Monday, February 28, 2011

SYMMETRY - New novel by Joyce Scarbrough

‘Life is messy, clean it up,’ is a well-known sound byte from a product advertisement on television. Unfortunately, real life is more complicated, with enough twist and turns to make the most stalwart among us dizzy. In Joyce Scarbrough’s novel, Symmetry, she has written a winner focusing on the complexity of life and the many facets of human relationships.

Jessica and Lee Cassady’s life becomes more complicated when they come face-to-face with the realization that their marriage is not as perfect as it should have been. Jess has no doubt that Lee loves her, but his macho posturing has always been a source of irritation to her, and his inability to understand her needs suddenly becomes maddening when she calls his hotel room and a woman answers.

Scarbrough’s book is not your ordinary romantic potboiler, for she has combined a wonderful story with some of the problems that many people have to live with on a daily basis. Jess has a hair-pulling condition called Trichotillomania, which is one of many types of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Her book is not only entertaining, but it serves to increase public awareness of this condition, as well as the many others that make some of us ‘different’ from our friends. Having had cancer twice in my lifetime, I am well aware of support groups and what they can mean for someone suffering from afflictions beyond their control. Symmetry is well written, informative, and entertaining, and most important, it might open the eyes of many who are having trouble understanding the behavior of a loved one. The characters are real and the fast moving plot will keep you wanting more, I highly recommend this book and I suggest that you put it on your reading list. Symmetry is a novel you don’t want to miss.

Joyce's book is available at Barnes & Noble and at Amazon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Write on, and on and on . . .

There is no thrill on earth like the one a writer experiences when a book is completed. Living with characters we have created, and like immensely, is a great pleasure. The anticipation of turning them loose in the world to make additional friends is a heady experience. But I am the first to admit that there is a downside to this. Louis L’amour once said that he could sit in the busiest intersection in Los Angeles and write without any distraction. I think all of us have experienced that feeling, but what do you do when you hit the slippery slope of a finished manuscript and can’t leap into another story with the same absorption? Here is something that works for me and I hope it will work for you. I recently witnessed a good-humored competition between writers who were trying to do what Ernest Hemingway once did to win a bar bet. He said he could write a complete story in six words. His entry was:

‘For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.’

There is, indeed, a complete story in those six words as there are in many other sentences contained in the works of various authors. I call such sentences, ‘novel starters,’ because they evoke emotions and lubricate the mental channels where books are born. Here is one I gleaned from a book by Kerry Reichs:

“I’m going to miss you,” I burbled through the snot.

That sentence has the proper amount irreverence to get our attention and get the juices flowing again. Thank you, Kerry, I’m off again on another adventure . . .