Pre-Order Racing The Sun

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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!

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.

 

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?

OccupyAbility

Condor Marathon's Wheelchair by Juan Gill, via BehanceI’m working on a sequel to Miami Morning, and this is the name of Leila Payson’s new group. She’s excited about the future, with her new love, Mark, and the start-up of this group. OccupyAbility is designed to bring people of varying disabilities and abilities together, for the benefit of all participants. Because who among us doesn’t have a disability? Who among us doesn’t have a talent or strength that shines when it’s shared?

Here’s a little preview of what’s to come, I hope, by this summer.

Leila meets Doug, a paraplegic, who wants to design and build better wheelchairs. Her relationship with Mark evolves, and she discovers both her father and mother have secret lives. Her friends are back, diverse and adventurous, along with her former student, Raoul. And so is Mrs. Grisjun, the combative guidance counselor, who thrives in a post-truth world. As her oldest friend, fellow teacher Caroline says,  life is so complicated now. 

And a little hint. Besides Leila, two others will tell their stories: her friend Dov, the gay Swedish-Jewish event planner, and Cran Birdsall, father of her friend Charles and husband of the erstwhile Berry. 

 Photo: Condor Marathon’s racing wheelchair, design by Juan Gill, via Behance

Readers Favorite Review of Miami Morning

Reviewed by Vernita Naylor for Readers’ Favorite

Life doesn’t always turn out the way that we planned, but it does prepare us for each new adventure. In Miami Morning: A Leila Payson Novel by Mary Clark, Leila Payson is also known as “Miss Pacer,” which her friends fondly called her because she was always on the go. Leila later became known by the name Miss Pacer as well by her students. Leila was a Social Studies teacher. Leila loved the essence of her life, but one day she decided that she wanted to make a difference in life. The difference that Leila decided to add was a stint in an NGO in South Africa in the Health and Education industry. Little did Leila know that her life would change forever. Her time in the NGO will set the stage for how Leila will live the rest of her life. What Leila will learn during this stint will be the catalyst that enables her to help someone in the most profound way.

Leila’s interaction with characters Skye, Dov, Ron, Raoul, Maria and the mysterious man with the book became a part of her development. Each of these characters played a big part in helping Leila to become this vessel to provide comfort and guidance to someone who would need her in the most unusual way. I enjoyed how Miami Morning: A Leila Payson Novel by Mary Clark was developed because it displays how the ebb and flow in one phase of our lives helps us to walk through and navigate another part of our lives. All parts of our lives and pathways are not only interchanging, but intermingle to help strengthen our being, character, and our self-discovery.

Miami Morning on Amazon

Miami Morning on BarnesandNoble

The Shared Universe

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On the well-worn path through the dunes, she heard the surf’s blended cacophony of lives past and present. Crossing the beach, she walked on hard-packed sand below the tide line. Gulls wheeled above, with sharp cries. A fiddler crab with one huge claw held aloft cantered toward her, skirting a patch of mangroves. A fine mist rose along the shoreline which seemed to bend into infinity.

The waves going out gave her a pull, a beckoning, and she took off her shoes. She watched small creatures scurry toward the rippling water and dig into wet sand the color of antique ivory, feeding on nutrients stirred up by tidal action. Like the subconscious feeding on the most interesting bits and pieces of our everyday lives, she thought, and working them into a private mythology, a mythology that stays beneath the surface, and is seldom if ever shared with anyone else. And yet it feeds into everything we do, into the shared universe.

© Mary Clark 2014

5 Star Review Of Miami Morning by Diane M. Denton

A Beautifully Written Journey of Growth and Faith, Review by Diane M. Denton

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As I read deeper into Mary Clark’s new novel, “Miami Morning,” I began to have the sense of following a pilgrimage, a journey of growth and faith. Out of the “levels to her life” as a teacher, community activist and friend, Leila emerges smart, cultured, amiable, supportive, and sometimes self-depreciating, a forty-something woman who engages her senses as she perceives her surroundings like an artist and doesn’t shy away from challenges. She has a need for place and purpose, whether she is in Miami teaching Social Studies, helping to beautify and maintain a playground, and making sure a bright student losing his hearing doesn’t fall by the wayside; or on a year’s sabbatical in South Africa as part of a team setting up clinics in small villages and working to diminish the marginalization of the disabled.

Almost serenely aware “of being on the threshold of accomplishment”, Leila’s restlessness doesn’t make her impatient or impulsive, just active, her movement not always surefooted but, like many a Miami morning, contentedly and expectantly taking her towards an “opening horizon”. Her steps are more proactive than reactive. For example, after breaking up with a lover, she is determined not to cling to “the anguish of love”; instead she accepts the teaching post in South Africa to pursue fulfillment as a teacher and public-spirited, evolving individual.

Certainly, Leila’s quest is for more insight and meaning on the “long journey of life”, but she also seeks a way towards trust—of others, but mainly of herself. She values her interactions with students, colleagues, and friends, is constant and accessible in her relationships, while being easily solitary and essentially private. She gives the novel its heart and spirit, and is someone I immediately engaged with and cared about.

Read full review on Amazon

Review of Miami Morning by Poet David Selzer

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading MIAMI MORNING. Its title raised expectations which were more than satisfied. The work is rich in characters, themes and incidents – and reads well throughout.

Mary Clark juggles and interweaves – sometimes only mixed metaphors will do! – an impressive range of plot lines very skilfully. So skilfully, in fact, that it seemed, for example, quite natural – rather than contrived – that the main protagonist, Leila, should meet up again with Mark, a probable soul mate, by chance on a Cuban beach!

I like Leila – her concerns and interests, her eclectic friendships, her alternating self-worth – and was engaged by her throughout. Mary Clark describes the wide range of relationships Leila has with a wide range people very convincingly.

life-is-an-adventure-1The author’s descriptions of people, places and weathers are very evocative. Just as I know I’d like Leila, I know I’d like Miami, for example – urban, urbane, and both disturbingly and reassuringly tropical. The accounts of the high school students brought back (good and bad) memories of working with adolescent learners very vividly.

Read the full review of Miami Morning on Amazon

Please visit David Selzer’s website. I’ve been following it for several years and have always been delighted by the range and depth of subjects taken on, and by the high quality of his writing. This is one of the poems I’ve most enjoyed: The Reclining Gardener.

New Review of Miami Morning

I’d like to share this in-depth review of my novel by Martha Char Love, the co-author of the fascinating book, What’s Behind Your Belly Button? A Psychological Perspective of the Intelligence of Human Nature and Gut Instinct

Deep and Thoughtful, Yet Easy To Read Story of The Challenges of a Miami School Teacher

Miami Morning is an excellently written novel that is a “must read” for anyone who has been involved in the educational system. It is a book that would be highly enjoyed by anyone who is or ever has been a teacher, student, or parent. Since I have been all three at one time or another, I truly loved reading this book and savored the experience by stretching it out a few weeks. The author, Mary Clark, has divided the book into very short chapters (usually only a couple of pages each), and so I was able to enjoy making this book part of my morning wake-up-to-the-world ritual by starting each day with a relaxing read of a couple of chapters, along with a cup of coffee.

The main character is Leila Payson, a Social Studies teacher in Miami, who goes to South Africa to teach and learns the importance of listening to the people with physical challenges that she served as though they were “equal citizens” of the community rather than “her students” or “disabled.” When she brings this lesson of compassionate perspective back to Miami and applies it in her teaching there, she is able to help resolve a number of challenges that students share with her, including those who are struggling with problems like drug addiction and life issues like disabilities including hearing impairment. As she weaves through these challenges with her students, the reader is privy to both her inner philosophical dialogues and profound communications with students and colleagues. I thought that the highlight of the book was in the deep questions brought up concerning the importance of a strong community for a person facing hearing impairment. She makes a psychologically powerful case that no one overcomes adversity without help from others.

Read the full review