Monday, August 30, 2010

If Wishes Were Horses

You are never
given a wish
without also being given
the power
to make it true.

You may
have to work for it

Richard Bach Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Friday, August 20, 2010

In Their Own Words -- Anne

Hi everyone, I just wanted to say thank you very much for stopping by and reading this series. It was a lot of fun and I liked the way it turned out.

I felt it was important to do this. My characters are ALWAYS talking to me. Sometimes, I think I'm possessed. And because I can't show you all of the book, I thought it might be nice for you to meet them, in person, so you could hear the way they really sound.

For anyone who wants to do this, on your own, or on the blog (which would be really cool), I think it helps to have a clear definition of what your character looks like first. Which is the reason for the pictures. Not only do they help you picture your characters in your mind's eye, they help with the clarity of their voices as well.

Now, some people can "see" their characters right from the get-go. I could only see Genna when I started. I knew she looked like Jessica Alba, and for the longest time Tony was a young John Travolta (from Saturday Night Fever actually.) This was also at the beginning and I was trying to write a true romance.

But as the story began to take shape and I knew I wasn't writing romance anymore, but women's fiction, I knew that my Tony wouldn't work for me through the long haul. And then one day Dylan McDermott magically appeared on my tv screen and wah-la, the real Tony was born.

When I posted my pictures of the characters a few weeks ago, some of you didn't really like Jessica Alba as my Genna. You said she was too young, her hair wasn't dark enough. I agreed. I really liked Jessica, but I always knew she was too young, hence, the finding of the new Genna. I like my new Genna, she fits the story, as well as my character description, and she's just absolutely beautifully perfectly Italian. Even though she's Irish.

Once I had everyones faces, I could also "hear" their voices. My writing became a whole lot easier after that. Kind of like a blind date: your friends can tell you everything about that person, but until you meet them, or see them in person, you have no clue. Sure they "sound great on paper", but until you know they don't look like Ronald McDonald, they're just a blur in your mind.

When the lovely and very talented E.Elle did this series on her blog, I was in total awe of her. I was jealous of her. I lamented that I couldn't do it, I couldn't try it, I couldn't figure out HOW. And then, once I got the pictures, for some reason, it all became clear. I could see them and hear them, found their mannerisms and their quirks. Uncle Sally's Italian. Angie's, 'I mean's', Aunt Fortuna repeating herself. We all speak differently as people, so should your characters. I'm sure if this ever gets picked up I'll be in revision hell for all my -- what'd'ya', coulda', I've got, and eh.'s

Don't get me wrong, this was fun but it wasn't easy. I worked on each of these sketches endlessly, sometimes right up until they posted, just to get their 'voices' right for you. (I'm a perfectionist that way.) I wanted you to hear what I hear when they talk to me. I hope I did a good job.

So here are the three things I've learned from doing this --

1) It's easier if you have pictures. And good pictures, not just stock photos. It took me 2 days to find Minnie Driver dressed like a "cousin at the christening" instead of a moviestar.

2) Voices don't fully form until at least half way through the book. They haven't done enough in the beginning, they're still flailing around, trying to decide if they want to be good or bad or mischievous. They change their minds and their attitudes. By 50K they've finally settled into who they're supposed to be.

3) And writing is truly a subjective business. Some of the comments you left really surprised me -- especially about Tony and Genna. Especially from the men. I guess this just proved to me why some people (agents) love what they read and some don't.

So thanks everyone for stopping by. It was great having you and I really enjoyed hearing what you thought about "my people". I really hope you all try this. It's not only great fun, but you really do learn so much more about your characters.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Most Awesome Contest

The most awesome contest that's not mine. Tahereh is holding a contest, now through Sunday night, and the prize is $100- for books. Isn't that just wild. So go here NOW to sign up.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In Their Own Words -- Genna

Hi. My name's Genna. But you probably knew that already didn't you. This is so strange having to talk about myself but I guess there are still some things that have to be said.

I know everyone else has pretty much told you my story. My sad little story. It's not how I imaginged my life to be that's for sure. I had a pretty normal childhood. Piano, ballet, little league. Mommy would take me down to the beach all the time. Mommy loved the beach. Even in winter. She said it soothed her soul. Especially after talking to Nana. Nana didn't want Mommy to marry my father. She said he wasn't good enough and let Mommy know it every chance she could. Nana can be a jerk sometimes.

Pappi was a baker. He worked for a bread company in Fall River. He liked it I guess but I know he always dreamed about him and Uncle Sally opening up a bigger restaurant, where Uncle would cook and Pappi would make the desserts. I guess that's why I always wanted to be a chef. So I could follow in my father's footsteps.

Pappi was so handsome. And Mommy was beautiful. I look like her but I have Pappi's nose. Oh God, I miss them so much sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I love my aunt and uncle more than anything in the world, but my parents were my parents. After they died, well, I learned to look at life a lot differently.

It sucks. I mean, I've gotten used to it, but it still sucks. I feel like an orphan, and I have more relatives than I can even count. I have more love in my life than I know what to do with. But you know, sometimes I feel so alone. Which is why I guess I've been in therapy for the last fifteen years.

I think this is also why I'm such a workaholic. I want to prove to them, my parents, that I can do things. I don't want to wallow in self-pity and depression. It could eat me alive. Tony taught me that.

I know, I know, Tony is a sleaze. You all think so. Everybody thinks so. And that's where my head and my heart get all messed up. I know Tony, deep down. He loves me. Really loves me. No one else can see that, but I know Tony. He's just screwed up that's all. His parents did it to him. His father was a raging alcoholic, his mother, a bitter old bitch. But Tony worked it out. He had me. And after my parents died, I had him.

We had a good thing for awhile. But then he married Debbie. I guess if I look back on it now, with a clear head, I can see where the money would have been the deciding factor. That's one thing I can say about Tony, he always had ambition. His problem was he never wanted to wait for anything. Totally into instant gratification. And when Debbie offered him the money, well, I can see where that would be tempting. I was in Italy, what could I do? I was trying to learn all there was to know about real Italian food, yeah, so we could use it in the restaurant.

And when I came back he realized just what he did. His instant gratification killed him. And us.

And now, here we are. We had a long talk, said all the things we wanted to say. I've forgiven him the past. He says he wants a future. He says he wants to try again. And with Nana's money we could open that restaurant we always dreamed of. It would be so easy to fall right back into his arms. So easy. Well, you know, I already did. But it wasn't right somehow. It felt cheap. Like I was trying too hard to get back the past. I don't know, does that make any sense? But I don't think we can go back. We have to move forward. Can I move forward with Tony? Do I take that chance?

And now there's Pete. Oh God, Pete. Have you met him? Madre di Dio, is he a hottie or what? He's soooo great! And funny, smart, and real nice. Did I tell you he sent me flowers the other day. Isn't that the sweetest thing? Men don't send flowers anymore. Any girl would give her right arm to snag him. I know I really want to. He kisses like a dream. And you should see him in his uniform.

I'm leaving to go back to Delaware in ten days. I don't want to lead Pete on, I don't want him to think there's a future for us if there's not. And what kind of future would it be? Long distance relationships never work out. I'm working, he's working. And what about Tony? I've been in love with him my whole life. We have a history. We could have a future. It would be so easy.

What am I going to do?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Genna

I just wanted to let you know I found a new Genna. So many of you said the woman I picked wasn't old enough, or had dark enough hair, so I found someone else, someone who I think fits the bill even better. Who even has her father's nose.

I just wanted to let you all know so when you see her tomorrow you won't be shocked.

Monday, August 16, 2010

In Their Own Words - Tony

Hey, my name is Tony Testa. I live in Bristol, Rhode Island. I'm a chef for a restaurant over in Swansea. It's not the greatest job, but it pays the bills.
I used to have my own restaurant but I lost it when I lost my wife to cancer six years ago. But that's a long story, and I don't really want to talk about it.

You want to know about Genna. How we met. What my attraction is to her. Well, that's simple. She's great. She's beautiful, smart, funny, nice. What else is there to say?

I met Genna when she was fourteen, I was sixteen. My family got invited to one of my mother's cousin's kid's first communion parties and Genna was there. She was beautiful, even back then. And sweet. She looked like cotton candy in her pink sweater.

I guess she wanted to meet me too because she made it a point to grab some money off her old man and plug it in the juke. I was standing next to it. I asked her to go outside with me to have a cigarette and she did, even though she didn't smoke. She burned my arm when she kissed me. It didn't matter. I wanted to kiss her again but it started raining so we jumped in my old man's truck and just as things started to get hot and heavy, her cousin Rob comes out and has a fit. Well, after I found out what happened, I could understand why. Her parents were killed by a drunk driver.

I had actually met Genna's uncle Sal earlier that same night and he offered me a job. I was supposed to start Monday but due to the funeral I didn't start until the next week. I didn't see Genna for a long time. She was all screwed up, I mean who wouldn't be after you lose both your parents like that. She finally started coming around the diner later in the spring. After school, she'd sit with her aunt out front until Sal was done for the day.

That summer she started working there, bussing tables. She was real quiet. Not shy, just real quiet, serious all the time. So I used to tease her, try and make her laugh. I felt bad for her, everybody did, but they didn't know how to make it right for her. They walked around her on eggshells afraid she would freak out or something. I just figured her life sucked and why shouldn't she at least try and have some fun once in a while, have a laugh. It couldn't hurt right?

Well, I kept working there and she kept working there and we got along great. Sal had told me if I touched her he'd cut my balls off and I believed him. So I left her alone. Until she turned sixteen. I waited nearly two years and I did the right thing, I asked Sal if I could ask her out. I hadn't screwed up at work, I kept my nose to the grindstone, even learned how to cook, so he said yes.

We dated and dated and dated and on the night of her high school graduation, we finally had sex. I was 20, she was 18. Don't get me wrong, I'd had sex with other bimbos while I was dating Genna, not to say Genna's a bimbo, because she's not. I had Genna up on the pedestal where she belonged. And hey, I never said I was a saint, I'm a hot blooded Italian male. A man's got to get some, right?

Anyway, I finally left the diner and started working at this real fancy restaurant to learn the trade. Genna went to Johnny Wales down in Providence. (Johnson & Wales Culinary Institute) Things were going the way they were supposed to. I had my own apartment, had some money, was finally starting to think I could be somebody. Me and Genna never talked about marriage, well, she did, I just never listened. I figured we'd wait, maybe by the time I was 30 or so.

So she graduates from Johnny Wales, and throughout all the years she was in school, our dream was to open our own restaurant. I had about fifteen grand saved, she had maybe ten but it wasn't enough. Not for what we wanted to do. We decided to ask Sal for some money, a loan for fifty G's. He says yes, but on the condition we get married, or at least engaged. He's not going to make that kind of committment if I'm not. I'm pretty much screwed and I know it. And it's a loan, so I've got to make sure I can pay it back. But Genna's got all these crazy ideas, and they all cost money. Jesus, she wanted to spend almost three grand on a friggin convection oven. And we weren't even doing that kind of food.

Anyway, Nana Rocco gives Genna a trip to Italy for her graduation. For six weeks. I always knew Nana had that kind of dough, so I told Genna to just ask her for it. She wouldn't and it pissed me off. Bad. So Genna leaves and I start screwing around with Debbie Martino. She'd been one of my bimbos before and I guess she was really into me. We start talking about the restaurant one night, what I want to do with it, all that shit, and she listens to me. Doesn't give me any grief. Tells me how smart I am, how wonderful it sounds. And then, like two nights later, she tells me her father will make the investment, fifty grand is all mine if I marry her. (What is it with these old Italian guys marrying their daughters off?) It'll be a wedding present, I won't have to pay it back. What could I say?

There it was, all the money, in my hands. Yeah, I had to marry Debbie but shit, she wasn't so bad. She didn't fight with me about the restaurant, she was good in bed, she just wanted a little stability. Her old man was living in Florida and she was lonely. So I married her two weeks before Genna came back.

I wanted to tell Genna myself, but Debbie got to her first. My whole plan was to get the money, get the restaurant up and running, divorce Deb and then me and Genna could get back together. Two years tops. But the shit hit the fan and Genna left town. No one would tell me where she was. I searched and searched, I felt bad, I really did, I wanted to explain it to her but I couldn't. After a while, I just gave up. Then Deb got sick with cancer. I lost everything. Her, the restaurant, the house, everything.

And then, last week, I'm sitting at Sal's diner, and who walks in out of nowhere, but Genna. I almost shit my pants. She looks exactly the same. I tried to talk to her that day but she didn't want to hear it. Can't say as I blame her. Last Wednesday I happen to see her truck at Billy's Beach Bar in the middle of the afternoon so I go in. She tells me old Nana Rocco just dumped a quarter of a million dollars in her lap, early inheritance, and she's celebrating by herself. One thing leads to another and we go back to my place. The sex was great, like it used to be but she flips out, says it was a mistake. I call her a couple days later to apologize, we get together and I finally tell her what went down with Debbie. We have a long heart to heart and I think I'm finally making headway. At least she doesn't hate me anymore.

I've got to get her back. I never stopped loving her. If I could change the past, I would. But now with Nana's money, here's our new beginning. We could actually get our shit together and start that restaurant like we always wanted to. And even put in a convection oven.

Friday, August 13, 2010

In Their Own Words -- Robby

My name's Rob. Genovase. I'm Genna's cousin. I'm not sure what you want me to say here. Genna's a good girl. Always has been. It was my job to make sure she stayed that way.

When Aunt Linda and Uncle Joey died, my Pop told me I had to watch out for her. Make sure she didn't do anything stupid. The shrink we all went to said so too. We had to watch her like a hawk, make sure she didn't O.D. or get into booze or even try to, God forbid, take her own life. I knew she wouldn't, Genna wasn't stupid, she was just sad. Unbelievably sad. Her whole life changed in the blink of an eye.

I remember that night we came home from the hospital, it was a long night, and my mother asked Genna if she wanted to sleep downstairs, or have her sleep upstairs with her, and Genna said no. She'd be all right. But my father insisted someone be with her so I went up. I slept on the couch. Genna went into her parents room. I left her alone, I figured she'd just needed to be with them, you know. But then I heard her crying. I didn't want to bother her, truth be told, I didn't know what the hell to do, but she sounded so broken, so damned heartbroken. So I went in.

I got on the bed with her and held her while she cried. I've never seen anybody cry so much. It was to be expected I guess. I thought she was asleep but she wasn't. She said to me, and I'll never forget this as long as I live, "Tony saved me tonight." I didn't know what the fuck she was talking about. And she said, "Tony and me were making out in his father's truck. I was supposed to go home with Mommy and Pappi. If I had, I might be dead. Tony saved me."

Yeah. That's when it started. She loved him right from the get-go. Hero worship if you ask me but what could I do. Nothing was ever going to change her mind about him. So for all the time they were going out, I never said a word. I never told Genna he cheated on her, I never told her what a real asshole he was. I never told her he played the ponies and how much money he lost. Did he really think I wouldn't find out? Christ he was placing bets with Uncle Nino. But I never said a word.

Until he broke Genna's heart by marrying Debbie. Don't tell her I told you this, but after Genna left town, I tracked him down and beat the fucking shit out of him. I put him in the hospital too. Broken ribs, punctured lung, his pretty face wasn't so pretty when I got done with it, that's for sure. Ask Benny and Pauly, they were there. I was going to kill him. I'll tell you what, Testa was lucky they were there because I just might have.

Anyway, Genna's got a life now. Ten years without the bastard did her good. She's got a good job, a nice place down in Delaware, right on the water too. And old Nana Rocco dropped a nice chunk of change in her lap so she's got a good security blanket.

I swear to God though, if Testa decides he's going to try and get back with her, I'll fucking kill him this time for sure. Mark my word, I will. Although I think Pete'll have a better time with him. He's got a sweet Glock. He could use Testa for target practice.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

We Interrupt This Series...

Hi folks, just a quick blurb for two things I really think you need to see.

The Literary Lab is fast closing in on its deadline for their contest "Notes from the Underground" where the prize is for you to be published. Yes, you, published. Please go there now to find out all about it.

Also, Mesmerix from Scribbler to Scribe is holding a special contest to receive a copy of Chuck Sambuchino's new book HOW TO SURVIVE A GARDEN GNOME ATTACK. Please go here now to put your name into the hat.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In Their Own Words -- Salvatore

My name is Salvatore Genovase and I'm Genna's uncle. She's my Bella, mio amore . I'd do anything for her, she's the light of our lives. And hey eh, don't get me wrong, I love my own kids, they're good kids, turned out real good, but I have to say, I love my Genna just that little bit more. She's suffered so much in her life, it's hard not to. She needs it.

When Joey and Linda were killed, Linda's mother, Christina Rocco, did everything in her power to take Genna away from us. Her and that figlio di puttana lawyer of hers. But Genna said no, she wanted to stay with us. I thought old Christina was gonna' have a heart attack considering the judge was in her back pocket. But Genna stayed right where she was. With us. Where she belonged.

She worked at the diner with me after school and during the summers. I'd like to think it was me who taught her everything she knew about cooking but she went to that fancy cooking school down in Providence. I guess they taught her a few things too. And then she went to Salerno after she graduated so she could learn some more. She's like that, my Genna. She always wants to know more. Always learning, always thinking.

When she was little, she'd sit at the kitchen table with all my cookbooks open, trying to help me come up with new dishes. Wanted to be a chef, she said. Once, I think she was twelve, she wanted me to make a lasagne souffle. I didn't think it was possible but she worked out the recipe and gave it to me. I couldn't not try and make it. Of course it fell, and tasted like crap, but she didn't give up. She asked me if I did this, or that, she wanted to know why it didn't turn out right. She worked on it for a long time. A long time. And then, one day, she presented me with her version. Perfecto! Bellisimo! I was so proud of her. She didn't give up. She never did. Still doesn't. If she wants something, she works to make sure she gets it. She gets that from me.

Like now. She works at this swanky country club down in Delaware. She surprised us coming home last week just so she could tell us in person she's now the executive kitchen manager. I don't square with fancy titles but she says she's in charge of everything at the club for the kitchen. All the menus, all the staff, all the cooking. She also gets lots of money and lots of benefits. So, hey if that's what she wants eh, I'm happy for her.

I just wish she'd find a nice boy. She's lonely. She doesn't say so but I can tell.
A beautiful girl like that, wasting away, cooking for a living. Don't get me wrong eh, I'm all for women's lib, I think women should do whatever they want, but I also think they should have babies. That's what God created them for.

If Testa hadn't turned into such a porca puttana stronzo, excuse my Italian, I'd probably be bouncing a bambino on my knee right now. I had such high hopes for him and Genna. I taught him everything I know about the business. I thought when him and Genna finally got married I could give them the business. Retire. Take me and Fortuna back to Salerno for a few months every year. But Testa threw me, threw us, a bad curve. Broke my Genna's heart.

And now the facce di cazzo is sniffing around again. Che minchia! I don't know if it was fate who said he should be sitting in my diner the minute Genna walks in. I should have had him taken care of when I had the chance. But hey, live and learn, eh. I hope she won't make the same mistake and take him back but you can't know a woman's heart. She's so scombussolata. What he did was unforgiveable but that's my Genna. She has a very forgiving nature. A very tender heart.

Although, hey, I think her and Petie DiCampo got something going on. Boh! He took her out to dinner the other night. Hey, he's a nice kid eh. Got a good job, a good head on his shoulders. His mother was Irish but I won't hold that against him. Heh, heh. I hope Genna can see past Testa's vacca merda and gets together with Petie. I know Petie loves her already. He came into the diner the other morning with that look of miseria on his face. You know, the kind all men wear when they find the woman of their heart, or the car of their dreams.

I just hope it works out. The only problem is, Pete has to convince her his love is real, is true eh. My Genna doesn't trust easily, she's afraid the people she loves will get taken away from her. I just hope Petie's got the palle to fight for her. I think he does. He's a cop. And once my Genna realizes how much he loves her, she'll love him back with her whole heart. That's the way she is. She's a good girl.

Monday, August 9, 2010

In Their Own Words - Angie

Hi, my name's Angie, I'm Genna's cousin. Well, I mean, she's more like my little sister really. When her parents were alive, they lived upstairs from us and she was always underfoot, in my room, trying on my clothes. I'm sixteen months older than she is so, of course, she had to find fashion somewhere right? I mean Christ, if it were up to Fortuna we'd all be wearing velour track suits. Anyway, after her parents died, instead of moving her downstairs with us, my parents moved Robby upstairs with her. It was like one big open house after that. They'd sleep up there but eat down here. It was good for me because when Robby moved upstairs I got his room, which was bigger.

Anyway, Genna. She's a good kid. I mean, a nice girl. A nice woman. Well, what do you call women these days in their early thirties, chicks? Never mind. Genna's nice. And smart. And funny when she wants to be. She doesn't let a whole lot of people see that side of her, but when she does, I mean watch out. She's better than watching those comics on HBO. I like her, a lot. She's always been good to me. More than I've been good to her that's for sure. She's forgiven me a lot of shit that I did to her. Did she ever tell you about that perm in tenth grade? No, well, she forgave me for that. And how about the time I puked all over her cashmere sweater, and then tried to wash it without her finding out, and put it in the dryer. Yeah, she forgave me for that too. Like I said, she's a good kid.

I'm jealous of her. Not for her life, I mean who wants to work, work, work, but for who she is deep down inside. She's got her shit together that's for sure. No one can call her bluff, she stands up for what she believes in and if you get in her way, watch out. I mean, she'll run you over if it's something she wants. Driven, is the word. And you know, her Nana Rocco was always throwing money in her face but Genna never took it. She didn't have to work at Pop's diner, she didn't have to save for that car she bought, she didn't have to wear those grungy clothes, her Nana would have given her all that but she never took it. Don't tell her this, but I heard her tell her Nana one day, if Nana couldn't buy me clothes, then Genna didn't want her to buy her clothes either. I thought that was real sweet of her.

Sweet, she's that too. Sometimes I hated her for it when we were kids. I mean, she was always so good, so thoughtful, so kind. She was always bringing my mom flowers. She'd always help Aunt Linda with the chores. My mother would get so pissed at me "Why can't you be more like Rosa?" Ugh, I hated her sometimes. But then, when Aunt Linda and Uncle Joey died, well, how can you hate someone after that?

I know it wasn't right, but I tried to steal Tony away from her. It was right before Genna turned sixteen. I knew Tony was waiting for that day so he could ask her out. I mean, God, he was such a hunk back then. Every girl in school used to come and sit at the diner just to catch a glimpse of him. Oh, he'd chat me up, but it was always about Genna. But then one day he asked me out. I figured he'd gotten tired of waiting around for her. But it was just about the sex. Stupid me, didn't figure that out for about two months. That was all he wanted, and to talk about Genna. Talk about getting used. I hate him. His name so fits, Testa di cazzo.

I didn't tell Genna all this until a few days ago. For someone who's so smart, I mean, can't believe she made the ulitmate mistake in sleeping with him again, so I had to tell her. He only wants her for Nana's money. Did she tell you Nana is giving her a quarter of a million dollars? Some kind of early inheritance thing so no one has to pay taxes on it. That's why Tony's sniffing around again. Stronza! Hate him. But that's why I told Genna all about me and Tony, so she could see just exactly what kind of man he really is. I mean, you might think she would be over him because of what he did to her before, you know, marrying Debbie. But love is blind, so they say. And she really did love him. I mean, really.

When she came back from church that day, after hearing Debbie tell her she was married to Tony, oh my God, I thought Genna was going to cry herself to death. It was horrible to watch, and I had to watch it because I was the one who told Debbie where to find her. Therefore, it was my fault I caused her so much pain. I had to take care of her. And I did. I did. I mean, I wasn't the bimbo everyone thinks I am. I told Debbie where to find Genna that day so Genna would leave Tony once and for all. She would never have done it if Tony had gotten to her first. He would have said all the right things and Genna would have believed him and his bullshit and God only knows what would have happened. I'm glad it happened the way it did. I mean, I'm sorry Genna had to be hurt so bad but it was for the best. And Genna forgave me for that too.

And now she's got that great job down in Delaware. She's got that great apartment, have you seen that? Oh my God, I'd love to live there, I mean, it's so big, so light, perfect for painting. And she's got Pete DiCampo. I know, I know, he's only just re-met her after all these years but I know Pete and I know Genna. I mean, they're a match made in Heaven. I just hope she doesn't scare him off. Sometimes she can be so hard, you know. And unemotional. But I think that had to do with her parents dying. And Tony. After what he did, I mean, I know she's scared shitless. She won't let herself get close to anyone. But I hope she gets over it with Pete. I hope he doesn't take her aloofness as a sign she's not interested. Because she is. I know she is. She cried at my kitchen table the other day because the kiss he gave her on the date they had the other night wasn't the same as the kiss he gave her in the alley the other morning. So I know she really likes him. I mean, really, who analyzes kisses if they're not interested?

Friday, August 6, 2010

In Their Own Words - Fortuna

Hello, my name is Fortuna Genovase and I'm Rosa's aunt. Nobody ever seems to remember her real name is Rosa, but that's okay. I do. Her mother named her Rosa, for her great-grandmother, her father named her Linda, after her mother, and Fortuna, of course for me. I think she decided in fourth grade she didn't like Rosa Linda anymore, although I really think it had to do with some of the other kids making fun of her, you know how kids are. And they had all those glamorous names like Tiffany, and Brooke, so Rosa decided to call herself "Genna", short for Genovase she said. But I still call her Rosa because that's what her mother called her. It's the least I can do.

She's a good girl, my Rosa. Always was. Such a beautiful baby! But tiny, she was so little. Fragile. She had all that dark hair, and those eyes, they would follow you everywhere. She never cried, never fussed, she was always so happy. She'd wake up happy, go to school happy, come home happy. She always did what her mother told her without an argument, without a tantrum. Not like my Angelina, that's for sure. Oh, and she loved her Uncle Sally! That's how he got that name, from her. She couldn't say Salvatore. She'd come running down the stairs, pigtails flying, "Uncle Sally, Uncle Sally!" She was such a joy. She still is. Oh my Rosa. Such a joy.

Joey and Linda were so proud of her. She took piano. And ballet. And she played little league baseball. Rosa played short stop, of course, just like Robby. He practised with her all the time. Linda was always afraid she would get hurt because she was so much smaller than all the other kids. But they didn't need to worry. She was very good. Oh Joey and Linda were so proud. We all were.

They would still be proud, God rest their souls, if they hadn't been taken away from us. My poor Rosa, to lose her parents at such an important age. She was only fourteen, just on the verge of becoming a young woman. She still played with her Barbie dolls but sneaked Linda's lipstick when she wasn't looking. So cute. My heart breaks when I think of what Rosa missed from her mother. I tried my best, but I know it's not the same as having your own mother.

When Joey and Linda had their accident and we went to the hospital that night, Rosa demanded to see them. So strong my girl. Joey was already gone but Linda was hanging on. The doctors didn't want to let her see them, they were so banged up, but my Rosa was steadfast. Salvatore threatened the doctor in charge so he finally relented and Sal went with her in to Linda's room. Linda wasn't conscious but Sal told me later that Rosa didn't cry, she just held her mother's hand and told her it was going to be all right. She had me and Sal and not to worry about her. She would be fine. Then she told her mother she loved her, and kissed her good-bye. It wasn't long after that that Linda let go. My poor baby. My poor Rosa.

That night changed Rosa. Of course it would, to lose both your parents in such a tragic way. She was in therapy for a long time. She didn't go to school for the whole month of March, although she kept up with her work. All the light went out of her. She was so serious, she didn't laugh anymore. She was afraid of the car too. She didn't want to go anywhere, scared she would get into an accident. It took Sal a long time for her to not be so afraid.

When she started back at school, I was still working at the diner with Sal. I didn't want her to be home alone, even for that little while, so I made her walk down to the diner. It was only a few blocks. The psychologist said we had to be very careful and keep an eye on her, a tragedy like the one Rosa suffered through could sometimes lead to suicide. Oh, we prayed for her. Madre di Dio did we pray. So Rosa would come and sit with me while I did the books or whatever it was. Tony Testa was working there too. He seemed to bring Rosa out of her shell. He made her laugh. Which was a good thing at the time. We were all so afraid for her.

And well, you know how young love is. Back then he was a good boy. Respectful of Rosa, and Sal too. And Rosa adored him. Everything was Tony this and Tony that. We thought it was a good match. Tony seemed to have his head on straight. He always worked, said he was saving to buy his own restaurant. And Rosa followed that dream. They were such a beautiful couple.

But he turned out bad. Mannaggia sporca di cane. What he did to my Rosa, oh, I could just spit nails. Broke her heart seven ways to Sunday. Madre di Dio, and my poor Rosa, shamed by the humiliation, she said she didn't have a choice. She said she had to leave us. Leave town, go somewhere else. Sal wanted to have Tony taken out, if you get my meaning but we knew we couldn't do that. Tony made his choice and look at what happened. He lost everything. That poor girl he married, she shouldn't have had to live like that either. God rest her poor soul. Boh, basta, basta.

But now, my Rosa is back. Oh, she looks so good, have you seen her, a little too skinny maybe, but that's okay. I'll fatten her up in no time. And did you hear, she had a date with little Petie DiCampo the other night, such a nice boy. He was such a hellion when he was younger but he turned out to be the nicest young man. He still goes to church too. That's hard to find today. A nice Catholic boy.

I'm praying everyday that Rosa finds her way to love him. I think Tony's set his sights on her once again, but I think Petie will give him a run for his money. And my Rosa isn't stupid. Burned once, twice shy. I just hope she gives Petie the chance to get to know her, the real her. She doesn't trust easily, and rightly so, considering all that's happened to her, but I have faith. True love can conquer anything. And I know Linda and Joey are watching from Heaven. They'll lead her in the right direction.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

In Their Own Words - Pete

Hi, my name is Pete DiCampo. I'm a cop for the town of Bristol, Rhode Island. I've been on the force almost seven years and I love it. It's a great job and I love my hometown.

I'm single now, was married to Nancy for a couple years but things fell apart when she wanted kids and I didn't. Well, right then anyway. I had just joined the police force and was working these crazy shifts. It didn't seem the right way to raise a family. So we split. It was amicable.

On my days off I go see my mother and her husband and my grandmother in Connecticut. I play softball in a league on Thursday nights with other cops from surrounding communities. I like to fish for blues when they run off the coast in the fall. I jog every morning between 4:30 and 5.

That's how I met Genna. Well, let me rephrase that, that's how I re-met Genna. I went to school with her at St. Mary the Martyr. In fifth grade I tried to steal her history homework and she kind of hated me after that. I was on the baseball team with her cousin Robby and although we all sort of hung out, she wasn't really ever friendly to me.

Anyway, I jog every morning (when I'm not working nights) and Genna's uncle Sal owns a diner over on Franklin Street. I stop in to grab a coffee for my walk-down home. I've been doing this for a few years now and Sal and I have gotten pretty close.

I was on duty one morning and around 8:00 we get a call into the station there's a burglery in progress on Charles Street. I happen to know it's Sal's house so I take the call. Fortuna, his wife is scared there's a perp in the house upstairs but as I'm talking to her, there's a girl leaning over the second floor porch. I ask her to come down with some I.D. and I find out it's Genna. God, I haven't seen her in ten years. Well, come to find out, Fortuna's having these memory problems, looks like it's verging on Alzheimer's. I call Sal, he comes home and we straighten the whole mess out. (Fortuna's doing fine by the way.)

So, I'm sitting in my cruiser, filling out the paperwork and Genna comes out to thank me. God, she's so pretty. She hasn't changed one bit since we graduated. She thanks me for being so kind to Fortuna, (hell, I was just doing my job,) and I don't know what came over me, I asked her if she wanted to meet me at Billy's Beach Bar on the night of the 4th of July. It was always the place to be in year's past, kind of like New Year's Eve but without the shitty weather. Anyway, she said yes.

The next day, I go to grab my coffee from Sal at the diner and Genna is there. She's going to be working the diner while Sal takes Fortuna to the doctor for her tests, and then over the weekend while the other cook is away on vacation. Of course, I go for my coffee the next morning. Sal isn't there, so we go outside, have a little chat and then I kiss her. I can't help it. She's just so damn sweet. And she kissed me back. I ask her out for that night. She, unbelievably, says yes.

We go to the Clam Shack down on the Wharf and have dinner and conversation. I'm sitting there, listening to her talk and I'm dumbstruck. I can't think, I can't speak, I can't move. I fell in love with her. Right then and there. BLAM! Not falling, not think I'm falling, I fell. Hard, in love. We go down to the beach at Colt Park and walk in the water, romantic right? I mean, don't get me wrong, I can be as suave as the next guy but with her I'm just stupid. I fumble for a kiss, I trip her and she practically falls in the water. I can't get my head on straight. I can't get my moves to groove, if you know what I mean. She's tired, been up since 3:30 and has to do it again the next day, so I take her home. I give her a kiss goodnight but forget to ask her out again. Mache cazzo! How stupid can I be?

So there it is. I'm in love with Genna. Three short conversations, one not half bad date, and I want this girl to spend the rest of her life with me. Is that crazy or what? I mean, it's blowing my mind but I can't help it. She's just perfect, well, except for the fact she smokes, but that can be overlooked. For now. I don't have a clue how she feels about me, I guess she likes me, but I don't want to scare her off. I mean, this is crazy, right?

She's beautiful sure, but she's got this quality, deep down inside her, a goodness, a love for her family, that you don't really find anymore. She takes care of them in such a way, without pretense, without bullshit, just that love, man, that steady sense of quiet committment, it's a head rush. I know that whoever she loves, whoever she marries, that she'll put them first above all else. That man will be the luckiest guy in the world. And I want it to be me.

So, I've got a question for you -- Do you think I should tell Genna how I really feel? That I want to marry her. Or do you think I sound like a stalker? Never mind, I sound like a stalker.

Oh, and check this, she's leaving for this great new job back in Delaware at the end of next week so I only have, like a week and a half, to hopefully, make her fall in love with me back. What am I going to do? I don't think sending her flowers is going to cut it. Do men even do that anymore?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

In Their Own Words -- Disclaimer

Hi everyone. I'm so excited that you are all excited about my new series IN THEIR OWN WORDS. It's been a lot of fun to write and I hope you like it.

I want to put this disclaimer out there right now though. This is written, from what I hope, are my character's perspectives. In their own words. There is cursing, there is bad grammar, there is a lack of fluidity in the narration. It is by no means a first draft, I have drafted endlessly to get their 'voices' perfect, but I want to say right now, all of it will be rated

PG - 17 Strong language, adult themes

I hope that doesn't deter you from stopping by. Pete's post goes up tomorrow and will follow with a Monday Wednesday Friday posting schedule. I'll resume my regular posts after the series ends, sometime in the middle of August.

My reason for doing this series, is two-fold.
1) I didn't want to just leave the blogosphere so I could finish REMEMBERING YOU. I'd hate to lose all my friends and fans because I'm taking a break.

2) This was such a challenging exercise. I know it comes in the middle of writing the book, but I think I know my characters fully now. I could never have done this at the beginning. Now seems the perfect time.

So, I just wanted to let you know what was up. I hope you'll take every opportunity to get to know my characters better. It was a lot of fun for me. And hopefully, when we come to the other side of this, I'll be able to say, I'm finished with the book. (Wouldn't that be swell?)

I'll see you tomorrow.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A New Series

Good Monday morning. I hope your weekends' were filled with fun, frolic and family.
It rained here all weekend so I got lots and lots of work done. Yay me!

Thank you all who decided to throw your hats into the ring to beta read for me. I appreciate it. Truly, more than you'll ever know.

And for all of you who want to kill me for letting Genna & Pete's date end on a bad note, HA! you were punked. Of course I can't tell you what happens but what I can tell you is Pete will have his own words put up right here on this little blog of mine.

I'm taking a page out of the lovely E.Elle's blog and doing a series of character sketches called IN THEIR OWN WORDS. (I hope you don't mind I stole your title Darling, it was just so perfect.)

Pete, Tony, Uncle Sally, Aunt Fortuna, Genna, maybe even Robby and Angie will show up and tell you their story and how it involves Genna. I hope you all stop by and take a look. I'm starting this Wednesday with Pete and will continue to post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it.

Happy Monday!