Tag Archives: fiction

Loving and Laughing – the Real Midas Touch?

Yesterday I had the honor of receiving another very kind review of “Dawn at Last”, one written by Fran Gold. Overall, I’ve really happy with the reviews of the book . . . actually overwhelmed by it all, and especially by this one. Here is a quote from Fran’s review:

Mr. Grodecki has accomplished much with this novel. He kept me entertained with a great story, added some humor which I always find to be a must have, some out of the ordinary sex scenes, and art. He writes of “an ongoing, unattainable fantasy” and while I am not sure there is “pure love” out there in this world, he made me hopeful that there could be.

It is most gratifying when you read about your writing and realize that it touched someone in a very nice way. It’s humbling, an amazing feeling on its own. And helping someone laugh, even at the serious stuff, is perhaps the most rewarding of all.

I do believe in the magic of laughter, and it’s special place in the heart of love, and that’s all that needs to be said.

So here is a link to the review, followed by a wonderful video about love and laughter – a tribute to a pair who seemed to make it all look so easy, and natural. I’m not sure why, but it does seem to tie in nicely with the review, though the life story of the couple in this video is very different than my book. Still, in the end, as the man in the video says, “. . . a love story and it’s a good book.”

 

 

PS – I think there may be a touch of Grace in the character of Donna Belauche, though she seems to hide it well!

 

This Special Edition Has Some Special Additions!

Abstract Art by Lawrence Grodecki

My Sweet Dreams

The oddest thing has happened. It began happening nine years ago and last night it became official.

Back in 2005 is when I began exploring digital painting. Even then this new, personal style was emerging – a combination of abstract drawing, then scanning various things from nature, then more drawing on-screen, and then fusing it all with light as my palette instead of paint.

When your art is done on a screen instead of paper or canvas, essentially that’s what your doing – working with light instead of paint. There’s actual quite a difference and it has to do with light and our perception of it. Art done on a screen is viewed with emitted light. In other words the light comes from behind the picture and towards your eyes. That’s very different than a canvas painting, where the light is reflected back from the picture to your eyes.

When Daydreams Come To Light

When I first started I knew that some day I would need to sell some of my art in order to keep to doing more of it. I wanted to make it as affordable as possible, so naturally I thought about electronic formats. I used to daydream about large, flat screens hanging on walls, where fans of my art could look at a wide selection of it, have it hanging there on their wall, switch it, or turn it off and on at their will.

In that way there is no need to print the digital creations – the pieces would look fantastic in the medium – and it would be very affordable original art! This is really very similar to what is happening to book publishing in the age of electronic books, though the price difference with the art is even more pronounced.

Last night that dream came true when I published a special illustrated edition of my novel, Dawn at Last. Instead of wall-mounted screens you can see the art on hand-held ones, on laptops, tablets and so on.

Eleven thousand words, all but one are titled!

There are eleven original pieces in this edition, each selected to go with various parts of the story. They are all set for full-page viewing and placed at the end of selected chapters. I didn’t just whip these up over the weekend. It’s been a nine-year work in progress. In fact there are a few pieces that have more hours behind them than the novel, and that was a four-month process for the first draft!

I’m not showing you any of the art here, but soon I’ll be announcing a surprise about these eleven pieces and other art that I’ve created. However, the picture at the top is somewhat representative of what’s in the special edition – it also links to the book on Amazon. The picture at the bottom links to the same book on Kobo.

So there you have it. Almost a decade ago, in one of those serious family discussions about politics and other world problems, I made a promise that someday I was going to quit my job and doing a little writing. I did quit, then did a lot of art, and then a little writing . . . I’m glad I did so.

Abstract Art by Lawrence Grodecki - Anyone for Chess

Anyone For Chess

picture of curves - horizontal

A magic cure for head colds & writer’s block!

If writer’s block is a form of real estate, move over Donald Trump . . . and hello Nirvana!

I’ve read about this block before but have never really experienced it, until recently. Being such a fan of Einstein, I’ll take his advice and think for myself . . . so far I’ve only come up with a 7 step program, take it for what it’s worth!

1. Take drugs, lots of drugs. It seemed to work for Hunter S. Thompson and others more discreet in the golden age of opium . . . hello Confucius, you silly man!

2. I’ve been taking drugs for weeks now, the stuff for stuffy noses . . . no, not cocaine but Neo Citran, the kind that makes you sleepy. I used to write in my dreams but with this stuff my dreams seem to be leading to a blank sheet, except for a little white-off in spots. In other words, take a nap.

3. When you wake up read something erotic, then take some more drugs, then dream, etc.

4. The next time you wake up take a shower. Have something to eat. Then read something erotic, take some more drugs, then dream, etc.

5. If you have properly followed the first 4 steps, eventually you should be able to write anything. In that case just sit down and write anything, review it, print it and chuck it. Then read something erotic, take some drugs, dream, etc.

6. Throw the drugs in the garbage.

7. Write about your childhood, when you were six years old, but make it more erotic than anything you’ve recently read. Go online and find a new editor who takes samples, in order to show you her skills and style. Send her your childhood masterpiece. While waiting for her response, retrieve the garbage from step #6 and repeat steps #1 through 5.

There you have it. This may not work for everyone. It really hasn’t worked for me, but they say practice makes perfect. Then again, I was called perfect years ago. That really threw me off. I quickly realized there was nowhere to go but down, and that makes me drift back to step #4 . . . oye, the life of a struggling writer!

So for now I’ll rest on my laurels. They are currently resting on StoryCartel. It’s a great site for readers, ones looking for fresh material and free books to read. StoryCartel asks you to help the authors by writing book reviews, featuring what you like on blogs, etc.

FYI – that’s a different “etc.” than mentioned in the 7-step program – hopefully!

 

Stand Pat and go ask Alice

This post is going to be sweet and simple, hopefully in the style of this classy video interview with Alice Munro. I’m not sure if she speaks for every writer. She certainly speaks for me, especially when she talks about the joy of writing, the search for at least a glimpse of something universal, and of the importance of the reader’s experience.

Having said that, I’d just like to thank one reader in particular – Patricia Williams-Forgenie – for a kind book review. She’s such an optimistic person, she’s been through so much, and I admire her almost to the point of envy. She seems to be acutely aware of what a poison cynicism can be, something I battle constantly . . . it’s the opposite of inspiration. She’s all about inspiration.

Now it’s back to daydreams . . . in this one I’m wondering how an interview/ discussion would go between Patricia and Alice . . . why is it that this image of two little girls is the first thing to come to mind?

What Happens When Players Coach?

My first love, sports-wise, was baseball. Then there were the movies . . . oddly enough, this video really touches on much of what my novel’s about . . . all those confusing signals! What’s a player to do? It seems to be a great complement to the book description below.

This is an older description, but still very relevant, though some of the names have been changed since it was first posted. One of my readers – someone who has helped immensely – convinced me that the book is very much a romance. I can’t deny that, though this was never the intent, yet it seems that way it is.

I hope I’m not “making the wrong mistake” here, using a bit of a baseball analogy . . . thinking of Cupid as the pitcher . . . I’m still wondering if she cheats . . . hiding some of that slippery stuff under the tip of her cap! By the way, yeah, there’s plenty of Yogi Berra logic in Dawn at Last, but no worries, he’s just the catcher!

So here’s the old book description . . . and if you should ever read Dawn at Last, may she throw plenty of slow, sinking sliders!

An Older Description of Dawn at Last

Robin Belcour appears to have it all. She is a specialized therapist who handpicks her clients – all men who adore her – the only way she will have it. Managing a life for contentment is very easy when one shuts the door to love, an apparent necessity given her many secrets. Yet something haunts her . . . three recurring words . . . bound and impatient.

It would be unfair to label her as the protagonist in this tale . . . after all, there are five others playing games of their own, but all on the same field.

In these individual games of love, it seems that Cupid has put away the arrows. Instead, she has taken to the mound . . . playfully dishing out a menu of tempting curve balls, changeups, forkballs, sinking sliders, and the occasional screwball. The half dozen players that step up to the plate have varied backgrounds – apparently they’re allowed to swing away as much as they want.

Fate doesn’t mind – if Cupid’s the pitcher, then it’s safe to say that Fate is the manager, keeping an eye on a scoreboard that has no numbers! Together, Cupid and Fate make it all look like an art form, something new, but old at the same time. In a way, all the art becomes part of the game, fans and all!

Fate lets Cupid toss out all kinds of pleasant surprises. The players miss the signals, trying so hard to second guess this pitcher of opportunity. They seem to be their own worse enemies: a house painter who is really a dreamer, two very smart waitresses who sometimes live the dream, an eccentric art enthusiast, a psychologist who has nightmares of her past, and a lover of gardening . . . a man who only wants to make dreams come true . . . but for others.

It doesn’t seem to matter whether one is 24 or 52 in this pack . . . they intertwine in what is mostly a humorous calamity of mistaken affections. Perhaps only love itself can straighten out their trials of error. She masterfully dances around the mayhem, even letting these mysterious tulips become part of the dance . . . in more ways than one. There is the mystery of their tangled lives, but above that, there is the mystery of a different kind . . . of pure joy, of the greatest dance of all . . . will any of them ever learn?

The younger ones seem to make the complex simple, when it comes to matters of love and affection. The older ones are trapped in the complexities of their own doing – yet they thirst for something more simple – perhaps a little less drama?

This is very much a story of love – much more than a love story – right from the first word to the last one. It’s a wonderful, heart-felt journey of discovery, the coming to terms with one’s past – for some – and one’s present and future – for all. It is not a matter of lover conquering all, it’s more like she’s watching and laughing . . . by the time it’s over, you may wonder whether the dreams know more than the dreamers . . . .

Be My Guest

DAL_1Gplus

When I first released my debut novel it was kind of thrilling – the feeling, not the book – it’s exciting but not a thriller!

Back then I didn’t realize how difficult it is have one’s book “discovered”. Naive I suppose, but I’m glad I was . . . without a certain amount of child-like innocence I’m not sure the book would have ever been written. I like to think there is plenty of that naivete throughout Dawn at Last, which is odd given the rather serious and adult themes . . . undercurrents.

It felt much like preparing a fine meal, ten years in the making, and then opening the door to hall, ready to serve up a feast. I like to cook for someone special, one of life’s simple pleasures. While I wrote the novel because I just had to, it was never just for me but rather for a guest of one. Often I’d think of one person reading it, but no one in particular. I can’t imagine writing in any other way.

A Playful Reminder

Last week I came across something on YouTube that reminded me of this joy of launching my novel. It’s an old Disney clip, from that string of musical stories that came out just while my dear ones were my little ones. Watching them with my girls was very much like being a kid again, at least for awhile.

Aside from the launching of the book though, it’s quite remarkable how this short musical piece also ties in to much of the content of the book – in a condensed kind of way.

There is this issue of serving – giving with no expectations other than the pleasure of another – turning work into play? There is the curious combination of a little clock and a candle, an odd combination to say the least! For me clocks give a false perception of time, while with candles – within the flame – there is something timeless.

There is fine French dining, plenty of dancing, reasons to pop the cork, something about flowers and even tea. To top it all off, there is only one guest, and it seems an inquisitive one, delighted by the feast. She’s very much an individual, as are all six of the main characters in Dawn at Last.

Oopsy Daisy!

The funny thing is that perhaps this individuality comes out the most when they all sit down to one meal, or should I say when they all try to work together in preparing it? Now that I think of it, that Ben guy is smarter than I thought . . . he got away with simply pouring a little champagne . . . kind of like me getting out of doing the dishes!

I hope your week is full of “Oopsy daisies”, so please be my guest and take a few minutes to enjoy this fine dining experience.

My Smashwords Author Interview

abstract art

Did Knee

Smashwords has this really nice feature. Authors can select from a list of questions and provide answers that form an interview. There’s also the option of selecting your own questions. It’s a great way to explain one’s work, much easier than trying to do it in an essay or a blog post.

Rather than send you to my Smashwords page, I’ve included the interview here, just below. If you have questions of your own, please feel free to use the reply link and ask away . . . just don’t ask about my radio, okay?

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Is it true that you write naked?

 Now why does this question remind me of Marilyn Monroe? There was all those reporters asking her is she has anything on when she goes to sleep. She once gave me this fantastic response, “Did I have something on? Of course I did, I had the radio on!”

My writing doesn’t punch the clock, except perhaps when I’m writing about something timeless. I haven’t worn a watch in over a decade. I’m not always writing, but when I do it can be noon as easily as the middle of the night. When I actually sit down and type is another story. My mind is very active – sometimes too busy – I get lost in my thoughts. When that happens I may just as well be naked. But then, even with our clothes on, aren’t we all pretty much that way?

 What is the greatest joy of writing for you?

 I have a strong need for finding a creative outlet. It really is a passion and a very satisfying one. I’m an artist as well. While I’ve always felt that I would do a little writing some day, there were times that I didn’t think the joy of creating art could be found in writing. I’m so glad to find out that I was wrong! It seems storytelling is a bit of a gift for me, and moving people, making them happy, giving them something to think about . . . this process is one of my great joys in living.

What do your fans mean to you?

When I hear from a fan, when she tells me what the book has meant to her, that can go right to the heart. It’s one thing to write something, hoping that it affects someone in a very positive way – it’s quite another to find out about that when it actually happens. While I don’t need that kind of feedback for motivation, it certainly does help. It’s much the same with my art. Sometimes I ask myself, “Why bother, aside from my own joy in the process?” Then a few people come along and tell me how it has moved them somehow, and I know it’s not just about me, that it is simply something worth doing, and so I continue.

How do  you approach cover design?

 I’m a firm believer that the cover shouldn’t matter. I also know that from a marketing perspective, it is important, especially in terms of catching people’s attention, and even more so for an unknown talent. As an artist, it is a different kind of challenge, and I couldn’t be more pleased in finally coming up with a cover that matches the book in both content and tone. I guess I’m a bit of a tease, and my cover is a gorgeous tease, but also it’s an honest one. It’s also a little mysterious, as it’s supposed to be!

What is your writing process?

Basically it comes down to elements and rules. While I’ve internalized much of the “Element of Style”, I still refer to it in a pinch. I’ve been using it for over 30 years now. I’ve studied all kinds of writing manuals over the years, though it seems the best ones have to do with writing advertising copy. Those books really do teach one how to write concisely, yet effectively. As for rules, once again I lean towards simplicity. I follow W. Somerset Maugham’s teachings, something I stumbled upon over 20 years ago, “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

Funny how it works. I read his “Of Human Bondage” in high school and now after all this time I begin my novel with three words, “Bound and impatient.” It seems like my characters must be somewhat like Maugham, just trying to figure out the rules of life are as they move along. One of them wants to be a writer.

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

First of all, when I’m writing that is almost the only thing I do. Then there is the time spent on marketing, which actually takes up more time than the writing, at least for now, as an unknown independent author. When I’m not doing something book-related, by far my favorite activity is my art. Between the two that doesn’t leave much time, and that time is spent mostly with family, a little reading, watching a good movie, going for walks, trying to make the odd person laugh or smile – mostly strangers – or just being a pain in the ass for someone – mostly friends.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

 At my age, and almost without exception, there is this incredible urge to pee. Not to pee? That is out of the question!

Is there anything you want to say specifically about Dawn at Last?

 The most frustrating aspect of trying to describe the book concerns this issue of genre. I never gave it much thought until after the book was finished. It really crosses a number of genres, and I can’t find one where there’s a really snug fit. I really wish “Adult bedtime stories” would become a genre. That’s perhaps the best tag I could put on it, in a few words. My hope is that people will read the first few chapters and then decide if it fits for them. It really is one of those books that kind of grows on you as it moves along, so if you enjoy the first 10%, it only gets better.

What are you working on next?

 When I was about 2/3 done Dawn at Last it occurred to me that this could easily turn into a trilogy and I was quite excited about that. Since finishing the book I’ve vacillated on that notion, but readers keep telling me that I must continue the story. So given that, and my joy in cooking, for now I am stewing!

The characters make it easy to continue the story, but they also make it more difficult to keep them out of trouble. After all, there is only so much an author can do to protect the likes of Dawn and Sunni and Andrea. The trouble I see them getting into down the road is already starting to piss me off, and it doesn’t look like the men in their lives are going to help them too much, though I’m sure they will try their best.

Is it true that you once looked like Brad Pitt?

 Well yes, so I’ve been told, but you have to consider the source. She was only about 11 at the time, one of my two daughters, and the comment came shortly before her birthday . . . such a clever little girl! They are both gifted in their own ways . . . remarkable young ladies . . . now much quicker than their father. By that I mean it took me about 10 years to finally explain to my little one that since I’m older than him, in fact he looks a little like me. To clarify though, the actual statement was, “You know dad, if you had hair you’d look just like Brad Pitt!”

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