It’s Time

Photo by: Photo by Jill Wellington from Pexels

It’s My Turn

By Diana Ross

I can’t cover up my feelings
In the name of love
Or play it safe
For a while that was easy
And if living for myself
Is what I’m guilty of
Go on and sentence me
I’ll still be free

It’s my turn
To see what I can see
I hope you’ll understand
This time’s just for me

Because it’s my turn
With no apologies
I’ve given up the truth
To those I’ve tried to please

But now it’s my turn
If I don’t have all the answers
At least I know I’ll take my share of chances
Ain’t no use of holding on
When nothing stays the same

So I’ll let it rain
‘Cause the rain ain’t gonna hurt me
And I’ll let you go
‘Though I know it won’t be easy

It’s my turn
With no more room for lies
For years I’d seen my life
Through someone else’s eyes

And now it’s my turn
To try and find my way
And if I should get lost
At least I’ll own today

It’s my turn
Yes, it’s my turn
And there ain’t no use in holding on
When nothing stays the same

So I’ll let it rain
‘Cause the rain ain’t gonna hurt me
And I’ll let you go
‘Though I know it won’t be easy

It’s my turn
To see what I can see
I hope you’ll understand
This time’s just for me

Because it’s my turn
To turn and say goodbye
I sure would like to know
That you’re still on my side

Because it’s my turn
It’s my turn

It’s my turn
To start from number one
Trying to undo
Some damage that’s been done
But now it’s my turn
To reach and touch the sky
No one’s gonna say
At least I didn’t try
It’s my turn
Yes, it’s my turn
It’s my turn
It’s my turn
It’s my turn

Latest Review

Inheritance, by Lisa Barker

By Johnny Payne, author of THE HARD SIDE OF THE RIVER

Beginning with the Book of Lamentations, Barker announces suffering and the hope that is to follow, and that is the curve of this forward-looking novel. Here, religious faith meets the imperfection implied by humanism. It is the story of a little family, modest in its ambitions, looking mainly for closeness. But there are nasty wounds, some of them self-inflicted. In other hands, sexual addiction and child abuse might set the tone for a grim, Zola-esque recounting, fatalistic in outlook. The novel begins with the excitement of home runs recounted, and Dad closing a deal. Dad’s 1950 Chevrolet gleams in the son’s future, as the latter goes to wax it. Soon this gives way to Joe, the father’s, seduction of a young woman, because his practiced eye know that “all the women come to the parties full prepared for being seduced.” Things get good and sordid, just shy of a potboiler, but walking that line mostly with success. A typical scene ends with a fist in the face by a jealous real partner. Joe’s inner struggle is Faulknerian, the family curse: brilliant martyrdom. Booze and a woman at hand, but Joe in a perpetual bad mood, with sex as a “battering ram for his aggression.” There are sloppy explanations, brusque equivocations. Underneath, the current of hope simmers. Joe wants his woman to feel safe, if he can figure out how. First, he has to figure out for sure which one she is. Julie comes, her perfume mixing with the crisp high country air. Always the shadow of the father haunts him. The sex is plentiful but not explicit. Strangely, one’s precocious child could read it and not be offended. The novel is driven by dialogue, something in the nature of a screenplay. Inevitably, Joe ends up in the church confessional. Meanwhile, Wendy agonizes over smaller sins. Much of the novel is about “release,” a word that applies both to coitus and the mystics, the ecstasy of a body and that of God, two parallel paths. As this struggle continues, dark, wounding secrets about the past present themselves. There I leave the matter. You’ve have to read the novel to know where this undercurrent takes him and you. Barker’s novel deserves readers. One feels in the writing commitment, a yen to get down under the skin and find out what the characters are all about. No one is disparaged, yet no one is spared either.

20,030 Words

NaNoWriMo 2020 is complete. I exceeded my 20k word goal by thirty! I’m so very pleased.

This year I wrote the opening chapters to TAKE A CHANCE and DELIVERANCE, some heartfelt Christmas letters to my adult children, and logged many words encouraging other writers.

October and November opened up the writing world for me again as I met writers my age with my experience, joined a couple writing groups, and talked shop in those forums. I feel like I’m swimming in my old writing pond again.

Thanks to the friends that dropped me a note or posted their encouragement. I am very grateful.

Happy Holidays!

Ha Ha on Me

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

So NaNoWriMo got me started on two novels. One I sat on all October in order to start writing November 1. The other announced itself at 9PM October 31. So both are vying for my attention. I’m keeping my goal of 600 words per day. Sometimes I write far more words than that, some days I meet my goal, and some days I take the day off. This is a comfortable pace for me.

Does anyone else have a comfortable goal for daily writing? Or, do you write as the muse strikes?

Deliverance

New book coming out in 2022!

Working title: Deliverance

Working summary: Daniel Taylor and his husband Ryan are called to help Daniel’s brother, Joe, face the grip of alcoholism after a separation from his wife, Wendy.  But coming to his brother’s aid will plunge Daniel into the past where he also must face his own demons and perhaps the devil himself.

Two brothers team up to find deliverance from a childhood that still casts a long, dark shadow over their adult lives.

Working cover:

Photo by thiago japyassu from Pexels

The Danger

Image by pixabay

It started in her forties. She became very angry at her parents and found them difficult to be around. Situations and beliefs she never questioned as a child now seemed glaringly and alarmingly scary and wrong. 

Like the Halloween night, when she was eleven, her mother and grandmother stayed far too long, almost until midnight, at a friend’s house. Her dad slept in the chair in front of the television at home and could not be awakened. 

So, Rita and her little sister Jess braved the eerie night, at the witching hour, and ran panicked and frightened beyond belief when two teenagers chased them on bikes through their darkened neighborhood. Street lights and pumpkins no longer glowed. No lights within homes offered safety until, at last, one house showed a light in the kitchen window and Rita stopped at the porch, choking for breath. 

“We made it!” she gasped, feigning their arrival at the intended destination. The boys rode on. 

Then Jess, ever the songstress of truth, cried out, “But this isn’t the right place!” The boys circled back and Rita dragged Jess by the hand around and away from them and straight through a suspended chain in a driveway, at a speed she’d never run before. The chain gave way and they rounded the corner and Rita pushed hard toward that porch light while Jess peddled the air. 

They were going so fast she could hardly touch the ground. Rita banged on the door. The boys cruised nearby like sharks. The door opened, Rita blurted out what was happening, and the woman whom her mother and grandmother were visiting…burst into laughter. 

Desperate, Rita dove inside the house and stumbled with Jess into the kitchen where the full light of the overhead reassured her that she was safe at last. But her mother would have none of the story. “That’s enough,” she said. There wasn’t any sympathy or comfort. Rita and Jess were left to stand while the three women shared drinks and laughed, first about the girls, then about situations Rita didn’t think were any more funny than hers and were, in fact, quite boring. 

Her angst itched lightly, at first, with this predicament, but grew more worrisome with the passing of time and the lack of consideration for her father. 

At last they left for home, down streets that seemed less scary now that the witching hour had passed and the boys had swum off to hunt other victims. But the unstable way her mother and grandmother walked propping each other up, and the moment her mother stumbled and sat down in the gutter and the two laughed for some time, spiked a new fear with incomplete understanding that made Rita uneasy. 

She had the vaguest sense of what was happening and how events connected, but at age eleven all she could think of was getting home where everything would be normal again. 

And by the morning it had become that. Everyone was awake. Everyone was home. That terror was behind them.

Interview with Lisa Barker

When did you first start writing?

When I was fifteen, I found one of my greatest loves in life: writing. Back then I wrote romances, but they always had very emotional characters, the kind that aren’t yet prepared for a long-lasting relationship. But it wasn’t until I went through years of revising INHERITANCE that I grew and matured enough to realize the kind of transformation people with “messy” lives have to go through to be prepared for a long-lasting commitment.

What motivated you to become an indie author?

I am comfortable writing, editing and producing books myself. I like the control I have, though I have had a lot to learn in the process. So it’s taken me awhile to be on the brink of success, like with Smashwords, but the journey is worth it.

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?

The greatest joy of writing has been the response I have gotten for INHERITANCE. I’ve connected with an audience that is affected by the story in a deep way. Hearing from them about their emotional response and the request for more, has been both shockingly surprising and touchingly profound. It is the greatest thrill for an author to have readers really get what they intended when crafting the story. I still marvel at the response INHERITANCE gets. It has encouraged me to write again, after a ten year hiatus following my daughter’s death.

What is your writing process?

I listen to music, and when an emotion grips me, I write the characters and the story that I imagine that absolutely compels me to write. With TAKE A CHANCE (the working title of a new book) it’s been a bit of do-wop and Motown and SHE WILL BE LOVED by Maroon 5.

DELIVERANCE (the working title of a new book) is inspired by the music video TAKE ME TO CHURCH by Hozier.

With INHERITANCE I was heavily influenced by the Eagles and Dolby Gray’s DRIFT AWAY.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

2020 is kicking my can. Right now National Novel Writing Month, starting November 1, is my inspiration. I’m looking forward to getting to know my characters, Eloise and Jason, and seeing them through to their happy ending.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

It was about a rodeo clown and a girl that falls into the arena and in the direct path of a charging bull. Very lost and lonely people, which I can see now was inspired by clinical depression when I was a teen. It was a good story, but, alas, it is lost in the passage of time. No worries, I have new stories just waiting to see the light of day.

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?

I grew up in a close family filled with love. But there was alcoholism. Addiction defined my parents’ lives and mine. It’s the personality we shared. I also suffered from undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder, but seeking help was considered taboo.

So with that start in life, it’s no wonder why I feel the characters that I create, the inner me that tries to connect with the the outer world and the inner world of others.

It is an understatement to say that writing has been very cathartic for me.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I visit with my grown children, I photograph my cats for Instagram, I read, and I play Redecor. These things rejuvenate me and utilize my creativity in different ways that nurture my writing.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

INHERITANCE deals with addiction, domestic abuse, poverty, and alcoholism. Joe and Wendy come from childhoods that created “messy” (unhealthy) adult lives. They recognize love in each other, but they naturally have obstacles to overcome to find their happily ever after. People have requested further stories regarding these characters, but again I find myself needing to mature a bit before I have clarity of vision.

TAKE A CHANCE, the working title of the latest book I am writing, deals with mental health, divorce, and grief – definitely obstacles to overcome in order to find that happily ever after. But Eloise and Jason will find that they are stronger than they think they are.

DELIVERANCE, the working title of another book I am writing, deals with alcoholism and healing from family dysfunction as well as the things that test a strong committed relationship. Daniel and Ryan know they have what it takes for a lifelong marriage, but it will take everything they have to face Daniel’s demons.

How has Smashwords contributed to your success?

Smashwords is allowing me to develop my own niche. One of my favorite prolific and successful Smashwords authors is Ruth Ann Nordin (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ruthannnordin) who writes romance as well. She is my inspiration!

Take a Chance

New book coming out in 2022!

Working title: Take a Chance

Working summary: Eloise meets Jason in a Romance Writer’s Club that Zooms weekly. Eloise likes him but is convinced that after two failed marriages, the right thing to do is not get involved; her mental health would make it unfair for a new partner. But she explores a committed relationship in the romance novel she is writing. Perhaps the third time is a charm?

Working cover:

Photo by Valentin Antonucci