Excerpt Sunday 17

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I thought I might be running out of novels I’ve written to take excerpts from, but then I remembered this one. I wrote this last year or maybe even the year before. It’s only 175 pages so I am giving you just the intro. It’s titled Connections.

 

The story I am about to tell is unbelievable, which is not to say it isn’t true, because it is. Everything I am about to relay really happened, you are just liable to think I’m nuts when you hear about it.

It began two years ago, shortly after the death of my twin brother, Mac. Before you jump to conclusions, and think, oh she must be crazy with grief and that’s why this story doesn’t, or won’t make sense, let me stop you right there. I loved Mac with all my heart, but that is not what this is about. We were not those twins who had to do everything together, or who knew what the other was going to say before they said it. We were fiercely independent, even if that’s not how the world wanted us to be.

From the day we were born we were considered one. My parents were not expecting twins. They were broke at the time, and instead of spending money on ultrasounds and prenatal visits to the doctor, they chose to spend what little money they had, filing for divorce. They didn’t even come up with a second name. When we were born they had only one name they could agree on, McKenzie, which they had decided would work for either a boy or a girl. Shocked by the two of us, they simply split it, naming me Kenzie and my brother, Mac.

So Mac was in New York at the time of his death, pursuing a girl of course, by the name of Jennifer Christianson. Mac always fell for unobtainable girls, and to his credit, he always won them over. Then he would tire of them and fall madly, deeply, in love with someone else. It was a pattern he’d learned from my mother who has been married six times and counting. Jennifer was the lead singer of the band Rollover, when he first became infatuated with her. She was also engaged, but that apparently hadn’t stopped either one of them from becoming involved. On that fateful night they were both drunk, and taking a walk through Central Park after Jennifer’s boyfriend had come across them kissing in a hallway. Mac climbed up on a bridge/walkway to make a point, fell, and cracked his head on the pavement below.

I knew the minute it happened. Not because of any freaky twin super connection, but because I saw Mac looking confused, standing in a crowd across from me, at a time when I knew he couldn’t possibly be in the same state as me, let alone the same room. I was ironically enough, at a concert by The Killers, in Los Angeles. Mac had called me from New York two hours earlier to ask if I was going to do anything special for my/our thirtieth birthday, because Jennifer and everyone else he knew, thought it was weird that we weren’t going to be together.

I closed my eyes, but very clearly heard him say, “Oh this is messed up!” When I reopened my eyes he was gone, so I did my best to dismiss it. The band was playing Brightside, one of my favorites. I pushed any weirdness away, reasoning that someone else had been speaking, and that the guy I had seen had obviously just been someone who looked like Mac. The rest of the concert was fantastic, and afterwards my friends and I went to The House of Pancakes to make pigs of ourselves, while debating the highlights of the show.

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You Just Never Know

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It kind of blows my mind that this post, Strange Reviews that I considered not writing, is the one that has been seen all over the world. I guess it just goes to show that if there is one thing we all have in common, it’s how strange things are.

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Strange Reviews

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As you may or may not know I considered writing this post last week, but went with a Friday Visual post instead. Still, Arlee said he’d be curious to hear what I had to say, so what the heck. On a Hot August Afternoon was first published in June of 2012, and over the next several months I collected reviews. I can’t remember the exact number but then Amazon went through that phase where they took down various reviews for seemingly no reason. I ended up with ten, and it stayed at ten for a long time.

Last week I happened to notice it said I had 13 reviews, so I looked to see what had been added. There were suddenly two reviews from last year and one from April of this year. I’ll be honest and say none were great, all falling in the 2 & 3 star range. But when I read them, they also didn’t always make sense. For example, one refers to one of the main characters as Pedro. There is no character named Pedro. Granted, his name is Pete, but really? This same review says “I decided on this rating because it had a nice flow easy to read. Had a great story line, but I only gave it 2 stars.” Why? Then she discusses the Ms. H. Who the heck is that? Apparently she got on her nerves, whoever she is.

The 3 star review starts this way, “Bridget M Straub is a talented writer, I always love when karma pays a cheater a visit but the author had me feeling sympathy for h’s sister when it happened to her.” What? h’s sister? Is it just me or does this sound like the same person again? And does h stand for husband? Was his sister cheated on? His sister is getting married.

I can’t pretend to understand how Amazon operates.Why these reviews have suddenly appeared I don’t know. The question is this, although not great reviews, both have nice things to say along with their criticisms, so do I report them as abuse (an option they offer) or just leave them?

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You Seem to Like Pictures

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I’ve noticed that sometimes I get the most views from my pictures posts, which to be honest, can be kind of frustrating, being a writer and all. Still, you know what they say, give the people what they want.

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I love this one on a personal level.

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And this one is just pretty in it’s simplicity. So enjoy and then go buy a book for goodness sake! Remember, I have six of them on amazon! Here’s a link to my latest novel right here! Beyond the Cracks

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Sunday Excerpt 16

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This excerpt comes from my latest novel, that to be honest I feel as though I have shared before, but going through my posts of the past several months, I don’t see it, so I must be crazy, right? It’s called On Our Way Home, at least for the moment. Let me know what you think of the opening and if you have any suggestions as to what the cover should be. And, Enjoy!

Chapter 1

 I haven’t been back in the states for almost three years, and up until last night I had no intention of going back anytime soon. Matt and I have carved out a very nice life for ourselves, living about an hour outside of London, in a small renovated cottage that belonged to his dad up until his passing two years ago. The cottage, as well as the two acres it rests upon, was left to Matt and his sister Charlotte to do with whatever they saw fit.

Happily married and living in London, Charlotte suggested Matt and I take the cottage for ourselves. After all, it was paid for, and with minimal repairs would save us a fortune in rent, while providing a serene and tranquil spot for us to be creative. Matt is a playwright on the cusp of hitting it big, while I’m a novelist who has so far had only mediocre success. Moving out to the country has taken away all of the stress we were under, struggling to make ends meet in the city. We are perfectly happy living the life of recluses. At least we were until Matt climbed into bed and sighing, told me we had to return to San Francisco.

 “That was Barb on the phone,” he informed me.

 I ignored him.

At forty two, Barb is my oldest sister and generally a bossy pain in the ass. There are five of us girls, of which I am the second youngest, and although I love my family, I don’t really have much in common with any of them. Our parents are both highly successful surgeons, my mother in orthopedics, and my father specializing in cardiology. Barb is a shrink, Carolyn, two years younger than Barb, is a pediatrician, and Katherine, three years younger than Carolyn, is a biochemist. Then comes me, and then my younger sister, Lisa.

I am two years younger than Katherine, and Lisa is three years younger than me. Lisa is a lawyer, or at least she was until the birth of her son Dylan, five years ago. She and her husband Eldon, a psychologist,  have since adopted a baby girl, Sunny, from his wayward cousin, a heroin addict unable to care for herself, let alone a child. Lisa, like me, is considered a bit of a black sheep in the family. You see, she was sailing through law school, the apple of my father’s eye, right up until she met Eldon. That’s where things changed. Eldon is black, and although my father insists he has nothing against anyone of color, he doesn’t believe in interracial relationships. He feels they are unrealistic, and only serve to cause pain and suffering to all involved,. He spent three years doing everything in his power to sabotage their relationship, and although he adores his grandchildren, last I heard, he still disapproves of Lisa and Eldon as a couple.

 “Allie, did you hear me?” Matt asked, shutting out the light and pulling me into spooning position.

“I’m sleeping.”

“You most certainly are not.”

“I could be if you’d let me.”

“Be that as it may, your father has taken ill and we have been summoned.”

“Shit,” I said, my heart sinking involuntarily. “What kind of ill?”

“Somewhat ironically, it would appear he’s had a heart attack,” he said, in his most British of ways.

“Don’t make me laugh,” I said, fighting back a combination of tears and a chuckle. “Is it serious?”

“Well, as I said, we have been asked to get on a plane first thing tomorrow morning, so I can only assume it is, although Barb did say it was your father himself who has requested we fly over.”

“We? He requested you come, too?”

“So she said.”

“No offense, but that doesn’t sound like my dad.”

“None taken, as I found that to be rather odd myself. I even double checked to be sure I had heard correctly. However, Barb insists she has bought us both tickets as per his request.”

“That’s so weird.”

“Agreed.”

“Was Barb upset?” I asked.

“Can Barb show emotion?” he inquired.

“Annoyance, disapproval, ” I said, considering.

“Well, she was neither of those. Just very stern and seemingly in a hurry. She says it’s all been arranged and left no room for any objections. I offered to get you up but she was in too much of a rush. We fly out at eight tomorrow morning. I’ve set the alarm on my phone,” he informed me.

“It’s so weird,” I repeated.

“Get some sleep,” he advised.

“Right, like that’s going to happen,” I said, sarcastically.

 Needless to say, I tossed and turned all night, until Matt’s alarm woke me from the five minutes rest I had managed to get. Now we are on this full and uncomfortably cramped plane, heading towards a reunion I am kind of dreading.

 

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Friday Visual

I was considering writing a post about weird reviews, but I’ve decided to just send some pretty your way instead. So, enjoy. Here’s to a great & beautiful weekend for everyone.

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Anxiety

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Anxiety is going to be the death of us all! Today is the first day of school for many people, and all that I know are borderline psychotic about it. The stress level is off the charts, and I don’t get it. When did school become this huge pressure cooker?

I hated school a plenty, but at least the first day was filled with excitement. Granted, by high school it was probably mixed with a little anxiety, but now a days even my 28 year old niece is nervous and overly anxious about a course she is beginning. Both of my daughters, as well as my niece, are getting A’s, and have been for awhile. They are intelligent, beautiful people who should be able to breeze through this.

I sincerely wonder if a part of the problem isn’t all of the reality TV that theses guys have grown up with. After all, they have watched as lives have been recorded and dissected in a manner that simply did not exist fifteen years ago. Now, not only are they bombarded by this, but I think they feed off of the drama. A theory that makes at least one of my daughters annoyed and insulted. If that’s not it though, then what the heck is it?    

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