While what seems like the rest of the writing world participates in National Novel Writing Month, and the pup attempts to disembowel an un-stuffed plush squirrel (the head was the first to go), I will be revising another novel, called Grace & Chocolate. I have received delicious, stomach butterfly-inducing feedback from my loverly friend from the Great White North, Kimberly Vanderhorst, and after getting some "have-to's" out of the way, I can now open up her edits and re-work the raw into the submission-worthy. I hope.
Because this novel means a lot to me. They all do in their own way, but this one is a little more personal for me.
The story was inspired by my mom. It isn't biographical. It's not based on a true story. But my mom is a survivor. Her sisters and brothers are survivors. My mom was the oldest of five children in a house where alcohol turned a gentle, charismatic athlete, a friend and a father, into the embodiment of hatred, fear, and anger. Rage. He couldn't fight the demons of World War II alone. He would try. I love my grandpa. He slowed the drinking as I grew up, and finally stopped. He was goofy, could make us laugh so easily. And then they found the cancer. He always told us how much he loved us. I'm so glad he did, because when he died two months before my daughter, his first grandchild, was born, it was easy to imagine how much he would have loved her. Considering my mom's upbringing, that is an amazing gift.
But my mom was a fighter.
And so is Jill Parish.
Grace & Chocolate
Jillian Parish works at a busy publishing house in Portland, Oregon, is writing the novel of a lifetime, and goes home alone every day to a little dog, a spotless apartment, and a piece of 70% cacao and sugar. Her life is described in four words. Escape and stay busy. She has the second part down. The first one is getting more and more difficult as people from her past keep reminding her of what she has fled, and how dangerous it has become.
When Scott Gentry moves to town and spots Jillian at church, he learns her reputation as a lost cause. But something compels him to get Sister Parish's attention, no matter how difficult that may prove. As Scott stumbles, crashes, and falls, he finds himself with more attention than he bargained for, and more willing to do anything he can for the woman who is not made of stone, but of strength.
And she'll need it, because Jillian Parish's protective boundaries are about to be shaken. They're about to explode.
I hope I can make this one work. Man, I love being an author. All of it.
Good luck to all you Nanowrimers!