Are You Lost?

If you’re looking for Cape Cod Magic, you’re not lost. I’ve made some changes on my blog. I still love the magic of Cape Cod, I just don’t live there anymore. You might notice my profile picture is different–more mature? My husband and I live in Florida now. It doesn’t have the magic of Cape Cod, but it sure has lovely winters!

Just as I was overcoming the grief of my sister’s passing, my Mom decided to follow her. I know we all have suffered grief. You just have to wait it out. It steals your creativity.

During the time I was not able to write, I began to revise two of my early novels. Revision is apparently in a different section of your brain. I’ve become more philosophical about writing. I love it. I admit I don’t love marketing. I thought I would try to send out 100 queries for THE FRENCH REVELATION and keep blogging on the results. I gave that up after the first few rejections. I don’t want to convince anyone that my book stinks. So I’ve been thinking. I will be looking for the truths behind traditional publishing and self-publishing. The truth about what agents look for besides what you wrote. The truth about sites that spring up to assist indie publishers.

This is my new quest. The holy grail of publishing truths.

I still love Cape Cod.

My books don’t stink!

A WRITER’S CHOICE OF SETTINGS

If you have never visited the coast of Maine, you should add it to your travel dream list. I have traveled to or lived near many coastal areas in the United States. The ocean is magical everywhere, but Maine is special. No other seashore can match the rocky coast of Maine. The combination of spruce/fir fragrance and the salty/seaweed smell of the ocean is unmatched in my experience. You must go. The little island of Southport, Maine is the setting of part of my novel, A Marriage to Die For.

Write what you know. In the case of Southport, I lived there for two glorious years. I knew it well. When I reread that novel, I can hear and feel the beauty coming out in my descriptions of the area, and it still gives me pleasure.

My next book, The French Revelation, takes place in Normandy, France. I had the plot sorted out in my head before I traveled to France with my husband and good friends. I carefully noted each detail of the setting during the time I spent there. The old seaport town of Honfleur, Normandy is another place anyone would be fortunate to experience. Besides the lure of the French language, the fabulous food, the seaside—no ocean smell to match Maine, I must say—the ancient churches, wonderful architecture, and great shops are all in this town. It was such fun to be living the footsteps my protagonist would walk. And again, as I revise and polish the novel, I relive that fabulous trip.

Photo by Luca Garnerone/Pixabay

I have always admired the amazing settings other authors have created from their imaginations. But for me, I write what I know.

What are some of your favorite settings in books you have written or read?

The Secret Violence

I had two poignant experiences when I began writing A Marriage to Die For several years ago. I was in a writing group at my local library. We exchanged pages of our manuscript for critique. On the way out of the library, after the group read my pages of AMTDF, a man wordlessly handed me a sheet of paper. He had written me a poem called, Even Though She Didn’t Know, She Wrote. The gist of the poem was the deep pain of his own experiences as a battered husband. I was shocked.

The second incident came later. A person I had met at a different writer’s group sent me an email about a death of a woman in Provincetown, whose killer was never identified. (at least, at that time). Someone anonymously wrote a poem about her death and posted copies all over town.

Here it is:

THE UNDEFENDED VICTIM

For me, no gavel hammers

The scales were never weighed

My crime was that of a Victim,

My life was the price I paid.

And when my life was taken,

Why weren’t my rights read?

And the statement “Overruled”

When they pronounced me dead?

I’ll never hear my rights

Nor take the witness stand

No attorneys to defend me,

My fate was in a killer’s hand.

But oh, that I could take the stand

If they could witness my last breath,

Could they live with the terror

That I want through in death?

If they could hear my pleading cries

And see the hatred in that face,

At last, we would know,

The scales had been balanced in this case.

If I could, I’d tell the jury

Exactly how it was.

The fear and the pain that I went through

Struck down without a cause.

I have had other encounters since the book was published. My editor wrote:

Gerri LeClerc shines a spotlight on a silent but deadly epidemic in our suburbs and townhouses all over our nation.”

I can only hope this novel encourages any person in an abuse situation to seek help.

Writing is Good for You

You may remember my Yellow Dress blog. I took quite a sabbatical to regroup after my sister left us. But now I can laugh again about our times together. I am becoming active in the writing world again, currently in the process of revising a book called, The French Revelation. 

As part of this renewal intended to regenerate my creativity, I recently attended a class. The instructor told us she was compressing a semester on writing into a two-hour session. She told us to think of it as a mammogram. (I’m assuming most of my readers are women, and that you all groaned just hearing the word.) The class, even the men in the group, laughed out loud at her joke.

Then today, I was compressed! Three or four women at a time came in and went out of our little waiting room. All of us wearing soft pink tops. It occurred to me that this was an opportunity to study humanity for my writing. I put my book down and began to watch. Posture. Facial expressions. Gait. Anonymity attempts. I engaged in conversation with one woman. I noticed her accent, her curly, silver hair, the size of her purse.

And then it came to me. I am back! And every word I write or revise makes me happy.

Book Launch K15

A Marriage to Die For free eBook

A Marriage to Die For eBook will be free from 4/14 to 4/18! It’s a suspense novel that I hope you will enjoy. So grateful to all family and friends who helped bring the book to fruition.

Find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Marriage-Die-Gerri-LeClerc-ebook/dp/B07BZY829K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1523458393&sr=8-1&keywords=a+marriage+to+die+for+by+gerri+leclerc

If you’re brave, will you write a review on Amazon? Thanks!

A Writer Revived

 

It’s been a while. If you read my blog, The Yellow Dress, it may have touched your heart. You may have also suffered a loss that shifted your whole being for a time. If so, I empathize.

Writing has always helped me through a hard time. If I wrote about it, the words seemed to steal away some of the sting. But grief-stricken words couldn’t remove the pain of losing my sister. It took time to change the nature of the pain enough to move on.

I was in the middle of writing the third book in the Knoll Cottage trilogy when my sister died. Now, over a year later, I wanted to go back to writing Dear Bella, but when I began to work on it, it was clear I wasn’t quite ready. Instead, my wonderful critique partner and some great friends worked with me to revise and update a book I had written earlier, A Marriage to Die For.

I am going to publish that book in about two weeks. I am going to offer it as a free eBook on Amazon for a period of time. It’s a story that is all over the news today. My book is about a battered wife who plans to escape from her husband. He, though, is a DEA special agent with exceptional recourses at hand to find her.

It’s difficult to understand why it’s so hard for someone to escape a situation of abuse. It’s counterintuitive, why not just go? Get a restraining order, pack up, and leave. But there are emotional reasons, love may still exist, certainly fear, there could be financial issues, or children involved.

How hard would it be to walk away from every single aspect of your life right now? What if your very life depended on it?

I’ll send out a quick blog when the eBook is available. I love writing those words. I’m back!

 

A writer’s Dilemma

Is Anyone Paying Attention?

I’m about to publish my third book. Writer’s work hard to convey a story, using words like an artist uses a brush. As an author, I sometimes deal with hard situations: addiction, illness, crime, but I strive to keep my fiction honest. I strive not to be offensive. Though there is often a villain in my stories, I personally add the sweet with the sour, with a touch of romance, or maybe a good ghost.

Indie writers have a problem getting their books out there. The top necessary on everyone’s list is social media. I am on Twitter and Facebook. Or I shouldn’t say “on” since I rarely have time to chat online. I am writing a new novel; working on front matter, interior pages, and cover design for another book I hope to publish before Thanksgiving.

This morning, I read an article that exposed the rapier sharp edge of, in this case, Twitter. Tweets were published about a man who recently fell from a high pedestal of success and lost his job because of a lewd photo he allegedly sent to female colleagues several years ago. Shortly after the story broke, his son died of a drug overdose. Twitter fiends expressed their vile satisfaction that this man’s son’s death was fair payback for his infraction.

Is sexual harassment equal to the loss of a child? Don’t get me wrong, sexual harassment is bad. Period. But are we going overboard with political correctness when it’s okay to hit grieving parents over the head with “justice” and “fair karma” tweets about their son’s death?

I have read many mean and nasty tweets or posts that travel through my social media screens. I’ve also belly-laughed at great posts, shed a tear at tender videos, heard from a friend I haven’t seen in years. Right now, I am weighing the benefit of social media for me.

On this sacred day, 9-11, when we remember and grieve for the loss of so many lives, the way we all joined together in our heartbreak, I have to ask: Is anyone else hearing the toilet flush on civility?

The Yellow Dress

Source: The Yellow Dress

The Yellow Dress

Easter

If you’ve read either novel in my Knoll Cottage Series, you know I’ve included a bit of mystic. In fact, there may be a ghostie in that sun porch. I do believe there are angels and spirits all around us.
My sister, Pat, died in November.
She was a devout Catholic, and had a magnificent voice. Singing mostly classical religious works was her passion. And she sang in every Catholic Church choir she could.
Pat didn’t worry about my far flung beliefs in many religions. She never doubted me when I told her my cardinal’s message story or other spiritual events in my life. She loved me dearly and I her.
The summer Missing Emily was launched, Pat and her husband came to Cape Cod to attend the book launch party some dear friends gave for me. Pat and I had coordinated our outfits for the party, but it turned out to be a killer hot day. Instead of the lined eyelet dress I’d planned, I wore a deep pink, print sundress. My sister came up the stairs in a bright yellow sleeveless dress. “It was too hot to wear the other one,” she told me. We laughed about both of us changing our minds.
I have a wonderful close-up picture of her in that yellow dress. The expression on her face is pensive, neither happy nor sad. It has an element of listening to something important. Since she was always smiling and laughing, when I saw that intriguing picture, I printed it out and framed it.
Just yesterday, I asked my brother-in-law if I could have that yellow dress. I want to hang it in my closet so she’s with me every day.
And then, this happened.
It was Easter and I hadn’t gone to Mass for some time. Most of our family knew how much Pat loved the church, and wanted us lost souls to return. I couldn’t yet. On the best of days, hymns make me emotional, and I knew if I went to church and heard the music, I would cry. But it was Easter, so my husband and I went to church.
I enjoy watching all the children dressed up in their Easter finery; one little girl with a wide brimmed hat made everyone smile. At one quiet moment, I looked over at a beautiful domestic scene. A Dad was tying the bow on the back of his daughter’s dress. Her dress was bright yellow and sleeveless. Her mother wore a bright yellow, sleeveless dress, also, with a deep pink sweater over her shoulders.
It took me a few seconds to realize, my sister was letting me know she was there. I cried in church!
My Dad died several years ago. I often think of them together in heaven. So you see, the tying of the dress bow was doubly significant.
In case I had any doubt about my sister’s presence, she drove the message home. As we lined up for Communion, two women went before me in bright yellow sweaters. Guess what the female Eucharistic minister was wearing. A bright yellow jacket.
Pat wanted to be sure I got her message. I did dear sister…

A WRITER IS TENSE ABOUT TENSE

Throw the book out?

I am revising one of my earlier novels with the plan to publish it as an eBook. It’s the story of a woman married to a DEA agent, who is abusive. How can she leave a DEA agent, who has endless resources, so he can never find her?

If you’ve read either of my published books, you know emotion is strong in my stories.

As I revise A Marriage to Die for, I don’t feel the inTENSE emotion I’d like to portray. I rewrote one of my protagonist’s (Jane) scenes using the first person, present TENSE, and sent it to my critique partner, author Sandra Fontana. She really liked the effect.

Valiant and daring as I am, I plan to write all of Jane’s scenes this way. The reader will be right in the moment with her, be in the throes of her TENSE situations, share her deep emotions.

On the other hand, I want some distance from the DEA Ace, Brock. Although, I’d like the reader to know what he’s up to—to know things Jane does not. All of his scenes will be in the third person, past TENSE. As will other characters in the story.

Wish me luck. I may be breaking some rules here. Since I’m planning to offer the book free on Amazon for a limited time, read it, and let me know what you think in a review. I’m aiming for a few months. Sign up on my website: http://www.gerrileclerc.com, and I’ll send you a newsletter when A Marriage to Die for is available. Then I will blog on your responses.