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

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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

My Interview on It Matters Radio

Monica Brinkman and Kenneth Weene talked with me about my books, concentrating on Miami Morning and issues of disability, sources of inspiration, influences and creating complex characters, then moving on to my first book, cats, birds, and other topics.

Review of Miami Morning by Steve Lindahl

Miami Morning by Mary Clark is the story of an ordinary person, a teacher, Leila Payson, who finds a purpose that defines her life. The novel is exceptional in a number of areas, one of which is the beautiful way Clark describes Miami from the context of the issues on the narrator’s mind. Here’s an excerpt that is a good example of what I mean:

She trotted beside lacy borders of waves washing ashore, intoxicated by the sharp scent of iodine and mineral aroma of fresh-churned sand. The rolling waves made her think of the invisible waves that traveled between human beings and while the ocean waves were strong and substantial, and still carried an insistent power as they neared the shore, they were nothing compared to the magnificent intricacies and complexity of human interaction and communication. And we are only just beginning to learn how that works, Leila reminded herself.

When Leila started her career, she had her struggles. But she took advice that she needed and she grew from experience. By the time the story starts, she is considered one of the best teachers in her school by the critics who matter most, her students.

Read more on Steve Lindahl’s blog

The Importance of Online Writing Groups – Guest Post…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

The inspiration for my novel, Miami Morning, came from a source made possible only by modern communications technology. Through the internet, it’s possible to network with people who are quite different from us, who live in other countries, engage in other occupations, and come from a variety of cultural settings. Several years ago, this opportunity brought me into a relationship with new people, and their experiences, and our shared experience, fueled my imagination.

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I was invited to join an online discussion group by someone I met on LinkedIn. But it wasn’t through a literary forum. Instead, it was one of the philosophy groups. David Turnbull and I had been responding to each other’s comments on posts. This was followed by corresponding via personal email. He read some of my writing, which led to a passionate, and sometimes heated, discussion of ideas and beliefs. He then invited me to join…

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