First, it’s the usual ‘embarrass the family’ session. Fortunately, they are good sports and have great senses of humour, not to mention enough embarrassing stories about me should I ever overstep the mark.
Ah Spring! It’s a time of rebirth, renewal and decluttering. Okay, maybe I adlibbed the last one but it’s a task that’s long overdue in my household.
Over the school holidays, we’ve had our share of fun. Picnics in the park, walks on the beach, games and movies nights and even a stint at the cinema because some things are just better on the big screen. So when it came time to relocate a few items the kids no longer required, I didn’t think it was too much to ask for help.
The youngest couldn’t possibly give away toys she hadn’t played with in months, and in all likelihood forgotten. Clothing favourites that didn’t fit were in a similar predicament. However, they had no problem parting with the clothes they didn’t like regardless of how good they looked. But hey, what would the mother of a teenager know about fashion?
Fortunately, generosity (and a hint of persuasion) shone through. They helped me with my contribution, and toys and clothes made it to the donation box. Best of all, I can see their bedroom floors again. Now if we could just convince their father to do the same.
By the title I’m sure you’ve realised I have a ‘low’ moment to share this month, but I’m happy to say it’s not all bad news. A few months ago, I sent one of my babies out into the world – a novella I’m passionate about and would love to have made my first ‘success’ story. With much trepidation, and a cider or three, I pressed the ‘enter’ key and sent a synopsis and my first three chapters to one of my ‘ideal’ publishers.
A few weeks after that submission, everyone within a fifty-kilometre radius may have thought some experimental device had broken the sound barrier. Of course, it was just me screaming in delight because the editor asked to see the full manuscript. I’ll apologise now in case those of a more delicate nature still having a ringing sound in their ears. The reason for my relation at this early stage – not many first time submissions receive a request for the complete story. There are exceptions, but one is more likely to receive a polite rejection or receive no reply at all. So when I saw the email (and reread it several times) I released the squeal that threatened to shatter the windows in my house and probably most of my neighbours’ windows too. I’m a trifle concerned no one checked to see if a murder was in progress or if I’d won the lotto (lottery) but I’m sure that my neighbours are used to strange noises coming from this house. After all, they have heard me sing. Anyway, if that’s my reaction for a complete manuscript request, I hate to think what I’ll be like the day I actually receive ‘THE CALL’.
That’s right. It wasn’t meant to be this time. My story wasn’t strong enough to carry me through and while I’m disappointed, I’m by no means defeated. And that’s because along with my rejection email, I received some fabulous feedback (and there’s not too many publishers/editors who do that either.) She also offered to read my next submission as, although this particular story didn’t shine as brightly as I’d hoped, she could see that I had promise and she was interested in what else I had to offer – not too bad at all given the scope of things. :)
To soothe my dented ego, I lost myself in another wonderful story – Jenny Schwartz’s latest release – Kiss It Better. This is another of Ms Schwartz’s ‘Jardin Bay’ series and I’m convinced she likes to taunt me with the fact this is a fictional location because every time I read one of these stories, Jardin Bay is the one place I want to be.
The blurb - All Cassie Freedom wants to do is save the world, and she could, if only she were able to. But her dream of nursing in Africa is shattered, and she returns home to Jardin Bay, where familiarity, security, and a sense of her own failure threaten to drown her.
Dr. Theo Morrigan knows a thing or two about responsibility, leaving his own medical practice to take over a family business. He knows his mind, his future, and how he wants to live his life – until an old secret resurfaces and rocks his whole world.
Suddenly, the man who needed no one needs a broken-hearted nurse, and a nurse who thinks she’s too weak will find her own strength.
This isn’t a medical story. It’s about rebuilding one’s life after receiving devastating news and discovering life isn’t always what one thinks it is. And that’s something to which we can all relate. As the story progresses, the characters learn their strengths and weaknesses, finding balance in their relationship through a series of damning events and long held secrets suddenly revealed. When life knocked Cassie sideways and returned to her family home in Jardin Bay, Theo was there for her, and when he needed someone to help him cope with a desperate business dealing in Melbourne, Cassie had blossomed in strength and vitality to provide the same support for him. Both characters had flawed family members threatening their relationship and the way they saw themselves and this story overcame those obstacles brilliantly.
I love stories where the relationships are equal and women are capable of standing up for themselves and this story was no exception – which is another reason I love Ms Schwartz’s stories so much – that and did I mention I want to live in Jardin Bay?
And now, as ‘they’ say, it’s back to the drawing board. I have a story to fix, and since I can’t grow a moustache for Movember, I’ll be joining the national writing month challenge instead.
Until next time... :)