Monday, March 19, 2018

Lost--and Found

Sacchi Green

Loss has been on my mind too much lately for me to write lightly about it, and I’ve been tempted to opt out of this topic, but I might as well give it a try. Fair warning that it’s just my own idle meandering, pretty much gloomy except possibly the part about the erotic dreams.

I need to clear out and try to sell the house where I grew up, at least from the age of nine. I watched it being built by a local carpenter with my father helping as an assistant. Now my father, at 98, has recently been moved to an “extended care” facility very near where I live, an hour away from where he lived with my mother for more than sixty years, and then six more years alone (with help from family and friends.) The house now isn’t worth much, but the land is, so most likely when it’s sold the house will be torn down and a McMansion-type house will replace it.

I feel as though my memories are being lost, but of course I do still have many. So does he, sporadically; occasionally he’ll suddenly tell me something he remembers that he couldn’t remember when I asked him several times before. Mostly inconsequential things like where we used to pick blueberries, or memories of vacations spent camping and canoeing with his brother (my uncle who died last year) and his family. All this is just the natural way life goes, I know.

But the house seems to haunt me, the house and who I used to be there, who we all used to be. When it comes to the house, I feel a sense of loss when I enter, a loss of the time not too long ago when I would be there to cook him dinner, leaving several days worth of leftovers for him to reheat in the microwave oven until I came again. The times before he burned up the microwave because he forgot that you can’t put metal in them, and then, a few days later, had a fit of some sort right in front of my brother and fell hard against the wall, hit his head, and was taken to the hospital. He’s never been back since.

 Now I look around the house to decide what I should take away next. This week, I think, I’ll get the stacks of family photographs, still loose or in envelopes, unorganized except that I went through them after my mother died getting rid of duplicates and indecipherable pictures. And I’ll take the huge basket of family genealogy material that she had accumulated, also unorganized. At least my daughter-in-law has an interest in genealogy, so she may preserve them for my granddaughter.

There’s one thing about the house, though, that I’d be more than happy to lose. Why do so many of my dreams seem to take place in it? I haven’t lived there in over fifty years, but I still have those dreams, some of them very strange. The ones about missing the school bus make a certain amount of sense, and so, I guess, do the ones about suddenly having to fix a meal for a crowd of relatives using only whatever canned or dried foods my mother had accumulated over so many years of grocery store “sales” that most of them were likely to be well past their “use by” date. No, I never really had to do that, although I did on occasion miss the school bus. Dreaming that I’m in my old bed, in the room that later became my father’s office, isn’t so strange, either, except that in these bed dreams I’m sometimes having sex with people I met much, much later, and who have never been there. In fact that’s where most, if not all, of my erotic dreams take place, complete with the sense that we have to try to be quiet because the family would hear us. No, there was never any actual sex going on there, and definitely no abuse. I never even masturbated until I was in college, although I did read some rather hot books there, so maybe that explains it. Still, wouldn’t you think that someone with considerable experience of writing sex scenes could come up with some better settings in their dreams? Or maybe that’s why I feel the need to write sex scenes with better settings.

Life does go on. I need to get practical. Do I have to empty out all those outdated cans and boxes of food on shelves in the basement and clean them so that I can take them to be recycled? Do I bring it all home and overwhelm my compost pile with the contents, or dump them in either the forest behind his house or the one behind mine? Do I tote boxes and boxes of usable dishes and cooking pans back to donate to my local Survival Center, or see if some organization in his town will come to get them? Do I have to overcome the feeling that I should keep the house stocked at least well enough to stay in for a day or two just in case of needing to do so for, say, a funeral? Which may not happen for several years yet, because in spite of age and fading memory and unsteadiness, he doesn’t have any immediately life-threatening health problems.

There’s a “found” aspect to all this, too. In one of my bursts of cleaning I swept out a mass of clutter from underneath the very low shelf on my father’s desk. Something glittered—a candy wrapper? An unusually clean paper clip? A coin? Wait—a ring! A gold ring! It was my mother’s wedding ring, once enlarged for her, then much too big when she grew very thin toward the end. We’d thought it was saved in a certain box in  certain place, but then we couldn’t find it—until now. Hmm, this could be worked into a story. Probably won’t be, but just the same; thanks, Mom.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Crisis in Midlife

by Giselle Renarde

I'll tell you how I've been feeling lately.

I've been feeling like every worthwhile thing I'm ever going to do in my life--everything good, everything useful, everything productive--I've already done. The best is behind me. I'm just waiting out my sentence.

Last month, my mother told me I'm not a spring chicken anymore. That threw me for a loop. Isn't your mother supposed to think of you as a child for always? But when I told my girlfriend, she said, "Yeah, well you're middle aged."

Middle aged?

My ex, who (as you know) was much older than me, used to say that every time he looked in the mirror, he expected to see his 18-year-old self. And instead he saw an old man. It was jarring.

I didn't get that when I was 19.

I get it now.

The thing I really didn't get is that a midlife crisis is... well... a crisis. Crisis in the sense of crisis counseling, crisis lines, crisis intervention. The term always made me think of sports cars and 22-year-old girlfriends, but there's more to the story. Holy Mother of God, is there more to this story.

There's a reason you try to recapture your lost youth: that's when you accomplished everything of value. Or, at least, that's when I did. Or, at least, that's how I feel. But you're talking to someone who peaked in high school. Your mileage may vary.

I'm sure there are ways to feel useful again. Volunteer work and such. But volunteer works is just one more of those things I did when I was younger. I worked in the domestic violence sector for years, and I burned out so hard I can't even tell you. I've volunteered my ass all over this city, and most organizations (the big box charities in particular) have left me disillusioned at best and disgusted at worst.

In a perfect world, I would feel fulfilled by my work.  So I've devoted a lot of my time and energy to projects I felt would be helpful to others. The thing is, in order for your book to help anyone, someone in the world has to... read it. And when you get to the point where you write something super-meaningful and then you literally can't even give it away for free, it becomes pretty clear that the work isn't going to dig you out of this hole.

Now I get why people go back to what gave them pleasure as children, as youths. There's a simple joy to childhood that's so hard to recapture decades later.  The lights dim over time. The world is less shiny and bright.

Maybe I've been watching too many YouTube videos about nihilism and existential angst, but lately I've been wondering if I should even bother trying to do anything of value, if anything actually has innate value anyway, or if we're all just marking time.

I remember having fantasies, when I was young. Fantasies about all the exciting things I would do in the future. I would imagine scenarios in detail. It was really energizing. Made me want to get up in the morning and work toward my goals.

Now? In midlife, or whatever this is?

I don't have fantasies anymore. do you get through life when it seems like your best days are behind you?

I'm taking it one day at a time.

I've been working at publishing all the stuff that's just sitting on my hard drive.  Most recently, I've released the second edition of my book Ugly Naked People. It's a collection of queer fiction. This second edition has a new stories, three of which have never been published before now.  No sense letting perfectly good fiction go to waste. Might as well get it out in the world.

If you're so inclined, Ugly Naked People is available from booksellers like Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo and Google Play.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Remember Me

 I sat in my seat with a photo in my hand, waiting for the service to start.  The photo, from 1973, showed a beautiful young woman with long hair and long, long legs in high summer standing next to a tall manly man with a huge head of hair and a mustache and big authoritative looking glasses.  The man’s name was John.  The girl’s name was Dana.  It was the only photo I had of her. Up until yesterday.

My friend Denise leaned over and whispered, pointing, “who’s that?”

“Her name’s Dana,” I said. “I lost my virginity to her when I was 18.”

“Is that you, then?” she said pointing to the man.

“Naw, I wish,” I said.  “He’s John.  That’s the guy she dumped me for.”  Denise guffawed and covered her mouth.   

“I was no competition for him at all.” Then I laughed.  “I just found out a couple days ago she died from cancer last year, over in Oklahoma.”

It was after all, Day of the Dead.

My little Unitarian Church celebrates the traditional Latin holiday “Dia de Los Muertos”, Day of the Dead.  For those who haven’t seen the movie Coco yet, this is Spanish culture’s more optimistic  version of Halloween.  Instead of being haunted by the dead, we celebrate them and offer the things we knew they loved, cigars, chocolate and so on.

In our church service we had a fairly large ofrenda up front where people could come to place something during the course of the service to remember those who had died. I found out about Dana when I was zoning out on the sofa the day before, watching reruns of the Walking Dead.  Dana was my first love.  I did actually know a little bit about what became of her.  In 1998, when the Internet was still young and innocent I joined, which may have been the precursor to Facebook.  It’s still around and it’s where school mates gather to rediscover eachother.  In a time when everyone moves away, class reunions are hard to count on, and some of us aren’t that sentimental about our high school experience.  

I posted my profile and one bright day Dana posted hers.  You could email people directly through the system then.  I emailed Dana and asked - and yes - she remembered me.  I wasn’t her first love, I knew that, but I was certainly in the pantheon of early experiments. Her response was swift and heartfelt.  She had felt terrible all these years for the way in which she thought she had dumped me so suddenly and maybe cruelly, in her remembering.  She gave me a brief biography of the twenty plus years that had passed. She had arrived in a small town in Oklahoma, she told me the name, and said she had had a rocky love life but finally found a good and decent man with whom she had terrible fights that somehow drew them closer.  I wrote her and gave the back story of my adventures in those twenty years, hoping we’d be penpals.  But no. I never heard from her again. 

I’m remembering the back seat of my Dad’s Mercury Cougar on a hot Minnesota night, parked under a street light and how it all felt and how it how it all turned out.  Sometimes the best thing a lover can do for you is dump you and set you free to chase your destiny.  I googled Dana and her town and she turned up -   dead.  An obituary explained she had died after along struggle with cancer.  There was a picture of her in her final days.  I would not have recognized her, but I knew those eyes.  You remember the eyes.  She was in a bed, tubed up giving a brave thumbs up sign, her hair gone.  Behind her posed a man about my age - his hair also gone - smiling kindly and looking strong.  We all havea few false starts.  She found love and had not died alone.  Go your way, dear girl.  Go your way.

Ronnie was our cat, our only pet and household animal for eighteen years in two different countries and four states. This week Ronnie died.  We never had a spare cat or dog to cushion the pain. Ronnie was the cat, family. My son grew up with him, side by side, from the time he was seven years old into young manhood.  He wrote a beautiful obituary on facebook remembering our beloved friend. Ronnie in his prime was a huge orange tabby, a whopping 19 pounds of territorial, jealous, beastliness, with claws like a bobcat who took on big dogs and sent them howling. 

Old cats die when their kidneys begin to go on them.  His kidneys were going, his hind legs were going.  He shrank from a street fighting tough to a frail and fragile thing at the end.  It became harder and harder for him to carry himself straight.  He was always hungry, his food didn’t stick to him. He stayed close to home and played it safe.  His old haunts, street drains, nearby woods and people’s yards and garages became more and more out of reach for him as he felt his strength leaving him.   Nature is not kind to old animals, which other predators see as an easy meal. If he got in another fight, he knew it would bad.

  He would sit outside with me, sitting in the dark together, dreaming.  What does a cat think of when he’s sitting like that, with the distant serenity of a zen master?  Does he remember, with a sting of sadness and pride, his youth when he was formidable and other animals cleared out of his way?  When he jumped fences, explored and had adventures? When he loved?

He died strong. 

The night before he died, he had vomited what I knew, but refused to believe, was blood.  He woke us at 1:30 in the morning howling and filthy.  I cleaned him off and went back to bed, but I lay awake all night, listening.  I told my son, and while I was at work the next day, he stayed with Ronnie and reported back that he was behaving normal and even seemed energetic and happy. I still wondered about the blood.  Maybe he had eaten a toad.  He had most of the symptoms. Yes, a toad would do.  On our last evening, my wife ironed clothes, I sat on the floor writing on my computer, Ronnie perched on his favorite ottoman between me and my son, his eyes closed, purring softly and with deep contentment.

Late at might, I went to bed, but the lights were on upstairs, and complaining I got up to turn them off.  My last view of Ronnie in the dim hall light, he was sitting in a chair.  Breathing gently, ribs barely moving.  I thought at first he was asleep, but I saw his eyes were open and he was looking off into some far distance, so serious.  I thought of petting him goodnight but something in his look told me to leave him be. 

My wife found him in the morning, upstairs in a closet where he had buried himself in the family junk.  He had climbed a flight of stairs, close to twenty steps, with almost no back legs, with whatever internal destruction he had suffered the night before, like a cripple climbing the side of a mountain.  He sought out his solitude and on the sad peak he left us.  He died in his own way, like a proper beast, without a sound and with tremendous dignity. The way a lion dies.  Goddamn.

When I look at that picture of my boy and his kitten side by side, I feel like I understand what the Buddhists mean by impermanence and essential emptiness.  It all passes away, the good and the bad, like a dream.  The ones you love and you yourself will float away downstream.  The period of time is only for a moment and then it morphs into something else.  The little boy is gone, now incarnated as a man, strangers with common memories. The big eared kitten lived his full span, loved and was loved and now is no more. Someday I’ll be no more.  Someday the boy will be no more. Hopefully in that order. It all passes away downstream.

I feel pain, I feel grief, but I don’t seek comfort. Comfort is not what I need. The pain is what I need. To honor my friend with my pain.  To listen for his demanding yowl when I come in the door. To trip over him one more time when he stands quietly behind my legs.  I need this pain, his final gift to me, to carve my heart deep, to feel.  For the future.

I need this pain because I need to get myself ready.  I’m at a point in my life, in my age, in my generation’s age, when this kind of thing is going to keep on happening to me more and more. 

Except that from here on, it’s not going to be cats.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Quit while you're ahead

On 31 October 1996 I lost a baby.
There, I’ve said it. The stark, immovable fact. I shall never forget the bewildered desolation which engulfed me when the radiologist finally stopped clicking her mouse and swirling the gunky monitor across my swollen abdomen and turned to face me. No turning the screen around like the last time so I could look at the image.
“I’m sorry. I can’t detect a heartbeat.”
I stared at her, nonplussed. What rubbish. That’s impossible. There must be a heartbeat, if there wasn’t…
Across the room my husband put his head in his hands. That was when it sank in, or started to.
My baby’s dead.
What followed was something of a whirlwind. My son had to be delivered, so we were taken to the delivery suite where, to the raucous accompaniment of women screaming in labour and grumpy infants stretching their lungs for the first time, my dead baby slithered into a world he would never see.
We called him Jack, a name hastily conjured up in those frantic, other-worldly, grief-stricken hours. He was tiny, very, very tiny, his little coffin no bigger than a shoebox when he was buried two weeks later. Only my husband and I attended the burial, which was the way we wanted it. Completely private. But I know both of Jack’s grandmothers turned up there later in the day and left flowers.
There was never any satisfactory explanation for our loss. Nothing to blame, no dangers to avoid next time.
And there was always going to be a next time. I decided that as I lay on the bed in the delivery suite, surrounded by kind midwives and a sympathetic consultant. This should have been a happy, exciting occasion, full of smiles, optimism, enthusiasm for a future about to unfold. Not this tragic, traumatic, inexorable fall off a cliff. It wouldn’t do, wouldn’t do at all. It needed to be fixed. I felt like a failure and I was determined not to settle for this.
Baby Jack’s conception was a total accident, a contraceptive failure. We’d been blissfully child-free up to then and I doubt we would ever have changed our minds. Life has a habit of upending your carefully laid plans, of course. I also realised that you don’t become a parent when your baby is born. You become a parent the moment you know the embryo is there, living, growing, striving for life. Any other details are just a matter of geography really.
My next conception was planned meticulously, and from the moment I knew I was pregnant again I was in a constant state of anxiety in case the unthinkable happened. Once was bad luck, awful, horrible, soul-crushing bad luck. Twice would have been beyond grievous. I don’t believe I could have picked myself up again.
I counted the days, then the weeks, then the months. Every new dawn brought me – us –  closer to retrieving what had been lost, improved the chances of success ever so very slightly. The first three months came and went, so far so good. The next month, then the next. The day my unborn baby reached the point the medics would call viable I was elated. Now, even if my body let us all down, others might be able to step in and save my baby.
That pregnancy went to full-term. I turned up again at the delivery suite, and this time they didn’t quickly scoot the cot out of the room and replace it with a television set. This time, it was for real.
My daughter came into the world screeching at the top of her lungs. Twenty years later, I can safely say not much has changed.
We still visit Jack’s grave on the anniversary of his death. We always will, and although he was so briefly known, if he had never existed I doubt I would have gone on to have my wonderful daughter. He remains part of our family, part of what makes us ‘us’.
“Are you going to have any more children?” We were often asked that when our daughter was small. “They do better if they have company.”
Not in this lifetime. I got over losing Jack, just about. Learned to live with it, at least. And I love being a mother, no achievement has ever made me as proud as that one. I lost something indescribably precious that awful night in 1996, but eventually found something else to treasure just as much. I’m not pushing my luck.
If ever there was a case for quitting while you’re ahead, this was it.

Monday, March 12, 2018

What Was Lost: Three Flashers -- #virginity #kidnapping #eunuch

Flash bulb

By Lisabet Sarai

Five Stages

When did she disappear?”

Four years ago.” My companion hardly looked old enough for this to be plausible. She examined her manicured nails and sighed. “She’d be seven now. More coffee?”

No, thank you.”

She sipped hers, deep in thought. I scanned the sunny backyard, noting the jungle gym in the far corner. The lost girl had been an only child. I wondered at the woman’s serene composure.

How do you manage?”

Therapy.” A wan smile. “I’ve learned the five stages.”

You mean, like the stages of grief?”

A bit. But simultaneous. Grief is the first. Every day I spend some time in despair.”

I nodded. “And the others?”

Acceptance. I have to realize I may never see her again. Then there’s service. Like volunteering for the lost child hotline. And giving this interview.”

Which I appreciate.”

Stage four is continued investigation. I have a top PI on retainer. I’ll know as soon he finds a shred of new evidence.”

I tapped some notes into my tablet. “And stage five?”

She smoothed her hands over her designer slacks. Her lips tightened into thin line as she met my gaze. “Retribution. I won’t rest till I’m holding his bleeding balls.”

I’m ready.

We’ve been making out for more than an hour in his dad’s car, parked by the fields on the outskirts of town. I’m on fire from his roving hands, his evergreen cologne, the masculine roughness of incipient beard on his high-school-boy cheeks. I’m eager to lose my innocence, to step through the gateway into womanhood.

He’s ready, too. He’s stashed a blanket in the trunk. A full moon rides among the stars over our heads. Hand in hand we wade through the tall grass to the top of the hill. I strip, feeling his eyes on me, knowing my own power. He does the same. His erection is massive, scary, thrilling. Power indeed!

From his discarded jeans he pulls a condom. Fascinated, I watch him tear the foil, extract the limp bit of latex, try to roll it down over his cock. It’s not working.

Can you help?”

I’ve touched him before, even stroked him to messy climaxes, but now my hands are clumsy. The head is inside, but the rest seems stuck. As I fumble, his cock wilts.

Finally we lie defeated on the blanket, in each other’s arms.

Guess we weren’t ready after all. 

For the Queen

It’s not true, you know.”


Castration doesn’t eliminate sexual desire. Not when you’re cut after puberty.”

You still feel aroused? You still want women, even after—”

And men. Eroticism begins in the mind, Eleanor. Imagination is a potent aphrodisiac. When someone attracts me, I start spinning fantasies. Usually, of course, I don’t act on those notions, but they’re surprisingly satisfying.”


The chief eunuch gives an enigmatic nod.

Why did you do it?” I can’t conceive of a motivation compelling enough to make me give up my breasts or my clit—which I notice is tingling due to this turn in our conversation.

For the Queen. She needed my counsel, my wisdom, my admittedly Machiavellian skills, to develop into the steel-spined ruler the kingdom needed. She was so young when she came to the throne. But she already understood the distractions and dangers of sex.”

Does she know?” Our Majesty is no longer a green girl.

A buttery smile stretches his pudgy cheeks. “She guesses. She trusts me now.”

I should be wary of this powerful creature, but I can’t resist.

How–when you’re aroused, how do you–?”

He lays a soft hand on my thigh. “Let me show you.”

Saturday, March 10, 2018

What Am I Reading?

Nuthin'. Well, not nuthin', but nuthin' that bears blogging about. A bit of this, and a bit of that. I'm much more of a grazer these days because I'm sinking myself into writing at a much more professional level of output, and I'm also killing it in cover art. I've made 120 covers this year alone (including all the Brazen Premade covers I've done).

So I thought I'd focus on one of the other reasons I'm not reading a lot. I've been watching and learning.

One of my cover art clients added me to a group on Facebook, so I could see first hand the comments that were being made on the cover mockup I'd made him. It's a group that's run by Mark Dawson's Self-Publishing Formula. Through that group, I noticed there was an actual course being run for cover art.

Now, I've been working as a professional in the book cover art scene since 2009. I've made well in excess of 1,000 covers. Possibly even getting closer to 2,000, though I have no time to go back and count them all. Some of the covers have ended up in Amazon's Top 100. Some have made it onto the USA Today and even New York Times bestseller lists.

But all that notwithstanding, I figured the only time we stop learning is when we die. (I assume we stop learning then). And the course is being run by a bloke who's made covers for George R.R. Martin and Stephen King, though trad publishers. So I figured it couldn't hurt to get a gander at the whole beast.

I've done some of the preliminary stages, and so far it's all only been theory. I've looked at the subject matter that's coming up and I see it's covering things I already know how to do. But...what if the way I'm doing it is taking twice as long as some other way? That's the kind of question that occurs to me daily.

After all, I'm almost entirely self-taught when it comes to design. I have an eye for balance, and I've worked with Photoshop and Illustrator since the very early 1990s, and that's all good grounding. But I've developed techniques of my own for tricky things such as cutting a human out of a background, and keeping all their flying hair intact. I've never been taught the fine parts of that, but through logic and reasoning have developed my own little refinements. I have no doubt many others have found similar ways to do it, or have even developed exactly the same technique.

So, as I move through the course, I hope to find either validation for the ways I do things...or improvements on those same things.

And maybe, just maybe, I can get even faster at churning out these babies!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Bright Spots: Books I Couldn't Put Down ( #amreading #romance )

by Annabeth Leong

I’ve been having a lot of misses in my reading lately, books I’ve really struggled to connect with. For some reason, I’ve been reluctant to put these books down recently, and so one book will take me weeks to get through.

In contrast, though, I’ll give you the shining exceptions to the rule, the books I raced through. These left me wanting more just like them.

Every Day
By David Levithan

I found out about this book because it’s a movie, and I loved the premise I saw in the trailer. A wakes up in a different body every day, and consequently has both an unusual amount of insight into the human condition and more than a fair share of loneliness. The story starts the day A falls in love with a girl named Rhiannon, and chronicles an amazing attempt to pursue that love despite the fact that one of the lovers never knows who they’ll wake up as the next morning.

The book feels deeply queer--A identifies as genderless, and to love A, Rhiannon must confront questions about what it is that she loves about a person. It is a struggle for her to always love A for who A is, to deal with the various bodies that appear as her lover.

For the most part, the book is so wise about different bodies, though I did feel that the chapter in which A wakes up very fat carried less of A’s usual compassion and insight and more of the poison of societal disgust--even as it makes efforts to deal with that poison. It’s become very striking to me that it’s possible in our culture to have compassion for nearly every other human condition, and yet any time fat comes up, the moral judgment seems to come right along with it.

I raced through this book. It’s written beautifully, and also I needed to know what would happen. I’d highly recommend it.

A Hope Divided
By Alyssa Cole

The second entry in Alyssa Cole’s Loyal League series is the story of the romance between a free black herbalist, Marlee, and a white Union spy, Ewan, during the Civil War. I loved the first book in the series, An Extraordinary Union, which was about a black female spy and a white male spy during the same period, and I ordered the second book the moment I finished the first.

So many things stand out. For one thing, Cole’s characters feel so unique. They have distinct quirks--Ewan turned to stoicism while growing up with child abuse, but his strange, clipped manners lead him to connect with Marlee intellectually in a way that she, used to having her scientific mind disrespected, really needs. These two feel so distinct from the characters in the first book, and I have to say that in many romance series, I feel that the characters are reskinned versions of each other from one book to the next.

Then there’s the setting. Cole’s research into the Civil War is deep and incisive. She looks well beyond the stereotypes about belles and brother against brother, bringing forward characters that are far too often neglected in these narratives. Reading A Hope Divided, I had a stunning realization that also embarrassed me a bit. Of course, not everyone in the South was for secession, and of course that would be for all sorts of different reasons (humanitarian, apathetic, patriotism, etc)--how had I never seen that before? The result is a much more satisfying view of the Civil War South, free of the gauzy nostalgia that so often poisons the time. Cole’s books grapple very seriously with racism, cruelty, and the cost of resistance, while also managing to uplift through a convincing portrayal of the power of love.


Really, I should quit struggling through the books that I’m getting stuck on and just go read everything these two authors have ever written...