the mail.”
In my family, I am the one who is most likely to remain calm; the one who usually soothes ruffled feathers. Later, out of earshot of my daughter, I warned my husband. “Whatever you do, don't get excited. We’ll figure it out.”
Despite having doled out the calming rhetoric to my husband and daughter, I lay awake with my own doubts. It was cold out - a chilly 23 degrees. Would we find a place to park near the house? Where would we find boxes to ship the items that didn’t fit? How much time and money would this extra task involve?
I lulled myself to sleep with a mantra of good will.
It will all work out.
On moving day, as my family marched back and forth from the rented room of the house to the street, piling my daughter’s belongings on the sidewalk, I admit, for a moment, I began to sweat—the chilly weather was forgotten.
There was a lot of stuff!
Not allowing ourselves to become stagnated by apprehension, together, my family went to work, packing and filling all nooks and crannies with shoes, clothes and books.
Then, a wonderful thing happened — the sidewalk was bare.
With my Chevy’s good-sized trunk, a rooftop carrier, and a keen eye for spatial allowances, we achieved success. We got it all in.

I admired it. 
My daughter sighed her relief.
My husband high-fived our son.

On the road, comfortably nestled in the crowded backseat, I reflected on the experience. We’d not been facing any cataclysmic event—our victory small by most standards—but four adults participated and cooperated in getting a required job done.
As my family grows older and begins to follow their individual chosen paths in life, there will be much greater milestones to celebrate. Though this particular deed was a minor achievement, it’s nice to know we can pull together, quite well.
On this Thanksgiving weekend, I am grateful for those I love. And, I cherish this small family win.

Wishing you and your families a happy, healthy holiday season 2013!


Peace.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Getting Published

Final Edits, Check!


I am very close to completing the book publishing process. Saving Toby will soon be available in paperback. The publishing company I am working with hasn't given me a date yet, so I don't know if it'll make it out before the holidays.

I almost hope, for my family's sake, it isn't available until after the New Year. It took a lot of effort and time to promote Saving Toby in its current ebook format. Knowing it will soon be available in physical form, is a whole new level of excitement, but it will require a great deal of focus.

Writers who get traditionally published have the expertise of agents and publishing houses to back up their work.

I am Self-Published. Some might call me an Indie Author.

While I pay an editor to work with me, when it comes down to it, as a self-published author, I am responsible for every aspect of the book. (It even says so in the book publisher's contract.)

Not only am I the writer, but the promoter, and seller, too. Right or wrong, I have the final say. There is no professional guiding me. I have literally spent months on researching promotional avenues for the ebook. To get my book into readers' hands, I will have to do the same for the paperback.

As I try to focus on writing my second novel, my attention is frequently diverted to publishing and promotional concerns on the first. It's times like these that I envy traditionally published writers. What great pleasure it would be to let someone else deal with the drama of sales and reviews while I close myself in and concentrate on lives of my newest characters.

There is no doubt, being an Indie Author is labor-intensive. In deference to traditional publishing, though, I write what I want to write. As a writer, there has been no sweeter moments then when readers have contacted me to say how much the story meant to them or that it touched them.

Along with all the work, the praise, too, is solely my own.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Good Karma

You don’t have to preach a sermon. You don’t have to quote twenty-five scripture verses. Just a few kind words can start the healing process for someone else. ~ Joel Osteen Ministries
The last few years, I have been doing a great deal of inner reflection, and have worked hard to be positive and to acknowledge the many blessings I have in my life. Being grateful has improved my outlook on life and the challenges I face.

But even riding a wave of gratefulness, I still get hit by rogue waves. Undertow can leave me breathless and sputtering for air.

The other night, right after reading a wonderful comment from a reader, I found an awful, negative review. It was by far, the harshest review yet. The earlier, warm glow of praise slid right off. I floundered in the waves and forgot how to swim.

This reviewer seemed angry and vengeful and went so far as to condemn the writing of my sequel. I understand my book will be judged by all who read it. And, I expect that some will not enjoy the story. A strong review either way, feels personal.

I allowed myself to get pulled out with the current, and like swallowing a mouthful of salty, sea water, I ingested her anger. It sat in my stomach, a big ball of acid, poisoning my blood and spreading through whole body. I literally felt sick.

Thankfully, I am blessed to be surrounded by good people: family, co-workers, friends and other writer acquaintances. They made me look at the reviewer from another perspective, one that made me feel less inclined to be hurt. And as if that weren't enough, I was blown away by readers who came forward to offer touching words of encouragement for my writing. I cannot begin to explain how restorative it is to have this kind of support. I'm not proud that I let this one review affect me so, but I am re-centered with my feet once again planted firmly in the sand.

Negativity breeds negativity. If you don't swim against the current you will be dragged out into a vast ocean of it. Surround yourself with positive, restorative people. People who will keep you from drifting out to sea. Likewise, be supportive to those around you.

Sea water has a terrible affect on the body, and rogue waves can hit when you least expect them. A good rule of thumb is to keep a few lifeguards nearby.

Peace.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Hello Readers!

The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before.     ~ Neil Gaiman, author

What a weekend!


Saving Toby's popularity has had an explosion during the 2-day promotional free downloads this past Friday and Saturday. I believe I have scored a slew of new readers. To those, I say welcome! As my ability to navigate the publishing field becomes more practiced and comfortable, I will happily entertain you with many more stories.

For those of you who don't know me, I began working on Saving Toby in the spring of 2010. At that time, the story was loosely configured in my head, and though I'd been writing all my life, I didn't know a lick about how to publish a book, but once I started putting this story together, I couldn't stop.

I fell in love with the my characters, and every day, I thought about how the story would unfold. I had to keep a notebook on hand at all times. Ideas flooded me day and night.

Claudia had originally started out as introverted and rather meek. But I found myself not liking her character. If you've read the Twilight series, I think you might understand what I mean when I say, I could never understand Edward's obsession with Bella. She was rather dull. I didn't want Claudia to be nondescript and boring like that. Despite my desire to make her compassionate, I found myself turning Claudia into a driven young woman who refused to have her goals sidetracked.

Though some readers have voiced their complaints that Claudia's treatment of Toby is a bit too staunch, I feel that this is what Toby needed to make the necessary changes in his life. In my opinion, her character is a true representation of many of today's motivated and focused girls; ones who I've had the pleasure to watch grow up into young women. Girls such as my own daughter, her friends, classmates and Girl Scouts, who are all now in their twenties. Despite their beauty, many of them chose grades over guys, and their will to excel has always impressed me.

And Toby, what can I say? This guy ruled my thoughts for the last three years. Oddly, narrating his chapters came more easily to me than Claudia's. I knew him from day one -- the guy stole my heart long before he stole Claudia's.

"Saving Toby" should be out in physical book form early in the new year, and "Keeping Claudia" is really
taking shape. So make sure you have a way to get updates on my progress (see below), buckle up and hold on to your seats. Saving Toby is only the beginning for me. I'm just getting warmed up.

Like small children, I currently have 5 works begging for my undivided attention. Now if I could quite my day job, I could really turn them out.

Peace.

Ways to get updates:
Get on my Email list by sending me a request at: suzannemckennalink@gmail.com

Friday, October 11, 2013

FREE Promotional Downloads!

To celebrate the new cover of Saving Toby, the Kindle eBook version will be available for FREE both Friday and Saturday. 


Find out what all the hype is about!

http://www.amazon.com/Saving-Toby-ebook/dp/B00EV6K2AC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379097630&sr=8-1&keywords=saving+toby


Thursday, October 3, 2013

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A blog about Inspiration


Back, just before I consciously decided to take my writing seriously, I was working at a job I loved. While my manager was super smart, our interoffice relationship was awkward. After paycheck cutbacks sent many of my coworkers packing, the situation with my manager darkened. Stressed by the uncomfortable office atmosphere, and now, making less money, I decided it was time to move on.

Was it scary? YOU BET!

Thankfully, I had other financial support to back up this decision, but I didn't sit around. I got another job... a few of them. They included: Web design, pet sitting and bus trip organizing for a non-profit organization on the north shore. My schedule was erratic, and I had a lot of time to think. I asked myself that age-old question, the same one I'd often asked myself most of my adult life - "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

I had an answer. I've always had an answer. I wanted to WRITE. Never believing I could actually be taken seriously or make a living off of it, I had buried that dream away. But under piles of half-written stories and papers from years of writing classes, I found my passion and dusted it off.

Is it crazy to believe such a lofty goal can be attained? At first, maybe, but I took small bites. I understood the most important part of committing to this ambition was convincing myself it could happen. I had to be open for business.

I read a great deal of motivational materials. My favorite and most helpful book: "Write It Down, Make It Happen" by Henriette Anne Klauser. She instructs readers to write down a list of goals. I wrote carte blanch. Klauser says to include a few frivolous goals - mine was "Discover the secret of youth." Other less outrageous ones were:
  • Help secure my children's futures
  • That my writing gives me pleasure and many returns
  • Be philanthropic
The first exercise, however, was the most prolific: Write it as if it has already happened. I wrote:
A complete stranger offered me a writing job. While I worked on those projects, I finished my first book.
Truth is stranger than fiction my friend - After sending in a sample of my writing to a local paper, the editor (a stranger) called me to do freelance work. MY FIRST PAID WRITING GIG! Two months later, I was offered a full time writing position. Deciding against going full time, I continued with the freelance work. During the next year and a half, I wrote "Saving Toby."

I wrapped this up neatly in a few hundred words, but be assured, the road I've traveled over the last few years was not all sweetness and light. I kept at it despite setbacks. It is my belief that if you want something to happen, you have to set yourself up for it and allow it happen. It must be an ever conscious thought in your mind.

I leave you with this final quote:
Who are you not to be great?   - Nelson Mandela
Peace

Image: Rocks stacked on the beach — Stock Photo © Bezuglov Andrey #8584182

Monday, September 23, 2013

Saving Toby has a New Look!

A New Cover

New version to come soon



I have been working with an artist on a new cover for both the eBook and print versions of my novel. This one still has the designer's watermark on it.

Designing a cover has been quite an learning experience. Trying to get someone else to envision what I had in mind was, at times, difficult. (Worse through email) But I believe the final product is very nice.

What do you think?



Current version on Amazon

New cover by Steph's Cover Design

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Writing a Book Isn't Easy

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places. 
~ Ernest Heming

Everyone is a critic. Authors must grow a thick skin.

I am both an author and a critic. I'm not proud to say I have been unkind at times, but being an author has made me more aware of criticism and how hurtful it can be. I've read some harsh and nasty public reviews of other author's novels online.

I found these reviews on Amazon:
Sorry but I think this author needs to find another profession. Could not go on after the 3rd chapter! Reads like a child wrote it.
 And another, after a paragraph of why the book didn't work for her, she ended with:
I won't recommend this book to my friends.
I won't buy a book from this author again. 
I am grateful these reviews were not aimed at me or my book, but I feel for these authors. The naysayer in me is resistant to believe these reviewers understand that out there, in the intangible world of the Internet, authors (especially us new ones) are reading these mean-spirited reviews.  


But hey, everyone is entitled to their opinion. 

And frankly, I want to hear them. I want to know what people like or don't like about my story.  But you don't need to degrade and humiliate someone and their work to get your point across.

Barbs like the ones above are meant to tear skin.

Writing a book is hard! No one goes into it thinking, I'll spend years writing a terrible book! (at least not that I know of…) Imagine devoting years of your life to a project only to have someone take two minutes to leave a review like either of the two above?

It's a difficult task to put together a believable plot, dream up interesting characters and weave everything into a flowing story line. Don't forget details and imagery. And one must not forget to be on top of spelling, proper grammar and punctuation! If you do it right, you'll pay a professional editor to work through the manuscript with you. Then, you get it published, right? Um, no. Even after writing and emailing out dozens of query letters to any literary agent who might be interested in our genre, most of us new authors get familiar with rejection letters.

But in this new age of publishing, we do have another option -- Independent publishing! Here, though, we're on our own. There's formatting, marketing, building an audience ... blah blah blah — a whole slew of elements to consider that the public doesn't see. For the first time author, it's like walking blindfold through a field of landmines. And that's all before the general public gets a shot at critiquing our book!

Despite setbacks and some unflattering comments, we writers forge ahead. It's our passion for the written word that keeps us going. Sometimes bruises even help us write better. For a writer like myself who enjoys well-crafted and intense emotional scenes, such bruises can be turned into words and fed through my characters' voices. If I am doing my job well enough, you will be able to feel them, too.

In closing, don't be afraid to be honest. Just don't be mean. No one benefits from being torn down.

Peace.

Image: ‘Once upon a time’ isolated on blue — Stock Photo © Yukchong Kwan #3321691

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

If You Want Sweet and Gentle, Don't Read My Book


"Into each life some rain must fall" 

 ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

Got my first 2 star review.

As much as I want everyone to LOVE my story, it is implausible. Tastes and attitudes vary so greatly from one person to another … and I know this.

The reviewer said she read the beginning and didn't care for the language or characters, and therefore did not finish the book. I take no offense to this review. It sounds like she wanted something gentler than what "Saving Toby" offers. 

If you want sweet and gentle, please don't read this story.

I put a 'Graphic Content' warning within the book's description on Amazon because I wanted to warn potential readers:

 

Saving Toby isn't gentle


I wrote it to evoke strong emotions. There are scenes that are sweet and a few that may make you laugh, but it is often harsh, and, at times, sexual but then, so is life and love. I tried to write an honest portrayal of a contemporary love affair. 

That said, the good reviews I have gotten, are frankly FANTASTIC! People I know who have read my story want to talk to me about it… It's an amazing feeling to be able to touch people in such a way.

I hope "2 Star" gets lonely. 


Image: Book — Stock Photo © Zsolt Bicz√≥ #19498213


Monday, September 9, 2013

Great Weekend!

Downloads were plentiful!

Over the weekend, Saving Toby was downloaded almost 1,700 times! It hit #1 in ranking for Romance and Love genre and #11 in New Adult/College genre downloads on both Friday and Saturday.


I also received an additional 5 star review from a reader! (someone I don't actually know! lol)

What also filled my heart with joy, was the phone call I received yesterday from my sister-in-law, a woman's whose opinion I value, not only because she is a wonderful person, but because she is well-educated, and a librarian, to boot. 

I was immensely pleased with her feedback, and I hope she won't mind me quoting her, but she said, "It is so much more than a love story."

She is suggesting Saving Toby to her husband and friends to read.

So if you took advantage of the free download over the weekend, please don't just leave it hanging about on your eReader. READ it! I think you'll enjoy it. And, of course, don't forget to give feedback!

Because of all the buzz with Saving Toby, I am very inspired to really dig into the sequel, Keeping Claudia. Working diligently to get it finished.

Peace.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Free Downloads of Saving Toby

Get my book for Free!


If you haven't already gotten it, Amazon is featuring FREE, yes FREE downloads of my novel, Saving Toby, Friday and Saturday, September 6 and 7. Click the link below and get a copy. Be sure to leave a review when you finish reading. All reviews welcomed and needed - that's how we writer's grow!

Amazon Website link to Saving Toby

Friday, August 30, 2013

Saving Toby Now Online!

Today is the day!

My book, Saving Toby is now available for download in Kindle ebook format on Amazon.com!

Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EV6K2AC

Reviews encouraged!

Don't have a Kindle? No problem!

You can download a Kindle app to any device (smartphone, tablet or computer) for free.

Go to the http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EV6K2AC and scroll down the right side of the page for a download of "Free Kindle app"


Copyright of cover photo “Young couple behind transparent curtain”
© Depositphotos.com/Elena Yakusheva

Monday, August 26, 2013

About to Go Live!

eBook Format, check!


After weeks of tweaking the manuscript (and -- eee gads! -- still finding typos!) I have been working diligently to format the document for upload to Amazon for ebook/Kindle download.

I will be using the book cover below, but only until my newly hired cover artist comes through with a newer, improved version. (Can hardly wait to see that!)

So, dare I say it… the book should be ready to purchase this week.

Posting to follow in the next few days with link to Amazon site!

Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cover contenders

Final considerations:

Bypassing the b/w artistic sexy shots. While the story does have a few steamy moments, it's no "50 Shades." (But will consider them for the sequel!)

These seem to be the top two favorites. I altered the beach scene, left, in Photoshop to make it a touch more dramatic, and sharpened the image on the right.
Thoughts?


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Cover Wars

New Cover Samples

Okay, feedback of the first two cover samples suggest one photo is too difficult to make out, and the other, the one with the couple on beach looks like a YA novel cover. The couple in the story is in their twenties, but it is certainly not a YA novel. I call it a literary love story, but the newly coined genre, New Adult, is also an appropriate fit. There is explicit language and scenes. With that in mind, here are two new variations of the cover. Please keep the comments coming!

Other photo options:

Here are two other photos I like, but are much more suggestive. My favorite photo by far is the one on the left as the couple actually looks similar to how I envision my characters. Unfortunately I couldn't download files big enough to insert in my sample cover.






Photoshop effect added




Friday, August 16, 2013

Cover Art Opinions Wanted

Almost there!

I am very close to uploading my story to Amazon for Kindle download. I put together samples of a temporary cover - One to be seen on Amazon until the book gets printed in hard copy.  What speaks to you? I created these, so I can always alter, add or delete. Please feel free to comment. Suggestions welcomed!


And because I can't resist, here's another brief excerpt from the story:


“Marie’s a busy body. Likes to hear herself talk.” Toby said the words without anger, despite the dig at Marie.
“Seems she also likes you.” I tried to lighten the mood. “Said you were easy on the eyes.”
“Hey, we need the help, so I do what I can to keep those women coming back. I’m always polite, but I got them figured out,” Toby said, with an air of knowing. “Mrs. D and the rest of those church ladies are all about the eye-candy. Every so often, I walk around without my shirt on.”
About to pick up a shovel, I burst out laughing.
“You are a real piece of work.”
He grinned and said, “Thanks.”
I had a feeling Toby would keep me amused all week. 


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Book Review of "I've Got Your Number"

Just finished reading Sophie Kinsella's I've Got Your Number. If you've read the book and/or seen the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic, you know Kinsella's work. She's know for her grossly funny main characters and laugh out-loud moments.

My review:


I've Got Your Number is a quick, fun read done in Kinsella's quirky style with many funny moments. The fun begins when bride-to-be, Poppy Wyatt looses her engagement ring, and then her cell phone. By pure chance, she finds a perfectly good phone in a trash can. Business man Sam Roxton actually owns the phone, or at least his former, frazzled personal assistant did, until she ditched it. Desperate to be able to have a contact number people can reach her at if her ring is found, she becomes resistant to give the phone back to Sam.

They make a conditional agreement - she is to forward all the emails and texts to him, and she must return the phone as soon as the ring is found.

After innocently snooping and reading his personal and business emails, Poppy notices Sam has a vast amount of unanswered correspondence. And when he does respond, he is often curt. She feels it is her moral duty to help the guy out… adding  her own twist of hugs and smiley faces — lending to a plethora of humorous phone and text conversations, and a satisfying end.

Entertaining, no stress, end-of-summer read. Only disappointment was having to wait to the very end for any type of romantic connection between main two characters.  Although I was pretty sure of a happy ending, Kinsella had me second guessing almost to the last paragraph just which way Poppy Wyatt was going to go.

Currently reading:
Delirium by Oliver Lauren, a story about a futuristic world where 'love' is considered to be a disease. At 18, all are evaluated, and operated on to remove the disease. So far its been an interesting read…

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Book Review

My first formal Manuscript Review:

Dear Suzanne,
Thank you for submitting your work for evaluation. I am pleased to report that your manuscript has been accepted for publication. I want to be the first to congratulate you.
You have a terrific writing style. I can tell that you have done much planning and preparation in crafting your work – especially the way you have thought out the characters and movement that happens in the story. This is not an easy feat. Your prose is very nicely written with details that capture the reader. Right from the start your plot was very engaging and I found myself really connected with what was going on. It is easy to have too much going on too soon – not in your case. Your plot is slow and methodical and you use your dialogue to move the plot along. With that being said, you really do a nice job of slowly making your way through the story with details and a certain voice (yours as the author) that allows your reader to really interact with the characters (who are all round and very nicely developed). Your characters are lifelike and I love it when I leave a story feeling like I know them. You have a realistic plot and to me that makes for an enjoyable story. You have crafted a quality piece of writing. Bravo!
Sincerely,
Lisa Conner
Manuscript Review Team

Crank up the press!

A print version will take some time to produce as there are multiple editing stages to get through, but until then, the story is available via ebook on Amazon (Kindle version).
Link to Amazon: http://amzn.to/1hW0LFC

Thank you for your interest!
I will keep you posted.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

On my way

I am thrilled to say I have secured a publishing company, and even though there is a ton of work to gather and do, Saving Toby is that much closer to seeing print!


I had to rework my synopsis down a bit, to fit 250 words. This is what I came up with. Feel free to let me know your thoughts!

Back Cover Hook with synopsis:



Loving someone through their hard fall from grace takes a lot of grit.

In school, Toby Faye was a moody kid who sat in the back of class and looked like he wanted to be anywhere but there. Claudia Chiametti, the perfect student, always sat in the front row.  She might have forgotten him if it weren't for the fact that his family had been involved in two tragic events. In the small town of Sayville, Long Island, many knew of the family’s dark history.

Hired on as a caretaker to Mrs. Faye, Claudia is thrown into the lives of the widow and her son — a world where sadness lingers and old wounds run deep. Now twenty-one, Toby is not so quiet. A mass of muscles and unruly hair, he is a real head turner. He is jaunty with the confidence his masculine good looks afford him. While not immune to his sexual advances, Claudia sees beyond the cocky grin. Up close, his blue-grey eyes expose something else.

Despite her father’s stern warnings about the family’s violent history, Claudia is empathetic to their plight and vows to help both mother and son move past the hurt. This endeavor forces her to face situations she never imagines possible. She must be tougher than she's ever had to be. Does Claudia have the grit to love Toby through his fall?

Saving Toby is the first book of a two-part series that follows the emotional and inspirational story of a young couple's journey to find themselves and the love they never dreamed existed.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Progress

Where's the story at?


The final proofreading of "Saving Toby" is finished. I am working on small adjustments where the proofer made notes.

I got my first written review:

"Saving Toby is a great debut novel from Suzanne McKenna Link. This modern day romance tells the story of Toby and Claudia and how they endure the ups and downs of a relationship. I laughed, cried, and rejoiced, never wanting to put this book down!"
Michele L. Mathews ~ Indiana 

Next up is publication: Cover art, conversion to eBook format, uploading to Amazon, and ultimately a printed version.

I visited the library here in my hometown. Next to the new DVDs, they now have a "Local Authors" area. Two of the books on the shelves are by women I currently work with. I will see my book up there someday, too.

Until then, I work diligently at the tiresome, daunting task of finding a reputable publisher.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Saving Toby… Location, location, location…


20 Year-old Claudia POV:

After the divorce, my mother had followed a job to California, and my Dad and I had become a team. We'd weathered three years without her, still in the house I’d grown up in, in the small town of Sayville, about a half-mile from the Great South Bay on the south shore of Long Island.


Lands End parking lot on the Great South Bay, Sayville, NY


The corner of Roosevelt Avenue and Easy Street, Sayville
















         “Remember the Fayes? On Roosevelt Avenue?”
Without pause, my father said, “You are not working for Al Faye.”
I rolled my eyes. “Dad, the man’s dead. And Mrs. Faye is very sick.”
“Well, that’s a shame.” Dad pointed. “Set the table. If I remember correctly, there were two boys. One’s a convicted felon. Where’s the other one?”
“Toby is still there.” I went to the cabinet and took out dishes.
“What’s his story? He’s been in trouble?”
“I don’t think so. You’d know, wouldn’t you?”
“Ah, probably just a matter of time before we arrest him for something.” Dad added some salt to the pot and tasted it.
“That’s not a nice thing to say,” I chided him.
“I don’t want you there, in that environment,” he said.
“Unless the older son breaks out of jail, I think I’ll be safe.”
“In seriously damaged families like theirs, the residual effects always spiral down to the kids. The older boy was ruined and, mark my words, if there is trouble to be found, the younger boy is going to find it, too.”




Sunday, July 21, 2013

An inspirational quote courtesy of Joel Osteen (somewhat reworked in my own words) :


When someone we love tells us they're proud of us, something comes alive on the inside. 
He/she may be doing a hundred things wrong, things you don't like, but find three that you do, and pour the honor in.
Let your words be a blessing and watch them rise higher.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Chapter 1 - Main characters meet



“There's not a word yet, for old friends who've just met.”         

                                                ― Jim Henson




POV: 20 year-old Claudia Chiametti


“You remember Toby, don’t you?” Mrs. Faye asked.
“Of course.” I replied, quickly doing the math in my head. Four years of high school and two of college. “It’s been at least six years, though. I’m sure I wouldn’t even recognize him if I saw him.”
I tried to move back to my seat without breaking our eye contact. Out of the corner of my eye I became aware of motion, but too late to stop myself, I bumped into a solid wall of body.
“Oh!” I gasped, surprised as I hit a warm, immoveable mass with my shoulder and bounced off. A pair of hands caught me around the waist and kept me from tumbling over.
The collision brought me eye-level with the angular chin of a guy’s face. His windswept, tawny brown hair was streaked with multi-hued highlights. The untamed waves softly framed a tan, handsome face.
“Excuse me,” I mumbled, looking up into a pair of almond shaped, blue-grey eyes.
By his expression, he seemed just as stunned by our impact as I. We stood there, staring at each other for what felt like an eternity while the warmth of his hands on me spread like a blaze up my torso and flamed my face. The spell was broken when his full lips parted and he said, “Claudia?”
That he knew my name set off alarms in my head. I struggled to reassemble my disjointed thoughts and it took a moment to put it back together — where I was, who I was with.
Toby Faye.

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Story Summary

For the last few years, I have been working steadily towards making my dream come true - to become a published author. My very first completed fictional novel, a literary love story, will soon be published and available for your reading pleasure. Check back for updates!

Saving Toby

Story summary: 


Loving someone through their hard fall from grace takes a lot of grit.

When pious widow, Julia Faye is re-diagnosed with Lymphoma, ambitious, 20 year-old Claudia Chiametti is hired to assist her around the house through her convalescence. But in their small Long Island town, the Faye family is known for its tragic history. Due to her care-taking role with his mother, Claudia is inevitably forced into close proximity with Mrs. Faye’s youngest son, Toby. With rumors of fights, drugs and shady friends, Claudia is surprised to find that underneath a head-turning handsome face is a guy who is amusing and rather sweet.

 21 year-old Toby Faye returns home with a sense of obligation. He will once again have to take care of his mother, something he’s done most of his life. But things are sure to be different this time — the smart, pretty girl who used to rule his young teenage dreams, is now working at his house. Using this unexpected access to his benefit, Toby tries to give Claudia a taste of what he has to offer. But the delights he proposes are unfamiliar to such a focused, self-disciplined girl. He will have to be patient, go slow and rein in his natural impulses.

Harrowing stories from Toby’s childhood has Claudia pledging to do whatever she can to bring about change, to both mother and son. But tension with friends from the past set off a cascade of events — threats involving a racially provoked attack, police involvement and even death — impel the effects of a dark upbringing to the surface. A deep-seated anger and profound insecurity are unveiled. The dark flaws devastate the tender bond that briefly unites the two.
 
Despite the ruins he has left her in, Claudia has a difficult time turning her back on the only guy who ever held her heart. Does she have the grit to love Toby through his fall?