Racing The Sun — New Release!

BOOK LAUNCH!

Racing The Sun Book Cover Small

Leila and her friends are back with more adventures in Racing The Sun, a sequel to Miami Morning: A Leila Payson Novel. Leila must decide whether to continue as a high school teacher, or quit her job to run a new group that brings together people of varying abilities. She meets Doug, a paraplegic and former student, who wants to design and build better wheelchairs. With her help he prepares for a wheelchair race. 

Her relationship with Mark, the attractive “man with a book” evolves, and she discovers her mother and father both have secret lives. Raoul, Leila’s former hearing-impaired student, is back, along with the quixotic Maria Picot, and the combative guidance counselor Mrs. Grisjun. Then there’s lunch with Leila’s oldest friend, Caroline, who always speaks her mind. And what do those mysterious stones in the local park mean?

Told from multiple points of view, Leila’s friend Dov, an event planner from South Beach, goes to Cuba in search of his new love, Nìco, the hunky bird guide. Cran, the father of Leila’s friend Charles, and husband of the erstwhile Berry, loves his vintage cars. After a racing accident, his life takes a different course.

On summer vacation, Leila and Mark return to Africa, where they have both worked before. Her eyes are opened when she sees Mark’s work in Rwanda. She visits Dr. Anna Larssen, the director of a ground-breaking group in South Africa, and Baruti, an occupational therapist, whose work greatly influenced her life.

Will she at long last see the flamingos? 

Racing The Sun is available on Amazon and Smashwords

Racing The Sun on Amazon                                   Racing The Sun on Smashwords

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Pre-Order Racing The Sun

Mary eBook Cover Top Part

The Kindle and Smashwords editions of Racing The Sun are now available for pre-order! This short novel is the sequel to Miami Morning, and continues the story of many of the series’ characters. It’s a book that’s both light and serious, trying to make sense, and have some fun while doing it, of contemporary life.

The ebook is $2.99 and the paperback (available on Amazon soon) will be $12.95. 

The print and ebook editions were beautifully formatted by Jo Robinson and the covers equally well done by Chris Graham of The Story Reading Ape. Thank you both!

My Review of Rusticles by Rebecca Gransden for #RBRT

This sounds interesting

Judith Barrow

rusticlesI was given this book of short stories by the author as a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team #RBRT in return for an honest review.

I gave this book 3* out of 5*

Book Blurb:

In Hilligoss, a tired man searches for a son, a flamingo enthrals the night, and fireworks light up the lost. In these stories and more, Rusticles offers a meandering tour through backroads bathed in half light, where shadows play along the verges and whispers of the past assault daydreams of the present. Walk the worn pathways of Hilligoss.

My Review:

I am unfamiliar with this author’s work so the first time I read each story two thoughts struck me: they are unique in that they are written in an oblique style difficult to grasp initially; much is implied within phrases and partial , seemingly unfinished dialogue. And secondly, that  these tales are almost poetic prose…

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Life Journeys: Racing The Sun

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 © Can Stock Photo / ponsulak

Where are we going and why? In Racing The Sun,  a sequel to Miami Morning, a group of friends drive, speed, and sometimes slow down to appreciate the flamingos, on the highways, side streets, and racetracks of the modern world.

Leila is at a midpoint in her life, and the book opens with her dilemma, which is quickly thrown aside by life’s unpredictability.

Chapter 1   Intersection

Leila drove through the city streets in the gear of everyday. So much was happening all at once. On her mind at this precise moment was her work to bring together differently abled people in meaningful activities and occupations. This presented a particular problem: whether to start a formal group and run it, or stay in her career as a teacher.  

A white SUV rocketed through a red light, tracking on a line unwavering as the International Space Station. She jammed on the brakes, watching it cross the intersection in front of her, a man’s profile in the rectangle of the driver’s window. The SUV slammed into another car, spun around, and launched a star-show of glass and metal into the air.

Her car lurched to a full stop, buffeting her between fear and relief. She checked the rear view mirror and switched on the flasher lights, scrambling out of her seat as a boy bolted from the SUV’s backseat. He ran toward her, arms outstretched. She caught the boy and held him as he collapsed to the ground. Kneeling beside him, she wiped away a thread of blood on his forehead. Looked for, but found no wound.

“Can you move your arms? Your legs?”

The boy responded, following her eyes, moving his arms and legs. A man joined her at the boy’s side. Leila stood and walked toward the mangled cars. There was a whiff of gas, almost sickly, and the crunch of powdered glass.

The SUV was empty, one passenger sitting on the pavement.

All around, as if impregnating the air, a pervasive and penetrating keening sound came from the other car, a pearl-gray sedan. The keening faded, leaving a silence that lifted off the earth. A quiet Leila had experienced before, in the last moments of her mother’s life.

 

Where Has Conversation Gone?

Something to talk about, and we should – I wish it could be more person to person rather than soc media

BronxBeyondBorders

© 2016 E. R. Smith All Rights Reserved

img_0865 Millennials keep earphones on all day long. They rarely detach.

Where Has Conversation Gone?

There was a time, not long ago, when people spoke with one another.  Conversation was a wonderful way to know who your neighbors were, what’s the newest news on the block, it was comforting.  Yes, conversation was a bit nosy and intrusive, however it seems to have kept us safer…more connected.  Conversation began in childhood, we spoke to our friends on the playground.  We organized who would turn or jump for double-dutch.  We looked at one another as we spoke, to learn what the twitches and expressions our friend’s face meant. We put the verbiage together with facial changes to sense a deeper meaning.  We stared unblinkingly at our partner’s eyes to assure that our chants and hands were synchronized during “Miss Mary Mack”.  Adults encouraged conversation as…

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A Man Called Ove: A Review

A Man Called OveIn A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman writes about people who are at odds with modern rules, and he does so by ignoring, even flaunting, modern rules of writing. And it was glorious! Wonderful! He portrays people who don’t fit into society as it is presently constructed, so it makes sense he tears up the rules when writing about them. In this way he can tell the story of the old-fashioned Ove, for whom the rules are an undue burden, and the immigrant Parveneh, who recognizes the rules but for whom reality is a very flexible thing.

What are these rules of writing? Let me name a few. First, there’s the prohibition against using similes and metaphors. How did this start? From what I can tell, George Orwell said, don’t use similes. Now this has become orthodoxy. Backman deals with this by exchanging the word “like” with “as if” and “as though.” These phrases animate the simile and are usually effective. There was a point, though, in the beginning, when the as ifs and as thoughs sounded as if a thousand flies were buzzing in my ears. On occasion, these were much too lengthy and sounded contrived. But I give him credit for his determination in giving the reader both similes and metaphors.

The other rules all writers will recognize. Don’t use “ly” words. Don’t use words other than said, such as exclaim, shriek, and god forbid, wail and protest. Laugh is not a synonym for say. Don’t use it instead of say or said. Backman does all these unabashedly. But wait, there’s more. He changes tense for no apparent reason. He addresses the reader. He uses phrases. When he references tech devices, cars, and other mechanical instruments, he doesn’t concern himself with endless explaining of what they are. Oh, and he uses exclamation points! Even when the character is screaming. Love it! What? What’s happening? Just this: Backman runs over the lines, kicks the box around, and lets us care about the people in his stories.

Is the book perfect? No. The storyline is repetitive. A Man Called Ove could be called A Man Called Over and Over Again. Each chapter is a retelling of the same issues, but not always with much movement forward in the story. He relies on thematic sayings and symbolic scenes which are borderline preachy. But it doesn’t matter because it’s so much fun to read.

I ask you, what is that called? That’s Called Good Writing.

Railing

Elan Muldrow is an amazingly good poet!

Elan Mudrow

Who is the ghost that walks the train?

The apparition tugs on our shirt sleeves

But all rides are displaced

We are logged into otherness,

Password protected

Our faces dug deep into ourselves

Reflections fed to us

Wires from out our ears

Wi-Fi, stuck in our gut

Download speeds of the central nervous system.

Our spines reverberate myriads of chatter.

A silent rustle, instilling itself

Convincing us without us ever knowing

How important we are compared to

All other representations of knowing

While we are in the midst of knowing.

It’s called automatic updates

The train moves automatically

We are in a moving bubble…..and

From the windows see sprawl

Hurling past us………………tame trees

Surly lawns, hybrid bushes

Dotted between office buildings

Who give out loans, advice, and massages,

Fast food made to look like good food

Good food made to look like fast food

We look to make it home…

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Racing The Sun: A Short Novel

Racing the Sun Advance BannerLeila and her friends are back with more adventures in Racing The Sun, a sequel to Miami Morning. Leila works on her new group, OccupyAbility, bringing together people of varying abilities. She meets Doug, a paraplegic, who wants to build better wheelchairs. 

Her relationship with Mark evolves, and she discovers both her father and mother have secret lives. Raoul, Leila’s former student who is hearing impaired, is back, along with the quixotic Maria, driven Estrella, and shapeshifter Skye. And so is Mrs. Grisjun, the combative guidance counselor, who thrives in a post-truth world. Then there’s lunch with her oldest friend, Caroline, who always speaks her mind. 

Told from multiple points of view, Dov Lindahl and Cran Birdsall also contribute their stories. Dov goes to Cuba in search of his new love, Nìco, the hunky bird guide. Cran, the father of Leila’s friend Charles, and husband of the erstwhile Berry, loves his vintage cars. But after a terrible racing accident, his life takes a different course.

Leila returns to South Africa to visit her mentor, Baruti, and Anna Larssen, director of a ground-breaking group working with people with disabilities.

Will she at long last see the flamingos? And when will Leila–inspired by Doug’s experience—first discover she is racing the sun?

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont: A Review

Mrs Palfrey

The truth about aging is a subject we want to avoid. Elizabeth Taylor confronts the truth with sensitivity and honesty, stripping away the platitudes about the golden years and showing us the reality of life for an older person in contemporary Western society. The individual is rendered meaningless the more they are removed from the family group, and even when included there’s a sense of alienation. In spare sentences without false emotion, Taylor gives us a heart-wrenching picture of Mrs. Palfrey, a woman doing her best to keep her dignity. The writing has a vibrant eloquence, and was a joy to read.

Taylor deftly portrays Mrs. Palfrey as tough in a British stiff-upper-lip way. She refuses to be isolated, and seeks friendship, with mixed results, as others her age are totted off to nursing homes or live in their daydreams. Her one success is the relationship with a young man who goes along with the lie that he is her grandson. He does this in exchange for the material he finds for a book he’s writing, but not entirely one suspects, as his own relationships are unstable. She goes along as well since refuting it would cause more consternation and she’s able to at least have a relationship. It’s her refusal to go quietly that causes her to fall, quite literally. Is it better to sit and wait for death, or to die rushing to meet someone, to do something? This is a question all who live to a ripe old age will ask themselves.

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont on Amazon Kindle

A Visit to Monticello: Two Poems

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Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

Monticello’s Dome

Was it 200, or 400,
or 600 unsung voices
I heard singing
in the bell
of Monticello’s dome?

Why is it closed off?
Why is everything so orchestrated
As if Jefferson felt he could direct
The course of nations
More easily than his legacy
Like a pair of doors that close
Together in accord by his hand