Archive for June, 2011

Thank you for your webmail!

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

     It is such a pleasure to read your webmail each day.  Thank you for taking the time to write comments, and welcome to my website!

     Now that summer is rapidly approaching, and the end of school, (even for the elementary school students who attend classes the longest), is just two weeks away, many of my friends and their children have been talking about summer reading.  It made me think that I would review for you and them some of my own books that I believe you would all enjoy reading during vacation time.

     I know, when I read a book while on vacation, I want it to have substance, but I also don’t want it to be too long.  In fact, if I could complete it during a long, lazy summer afternoon, that would be just perfect.  

     All of my books fit that description: substance but brevity.  Except for my children’s books and a short but quite surprising biography  of Robert Browning and his wife, Elizabeth Barrett, (all of which are extremely short)  my books are over one hundred pages in length, but shorter than 250 pages.  To me, that is an appropriate length for the plot and theme of the books to be developed.

     My most recently published novel is entitled “33’s Theo”, published in 2011.  It was created, in a sense,  through nostalgia, imagination and curiosity.   When I was at Harvard summer school back in the mid-1960’s, I met several really interesting people.  One of them was an attractive electrical engineer, who became a good friend of mine  that summer and even for the following year when we corresponded with each other.

     Once the following summer, when I attended a writer’s conference at Bread Loaf Mountain, Vermont,  he visited me there.  We took long walks, went out on a date one evening and then decided to say goodbye since neither of us believed in long-distance  relationships.  

     Just a year later, I met a wonderful man, whom I married a few years later.  Then, somewhere down the proverbial road of life, I discovered that a family member had actually dated the engineer’s sister when he was in Boston years earlier.  What a small world it is, I reflected!  And then I pretty much forgot him until my writer’s mind drew him out years and years later.

        Yes, I decided recently to write a novel in which an attractive widow from New York returns to Massachusetts over forty years after having attended summer school there in 1965.   Isn’t it interesting that she just happens to meet  the son of that engineer from so long ago through finding an old ham radio in a house on the Cape, where she and her friend are house-sitting.    What happens next introduces the reader to all kinds of exciting and unexpected possibilities.  In reality, the handsome engineer, thirteen years my senior, had never been married when I met him and had not fathered a child either, but in my writer’s mind, anything was indeed possible. 

      Therefore, the story is quite entertaining and rather suspenseful.  I included characters modeled after my step-children and grandchildren as well.  Even the personality of a close friend was used as model for the protagonist’s best friend, Susan, a successful real estate broker.  Prototypes of my late husband, Nick, and my husband of twenty-two years, Manny, are included, too.  I am sure other writers also inculcate personalities of those they love into the characters about whom they write.  It certainly works well for me.

     I enjoyed so much including within the plot of the book a romantic trip to Walden Pond and a visit to Harvard Yard.  The main character and her real estate friend also visit London , where they have a whirlwind vacation, ending in quite a shock for Shelly, the protagonist.  I have read my own novel at least three times, and I still enjoy it.  I hope you will, too.

     Since I am taking so long in reviewing my books, I will discuss one more in this post and add a few more reviews in the future.  My second book to review tonight is entitled “Searching for the Sunny Side”, published in 2010.  The protagonist is modeled after my dorm supervisor at Cortland State College some forty years ago.  She was an amazing young woman, whom I admired greatly but never really got to know as a friend.

     However, in my novel, Sunny, the main character, (modeled after my dorm supervisor), becomes a close friend of Winona, my character.  In fact Sunny, Winona, and Marianne, (Winona’s talented and beautiful roommate) become friends for life.

     I never knew Sunny’s background, of course, but that was not any kind of impediment for my imagination.  I created a complete persona for Sunny, and it was so much fun doing so!  Although having to cope with the loss of her mother in childbirth and  the abandonment of a  father who buried his depression in the bottom of a glass of Scotch, Sunny’s indomitable character gave her the strength to keep moving through the challenges of life.  She met with success most of the time, but even when there was failure in her life, her faith in God carried her through.

     There are certain supporting characters that greatly enhance the novel.  Among them are Aunt Viv, her late mother’s younger sister, and Uncle Sid, Aunt Viv’s understanding and compassionate husband.  Her aunt and uncle are the parents Sunny never really had.

          Another wonderful character is Phil, the manager of the student union in cortland, and a psychology major who is working on his master’s degree at nearby Cornell.   The conflict of a love triangle presents itself when Phil introduces Sunny to his friend, Warren, an English professor, whose good looks and charismatic personality prove irresistible to Sunny.  (Of course, Warren is very much like an English professor, whose class I enjoyed very much at Cortland, and whom I never dated.)  Does Sunny choose the man who really loves her?  Does she even know the real meaning of love and friendship?

     “Searching For the Sunny Side” follows Sunny’s journey through maturityand  motherhood as life becomes her teacher.   Does she eventually make the right decisions and find the love that she so greatly deserves?

     I hope my reviews of these two novels motivate you to read them as e-books or conventional books.    Remember to check them out first on Amazon(www.amazon.com) and Red Lead Books(www.redleadbooks.com). 

     Until the next post,

                                                                         Cheryl