Monday, January 27, 2014

Quiver

The Amores # 1

Here's an introduction to my Young Adult Paranormal Romance novel, entitled Quiver, and its characters for future accent pieces that will be posted every last Monday of the month. Welcome to the world I created, The Amores.

When Callie Sycer (pronounced Syke-ey) is forced to move to the Upper East Side her senior year of high school, due to her widower father’s fatal illness, she never expects to meet the man of her dreams. In fact, love is the furthest thing from her mind as she tries to come to terms with soon being alone in the world. Archer Ambrose, likewise is never looking for love, but instead instilling it in others. Archer, formerly known as Eros and Cupid, is in fact the Greek god of love. He happens to be “mortalling,” posing as a high school senior when his path intersects with Callie’s and he finds he is oddly and intensely attracted to her, which isn’t like him.
Callie and Archer seem perfect for each other; however, instantly she notices that all is not normal with Archer: he is too beautiful for words, highly mysterious, with eyes that literally shine when feeling intense emotions—not to mention that odd year book photo from 1912 that looks exactly like him. These oddities cannot be completely overlooked, for Callie has inherited the gift to see from her overly perceptive father who has his “hair-brained theories” about the Greek gods actually existing. To complicate matters more, the knowledge of Archer’s true identity would allow Zeus to smite Callie, which is something Zeus is eager to do anyway for inexplicable reasons. On top of his grandfather’s anger, Archer cannot truly express his feelings or he could unintentionally bind Callie to loving him and only him for the rest of her life.
The relationship with his Olympian family is strained further due to his mother Aphrodite, who poses as his twin sister Aroha, being jealous of Callie’s striking beauty. Despite her feelings on the matter, Aroha is still torn between obeying Zeus’s orders, which would feed her pride, and her only true son’s happiness. When things get complicated, she attempts to reunite her broken family for the interests of her troubled son by recruiting Archer’s father, Ares. Under the alias of Chase, Ares attempts to win Aroha back and tries to heal a ruptured relationship with his estranged son. One relationship that may take longer for Chase to repair is the one with his half-brother Apollo.
Archer’s best friend Apollo, alias of Lucien, falls in love with Callie as if some unseen force pulls him in, despite the fact she is with his best friend. Lucien, who cannot lie to another immortal, must choose between his best friend of centuries and his intense attraction to Callie. However, his unstoppable need to seek truth has him questioning and searching for answers into Callie’s past, and the secrets he uncovers could put them all in great danger and destroy the couple’s happiness.
Tensions begin to mount, immortal rules are broken, and Archer finds himself despairingly forced to make a choice between family and friends of millennia and the greatest love of his existence. Will he be able to protect Callie from his own kind by keeping her in the dark about his true identity? Will he be able to defy all of Olympus for love? And most importantly, will he be able to live with the consequences of his actions?

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Cindy


 The Cindy                                                Barflies #1

"The Cindy" drink
12 oz of flat lifeless beer
dash of bitters
1/2 tsp of lemon juice
infinite amount of self-loathing

*allow to get to room temperature and drink with a scowl

Note: the following is a fictional representation that does not represent the real individual beyond the italicized interaction/description.

I’m sitting at a bar watching a football playoff game and catching up with my friend, more of the latter, since nothing is happening in the game yet, when my chair is shoved and my full to the rim lifeless beer spills onto my jeans. I look over my shoulder trying to mask my discontent as I await an apology. There sits a heavyset young woman, who slides her chair with wheels away from me with a look that could kill and then looks me up and down before turning away. I turn back to my friend comment on it and what her “deal” could be but let it go and enjoy my evening, until now…

She, let’s call her Cindy, sits with a man, let's call him Bob; he seems more interested in the game than her, shown by her body language and how he doesn’t notice: chair turned to him, elbow resting on bar, head in hand, head cocked sideways, smiling, laughing, and playfully hitting his shoulder. Her voice is high pitched and at times is whiney. They seem together from the close proximity of their bodies, yet Bob seems completely uninterested. Perhaps it is because she is whiney and rude, or more likely he just wants her to shut up so he can watch the game in peace. I still am in awe of her gall to shoot me a mean look, but I’m used to it. Something about my appearance rarely allows someone to glance and move on. I’m not beautiful nor ugly, not fat but not thin. In fact almost everything about me is “average” except my height, or lack thereof. I’m only 5 feet even and I look young for my age. This usually makes me a target for some reason. People think na├»ve, ignorant, helpless, a pushover, innocent, etc., and then they’re surprised when I’m none of those. I did this with college students as an ice breaker—how we view others on appearance—so I am aware of how young people view me.

So here we are, I’m viewing her and judging how she must view me. It is a vicious cycle of mankind. She hates me; the nasty looks tell me that, although I do not know her, never met her even. I remind her of everything she is not: short, curvy, small boned, happy. Our matching color hair and eyes makes no difference. She feels her eyes are smaller than my large almond shaped ones. My hair somehow has a silky shine to it. She is so insecure her eyes glare over at the three other women in the sausagefest (mostly male patrons) bar. My friend is blond, thin, and intelligent looking. Glare. The curvaceous blond in the corner who has beautiful skin gets a big glare. And I’m left here wondering why she is so bent, and so obvious at that, on hating everyone. Apparently she hates those that she feels point out her physical flaws, only she doesn’t realize the person she truly hates is herself. Cindy is utterly miserable, wheedling, and whining. All the while, Bob, or now I’m venturing to just call him guy-who-feigns-deafness, ignores her and rarely partakes in conversation. The football seems to be the most interesting thing in the world to him and still it is nil-nil entering the second quarter. He has given up, muted her. He doesn’t want her anymore and she knows it. Her body language and her nasal voice project her desperation for all to see. And now I feel bad. At first being angry at her rebuff and inability to apologize, I have now walked a mental mile in her shoes and see how she is losing the last thing that makes her happy. She is stupidly blaming his indifference to her being fat, when in reality it is her putrid attitude and her pervading misery. After all, not once did he check out or even glance at the other women in the bar.

What will happen to Cindy? On the way home she talks smack about the girls in the bar. Bob knows better than to interrupt her tirade. When they get home and go to bed, she tries a little to seduce him, but she’s never been comfortable in her body and has never felt good at it. Cindy had too much to drink; Bob is tired and doesn’t like to take advantage of her when she’s in that state. However, she takes it as him not being attracted to her body, even though Bob loves her body and in general bigger girls; after all, he is a huge guy, with lots of muscle and his own little pot belly. He loves a girl who eats, who is nice and compassionate, has a lot of energy, and who is happy—the way Cindy was when he first met her. Cindy cries and vents about the so-called beautiful girls in the bar and how he must be cheating on her if he doesn’t want her. Bob is tired of it all and retires to the sofa for the night. If she can’t realize her own beauty, and if all his reassurances over the past year aren’t enough, then Bob is out. He breaks up with her the next morning, collects his things from her apartment, and leaves. He's had enough of her insecurities. A year had been her longest relationship, and Bob was the only man she truly loved in her 23 years. He was older than her, more mature, and she liked that.

Cindy, with her sympathetic girlfriends in tote, go out for the evening cursing Bob and trying to get her to check out other guys. Cindy doesn’t have time for them; her friends frown and whisper how in love she is with Bob to not look at other men. However, they don’t realize what Cindy is up to. Cindy is staring daggers at the beautiful, young, thin red-head who has a bunch of guys around her and a free drink in her hand.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Mother’s Grimm Tale

Resounding Moment # 1
Normally, for most, having a baby is one of the best moments of your life, but as always when it comes to anything medically concerned, there is no normal or best with me. I’m healthy per se, but half of the time I’m a medical anomaly. If it can go wrong with me, it will.

This anomalistic predisposition is how I ended up lying on a table, seven weeks before my due date, gaping open, feeling pressure on my chest that I think are my innards (thanks to Kate’s full description of the procedure that I could never forget), with so many IV strands going into me that I’m beginning to take on a very Pinocchion appearance while the doctors put this humpty dumpty back together again. I’m numb physically, paralyzed is a better word, and now mentally, being robbed of my baby whom they whisked away, the husband in tote, after I saw him for three seconds. I’m utterly alone, unable to yield any answers except a half-distracted “all is well” from the crew putting me back together. Best not to bother them, so I try to still my mind although all I want to do is jump up and run off the table. I’m trapped in this useless body and it seems to take five times longer to put me back together than to take me apart. I know the one thing that will calm me but they won’t let me see him or even touch him yet. My womb has been robbed and more importantly I’ve been robbed of a normal joyful birth all my friends talk about, the pain and joy you see in the movies. I’ve been robbed of that strangely significant experience where the mucky, naked, screaming baby’s flesh touches yours and life is supposed to take on a new meaning.

Oh the Swelling!
I’m being moved and I mindlessly look back at the operating table as they fold up the sheets and I see what looks like a prop straight out of a horror movie; I lie to myself it’s all iodine. I dismiss my absurd imagination with the thought that I will see my baby now; nope, instead I’m sentenced to two hours of recovery where I’m supposed to sleep. As my body slowly tingles back to life, I reflect on it all: the overstretching of ligaments that allowed my kneecaps to pop of out socket, inflamed carpal tunnel forcing me to wear braces, the swelling—oh the swelling—and the skyrocketing blood pressure that put me in a hazy fog as if I had a perpetual fever. Severe preeclampsia. Besides the illness and eight days in the hospital, more complications arose, but only after twelve hours of Pitocin induced contractions without any epidurals or meds, the magnesium drip that made me sweaty and nauseated, the pressure on my unyielding stubborn body constantly aggravating me from the inside, and there are no words to describe the pain of repeatedly trying to force dilation. Then of course, the doctor informs me of the acrobatic maneuvers necessary to get the four and half pound baby where he is supposed to be. So C-section it is, and I’m left alone in recovery.


I will not sleep so the nurse brings me a phone, and I finally get some answers from my husband. The baby is great, doing well for a preemie, and beautiful, which really translates later to needing oxygen, in an incubator, and will stay in the hospital for three weeks, but this neither of us are told until later. I hang up the phone with a pang of jealousy. He saw our son, touched him. The shameful jealousy continues as I’m returned to my room. My pleas and demands to see my son are ignored, referred to the head nurse, then doctor, and then are rejected on the grounds that I cannot leave my bed nor can he be taken out of his incubator. I cannot go to him nor him to me. I send the husband home and try to sleep, but despite the exhaustion I can’t. I feel like an empty shell, physically and emotionally. My stomach is still swollen like he is in there but it feels wholly devoid of his life. I’m frightened he feels the same.

Twenty-four more hours shoot by where I put on a brave face and accept flowers, congratulations, and friends and family showing me pictures, recounting how cute he is. The visits are much appreciated and help in distracting me. I’m loved and proud of what I’ve made it through, but each description of my baby sparks envy in me. I try to recall the three seconds I saw him where I asininely said he was bigger than I thought, then recanted it once he was bundled up, but even that moment got enveloped in the fog of preeclampsia and is fading from my memory. I’m left alone for the evening, feeling depression creeping on and an overwhelming exhaustion. I haven’t slept for almost three days, and even the periods of rest were interrupted by my constant companions: the blood pressure cuff, that went off every hour, and the lab taking and testing my blood every six hours. So when the nurse rolls in around nine pm, I figure it’s for another battery of tests or to check the pumps that help my legs circulate. I’m not amused. She comes around the partition with a rolling hospital bassinet, in it a small bundle. She explains something about being able to sneak him in to see me since the construction is forcing them to move the nursery tonight and adds something about both of us needing it; I don’t hear what she says exactly, just the sense of her words. All I have interest in is the little bundle that my eyes want to devour. She hands him to me. There his is. He is tiny, beautiful, gurgling that newborn noise, his huge eyes wide open taking everything in. I talk to him, trying not to cry because it will obscure my view of him and I’m told I only have seconds because she must put him back on the oxygen and keep him warm. As soon as he hears my voice, his eyes lock on mine in recognition and don’t leave, and life feels complicatedly complete. They take him away but an overwhelming happiness sparks inside of me. The emptiness of my stomach gives way to my overflowing heart, and my silly insecure jealousy begins to wane. I replay the image of him looking me over and over again to etch it into my memory forever not letting the fog overtake it. I finally fall asleep with the picturesque, Hollywoodized, anomalistic, best mommy moment replaying in my dreams.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Losing my Blog Virginity

Mission Impossible #1
I am a wife, mother, adjunct English professor, writer, and now blogger, “hear me roaaaar!” Join me for a venture into the world of social media as a tool to get published or to fail miserably. I’m an aspiring author who has published a short story in an online journal but is finding it quite difficult to find representation for my YA paranormal romance series due mainly to time issues (life is busy as you all know!). I never knew how much time had to go into not only selling the idea of your novel but also yourself. My adventure began in the end of 2009 when I was issued a copyright for my first completed novel Quiver. Although to be honest, as many writers know, it started way before that. I’ve been writing stories ever since I scribbled my brother’s name on my wall as a toddler. Over the years, I slowly gained confidence in my writing and now in my early thirties I’m ready to allow others to read my material (sort of). In short, I’m trying to turn a lifelong hobby into a career.

There will be four threads of my blog and I will be posting weekly, every Monday in month cycles: in “Mission Impossible” I’m discussing the process, struggles, and hopefully successes of trying to get published; “Resounding Moments” will be dedicated to explaining pivotal and meaningful nonfiction moments in life; “BarFlies” will be fictional vignettes about random strangers seen in bars, and "The Amores," will be a glance into the world of my YA Paranormal Romance series. Please enjoy, leave feedback in the comment box for each post, and share my blog around to anyone who would be interested. Thank you for your support!
Sincerely,
Lisa Borne Graves

P.S. The fourth thread for an indefinite amount of time will now consist of "Idio(t)ms," posts that hone in on the ludicrous aspects of famous expressions.