New Poem

I’m calling this one Epitaph–and yes, it’s morbid. I’m not sure if it’s considered a prose poem or free verse, though. 😊

I hope you enjoy!

Epitaph

Cry not for me,

when I’m old and senile

with graying hair and wrinkles

and gapped memories

and painfully failing knees.

Cry not for me,

When I have more medicines

Than I can remember taking

For all chronic illnesses

In all letters of the alphabet

That are Hardly worthy mentioning.

Cry not for me,

When I drift away

On silent wings

Of downy dove gray

Colored for my wonders and sins

Filled with joys and tears

Of a life well lived.
Cry not for me,

For I’ve had a great life

Maybe long, maybe short

My regrets remain mine

My annecdotes, around I assigned

In morning recaps, drinking  coffee and tea with ice

And chocolate cookies and triangular pies.

Cry not for me,

When I’m gray and weathered

For I leave behind

A clutch of children

Hatched with every emotion

Ever born across the ocean

To carry my memories.

Cry not for me,

For I’ll always be present

Perpetuated in the actopms

I leave behind

As The legacy of my life.

Copyright © 2022 Jina S. Bazzar

Image taken from Pixabay.
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The Road to Publishing

While it’s true that the path of writing is a solitary one, getting published isn’t. In fact, there isn’t an author out there who wouldn’t agree with the fact that publishing a book is the work of a team.

While I’d been absent from the blogosphere for most of this year and the last, I spent all my time (the free ones) up in a tree, enjoying the moonlight.

Cat in a tree at night – according to Pixabay.

I mean, in my dreams. In my waking hours (though I might or not have been lucid because I can’t remember how the time passed by), I wrote an upcoming trilogy, which I’ll be posting about in the following weeks.

For today, I wanted to take the time to thank some of the authors who’ve helped and supported me in my latest endeavor.

Author Tyler Colins, for reading my books and for the proofread – but especially for being a good friend. I treasure all the back and forth emails we share. You’re an amazing person, an amazing writer, and an amazing editor.

Thank you. I did sniff back some tears of despair when you told me “house” should be in upper case, but I gritted my teeth and went back through book 1 and book 2, and capitalized all 500+ “house”. And yes, I went over one by one because not all the “houses” in the story belonged to a house of power. But hey, I survived.

Author E. Denise Billups. Thank you for always being there whenever I despair about the layout format. Your help is the reason my books are well-formatted, and I appreciate you always taking the time to reply to my emails, format my books – which sometimes you do more than once because I keep messing it up – and for always replying to my rants. And most of all, thanks for being my friend for the past five years.

I promise I’m learning the war strategy for layout format, and hopefully, one day, you’ll tell me that I’ve done it right. My fingers are crossed. Hopefully, they won’t get stuck like that.

It’s covid’s fault – whose else could it be?

While the world is getting vaccinated and covid cases decrease, we’re going through our 4th wave here in the Middle East, and starting a new two week lockdown, trying to manage the spike of British and South African variants – that we could have prevented without a lockdown, if only the boarders remained shut. Or simply by quarantining those arriving.

Alas, that didn’t happen, so now we’re responsible for the spike, because “we, the civilians” didn’t take enough precautions.

At least we have the promise of vaccines dangling like a carrot in front of us. I’d say I hate carrots, but that would be a lie, so along I trod, hoping those vaccines arrive – and my turn as well.

My writing has suffered meanwhile, though I’m not sure if it’s because of the chaos the virus made of everyone’s life, lack of focus, stress, or something else I can’t think to name at the moment. I have to force myself to pick up the draft and add word after word and make cohesive sentences. It’s a struggle, though none that affects any other aspect of my day-to-day in a big way.

Just my writing. Where once I could tune out the world, now I’m easily distracted by anything and everything going on around me – and considering now that the kids will be home for the coming weeks, I probably won’t even manage those few sentences a day.

It’s all covid’s fault.

Source from Pixabay

Any suggestions? Something I could do to return that focus? An exercise I can do, a vitamin I could take, something I could smoke? A planet I could escape to?

Well, I’ll leave you here with something that happened a few weeks ago (when the kids returned to school for the second semester). I’m totally blaming covid for this.

***

My daughter, 3rd grade, returned from school the very first day happy and excited. So happy that she wanted to teach my niece, 2nd grade, some math.

I, as the proud mother, paused what I was doing (tinkering with my fantasy draft of course), and listened.

Daughter: “Let’s do the times table. 3 X 4=?”

Niece: “17!”

Daughter: “No.”

Niece: “18?”

Daughter: “No.”

Niece: “19?”

Daughter: “No.”

Niece: “I know. 20!”

Daughter, now smug: “No. Do you want me to tell you?”

Niece: “yes.”

Daughter: “3 X 4…. It’s 16!”

Source: Pixabay

Bartholomew 3.5 – Covid19 special edition

This one’s been a long time in my document folder, waiting to be posted. Instead of Barth and “I”, this one is about Barth and “my cousin”, Alec.

Just a special edition for covid19

***

Alec stood apart from the twelve other candidates in the spacious but efficient lobby. So far, no one had been called in for the job interview. To his side, Bartholomew, aka Barth the Mew, aka his cousin’s nightmare, stood, one shoulder leaning against the wall as he picked his teeth with a small Swiss knife.

Alec quickly looked away, afraid Barth would catch him watching and feel obliged to engage in conversation. The only reason he’d agreed for Barth to drive (and not escort) him to the job interview, had been to take him away from the house and his cousin – Barth’s current obsession.

Thankfully, no one was paying them any attention.

A guy in the group gave a hearty laugh, and Alec shifted his focus back to them. He listened to each individual boast about their experience and degree, and slowly, Alec’s confidence deflated. He had hopes for the job, but he didn’t have any experience, he didn’t even have a degree because of the virus lockdown. He felt stuck in limbo, unable to move forward without his degree, unable to attain any experience without getting a job.

He should just leave and save himself the embarrassment the rejection would cause.

Alec hugged his one page CV to his chest, afraid anyone would see his pathetic resume, and hung his head low.

“What’s wrong?” Barth asked near his ear.

“Nothing,” Alec said and shifted away.

Barth, because apparently he was as clueless as Alec’s cousin claimed, leaned forward and closed the gap. “Why are you lookin’ so low?”

Alec shrugged. “We should leave,” he said. “I can’t compete with them.” He pointed his chin to the candidates.

“Don’ you have a resume just like them?” Barth asked, eyeing where Alec hugged his CV against his chest.

“My CV is pathetic,” Alec admitted. “Let’s go home.”

“CV? Ain’t that what covid is called on social media?” Barth asked with a confused frown.

“Curriculum Vitae. It’s the Latin name for a resume.”

“Ah.” Barth turned his frown to the group. “I can fix this,” he said and moved away before Alec could stop him.

With dread, Alec watched barth pause beside the tallest candidate and say something that caused the guy to glance back at Alec with alarm.

Alec’s face instantly heated.

Oh shit, he thought with a muffled cough, his cousin was right, Barth was a walking humiliation magnet.

By the time Barth had moved to the third guy, Alec was pressed against the wall, praying a higher dimension would open and swallow him whole. His cheeks were in flame, no doubt the color of ripe tomatoes. Alec continued coughing into his fist to cover his face, but all that accomplished was help his eyes to water and make him look like he was crying.

He could just picture himself standing there, face flushed red, eyes glassy with unshed tears, hunched in on himself. In other words, pathetic.

It was said that everyone could become a murder, given the right circumstance at the right time, but Alec didn’t feel it. Instead, he was resigned to the embarrassment. He lowered his head, fixed his eyes at a bland spot on the floor and allowed the moment to wash over him.

“Done,” Barth said an eternity later. Alec’s head jerked up, but before he could grab Barth and skedaddle out of there, the door at the far end opened and the interviewer stepped out.

Source image from Pixabay

Alec found his cousin in the living room, seated on the sofa with a steaming mug, watching the local news.

“So did you get the position?” she asked the moment Alec sat on the sofa beside her.

Alec grinned. His face was still a little flushed, but he didn’t care. “Sure. I’ll start in two weeks thanks to Barth.”

His cousin paused in the process of sipping from her mug. “Oh? How’d that happen?”

Alec snickered and dropped his pathetic CV on the table. “Barth went around telling the candidates he heard me mention how strong my CV was. I was the only one left by the time the interview began.” Alec waved his hand. “The company’s only concern was that I get tested for the Covid before I start in two weeks.”

*Note: I have no idea if I’m getting the format of the posts right. So if it’s crooked, or words appear out of nowhere, please ignore it the way the new editor is ignoring all my commands.

Me again!

 “Sing like no one’s listening,

love like you’ve never been hurt,

dance like nobody’s watching,

and live like it’s heaven on earth.”

–Mark Twain

I read this a few weeks ago , and it stuck with me. These past few months have been hard on me, on the majority of the world. A lot of people passed away, many still will.

It’s been a while – months – since I last posted here. I didn’t spend these months wallowing in sadness and self-pity.

I read a lot, I wrote a lot, I queried many agents and publishing houses. I let my kids drive me crazy, though I’ve never been sane to begin with, so they only needed to take me around the corner.

I even created a facebook author page. I’m posting the link below – I’m in need of followers! If you have a page, give me a follow and I’ll follow back. I’ve also updated my books here on my blog, and started posting on fb.

This week, I decided it’s time I started writing reviews for the books I read, to return to wp, and straighten my routines again.

I’m hoping to connect again to the friends I made here – looking forward to making rounds again!

My new fb author page:

https://www.facebook.com/JinaBazzarOfficial

Morning Tribute

My love,

 

Since the day we were introduced,

You’ve never been far.

Through laughter and tears,

The bad and the good,

You were there by my side.

My love,

There hasn’t been a day,

When you weren’t within reach,

Always giving me a boost.

You run in my veins,

Your fragrance on my skin,

Your taste on my tongue.

I can honestly say I need you every morning,

And afternoons and evenings too.

No cream, no sugar,

I like my coffee freshly brewed.

Image source https://mewallpaper.com/1778-coffee-love-coffee-beans-hd-image-free-wallpaper?

Let’s call this a poem

When I was “adjusting” some scenes in the romantic thriller, one of the comments a beta made was for me to add a rekindling scene. While I contemplated what, and how, to add the extra scene, my muse spat this one out. Since I have no room for it in the story, I decided to share it here.

Hope you enjoy!

 

A Poem

This was tagged as “living on the edge” a shack atop a cliff. Not sure if it’s relevant to the post but it sounded nice.

Down on one knee

with nothing to offer

but a beating heart

and a broken soul

and moments in time

with no guarantees

to happiness or sadness.

Those soft hands

that took the tribute

Served as a cage

with cruel spikes

that poked and prodded

the tissues of the heart

because those fingers

found it lacking

and threw the heart away

leaving behind

a pulpy mess

jagged with scars.

And years went by

and a kind face

offered smiles

and moonlight walks

and soothed the hurt

and proffered to make

the two a one

by trying to heel

the pain and the misery

of a broken soul

who preferred this time

to play it safe

and refused to go

across the street

or near the edge

where it had once been

on one knee

with a pulpy heart

and a broken soul

once filled with love

now filled with regret

of an imagined life

that will never be

because that heart

had never been

whole to begin with.

 

It’s mind control, only subtler

 

Have you ever finished a book and said, “That was good,” only to read what others thought , realize the book wasn’t that good, and instead of giving the book a 5 star, you give it a 4, or maybe a 4.5? Or have you ever finished a book, didn’t care much for it, then read some reviews that pointed out great plot points that you hadn’t considered, and instead of the 3, you gave it 4 stars?

Let me confess something: I don’t read reviews of books I intend to read soon (soon, because I have a short memory span), and I don’t read reviews before I write my own, because reviews influence the way I think. For example, if I read the review of a book on my soon tbr and the review says, that character was annoying because she did “this” or “that”, I’ll be on the lookout for “this” and “that”. What I mean is that I’ll be influenced by that review, looking for the points he/she made,, and in many cases, overshadowing the conclusions I may have drawn if I didn’t read that review.

Of course, if people are raving about a book that hadn’t made into my radar, I’m bound to read the reviews. And what happens then? I usually find myself disappointed. One such example was “Crazy Rich Asians”. When I first read a review of the book, the reviewer raved about how funny, hilarious, and how she laughed out loud all throughout the book. And then another blogger mentioned how funny the book was. And then another. So I picked up the book. And, if I were to rate it for how funny the book was, I’d have given it a 2. The book, in my opinion, was not funny. Why? Because mostly it highlighted the way rich people belittled those from other (lower) classes, and their prejudice against them. I found most of the characters shallow. But the book was good, and the author did a good job by keeping the mood light, considering the topics it covered. (If you read that book and found it hilarious, are you wondering if you overlooked all the discrimination? Or, are you feeling guilty that you laughed when there was so much prejudice?)

So now you’re thinking, but you said you didn’t read reviews.

I’d rather not, but to each rule there are exceptions, and the same holds true for me.

Times that I do read book reviews:

1- If I’m on the fence about a book, I might read a review or two to help me decide if I want to read it.

2- If it’s a book I never heard about and it caught my curiosity, I might read a review before I add it to my tbr.

3- If the person who wrote the review is someone whose reading taste I’m familiar with.

4- If it’s a book I’ve dnfed.

5- If it’s a book I don’t plan to read – or can’t afford or find.

6- And, of course, if it’s a book I’ve already read.

Disclaimer: I have no idea what this image is, only that it was tagged as “library” and “mystic”

Before I became an author, reviews held little value to me. If I enjoyed a book, I’d rave it to the people I knew, or discuss it with others who read it. I rarely wrote my opinion down and posted it   somewhere for people to see. But I understand the value of reviews, both for authors and potential readers, and while  I’ll hold to not reading reviews – save for the exceptions above – I do write them upon occasion, and do enjoy engaging in discussions when I see the review of a particular book I enjoyed, or disliked, or dnfed, or plan to read one day.

Have you ever heard the quote: “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” By Marcus Cicero?

I’ve discovered that in the publishing world, a book without reviews is a book without much value. And that’s just sad.

What about you? How much value do you put on a book based on the reviews?

I have a question

 

So, I don’t want to make this a long post or drag this out.

The Problem:

A reader told me she’d like to know the reason for a conflict up front while the plot evolves, so I went and added some details, but kept others to prolong the curiosity of the reader. And then the other day, another reader said (after she read the adjusted manuscript) that I should add the reason for the conflict early on, adding that when she finally pieced all the pieces and realized the reason (about a fourth of the way through the book), that she no longer cared or empathized.

My question:

Would you rather have books reveal the reason for a conflict bit by bit as the plot evolves, or would you rather the conflict be explained early on, then see how the plot evolves from there? For example, the protagonist is facing a problem that resulted from such conflict. Would you rather know the reason for that conflict in one scene, or find out in snippets here and there throughout the book? Why is that?

The aftermath

Sometimes, I pause in the middle of the day and check the time, only to feel like time is crawling by slowly. But if in that same day I take a look back at the years, or months, or even weeks, my thoughts  are always on how time flies by on jet wings. Is it my cynic self being contradictory, or is everyone the same? Mostly, however, I think on how the past, the farther you think back, the better life was. It makes one fear what the future hides in store.

Inner philosopher aside, I realized last night that it’s been over a month since my last post. I meant to post something a while back, several somethings actually, but keep getting distracted.

For one, after I finished with the last book in the Roxanne Fosch Files trilogy in January, I began drafting a new book. In may, the manuscript was out with beta readers. The book, titled “Of Fame and Ruin” is a romantic thriller, something new to my writing, though not to my reading. This story has been percolating in my mind for years now, and I’d even gone and drafted some scenes so I wouldn’t forget. And the moment Heir of Fury, the last book in the trilogy was out the door, I began drafting, conferring now and then with that mismatched few scenes.

 

I wasn’t sure which excerpt to use in this post, and finally settled on one, though I’m sure when the post goes live, I’d doubt my choice 😉

 

So, let me paste first the blurb – which is still subject to future change. If any of you have suggestions, good or bad, let me know in the comments below.

 

Blurb:

 

Two opposite halves.

 

He’s a rock star who lives in the limelight.

She’s a multimillion dollar heiress who longs for quiet.

 

They were perfect for each other.

 

When the inevitable happens, their pieces no longer fit.

 

Carol’s first and last impulsive act changed her life. She’d have regretted it, had it not brought her the happiest moments too.

Chad put his singing days in the past, where he wanted them, and a certain woman to stay buried. Unfortunately, his celebrity status didn’t go away, and neither did the memories of a weekend in paradise.

 

Fate had a hand in throwing them together. Their past broke them apart.

When a psychopath decides it’s payback time, Carol had no choice but to turn to the only person who could help, even if doing so revealed her biggest secret. Chad wanted nothing to do with the woman who played him as a fool, but was he strong enough to walk away now that he knew the truth?

 

Excerpt:

Josh walked into his father’s hardware store, his eyes finding Chad at once, behind the cash register–standing for Ralph again. He sighed deeply, no longer surprised. Such a waste of talent, his brother. A bachelor’s degree and a JD, a voice that could win awards, and there he was, putting in regular hours as if he couldn’t find anything better.

He moved around to the employee’s side and came to stand beside him. A gangly teenage boy with wire-rimmed glasses shifted from foot to foot while Chad rang his purchase.

“Thanks, Mr. Parker.”

“Any time, David.”

“Mmm,” the boy fidgeted, “can I have another autograph, Mr. Parker? I forgot the last one in my pocket and my mom washed my pants, and, you know?” He pushed his glasses up with his index, and Josh smirked.

“Sure, it happens all the time,” his brother obliged, pulling out a notepad Josh suspected was there for autographs alone.

The boy took his prize with a broad smile, waved at Chad, and hurried out the door. Both Josh and Chad watched as he showed the piece of paper to a group of boys standing by the sidewalk, high fiving each other before skidding out of sight.

“You know he’s selling that on e-bay, right?”

Chad grinned. “Yeah, made more than a grand by now too.”

Josh studied his brother’s profile. He’d grown to wear some stubble after he broke his engagement with Debbie, taking to shaving only once a week. And though he’d gained some weight, most of it was muscle around his shoulders and torso, the result of the weight lifting he and Neil had started a few months back.

“So this is it? This is how you’re spending your days?” Josh asked in a low tone, aware of customer ears nearby. “Hiding in the store, filling in for lazy employees, giving away autographs for a good cause?”

Chad’s eyes flashed with annoyance. “Haven’t we closed this topic twice already?”

They had, but Josh refused to let his brother waste his life away like that. “We never got to a conclusion.”

They both fell quiet when a woman brought her purchase to be checked.

“Good morning,” she said politely, her English heavy.

“Morning, Elena. How do you do?”

“Fine,” she replied with a nice smile. “My friends and I are going to Coney Island this weekend.”

“That’s great.”

“I’m not sure yet if I should go, you know?” she shrugged, “these days I feel like I’m the extra, what with everyone and their dates and me alone. It’s kind of weird.”

Chad made a sympathetic sound. With pursed lips, Josh observed the exchange.

“Maybe I should find an extra friend to come along, just so I won’t feel left out.” She gave Chad a meaningful look that he ignored.

“Maybe you should,” he agreed.

“Maybe. I might even decide I don’t want to go to Coney Island, and me and my extra friend can stay in my place, order pizza, maybe even watch a movie.”

“That’s nice. Twenty-nine ninety-nine.” Chad gave her a polite smile, and after a second, she reached into her purse and pulled out her card.

Josh watched the woman go, admiring the rearview. She looked nice enough, dressed nice–low, formfitting Capri pants, a red tank top that enhanced the size of her boobs. Nice curves, nice smile, nice hair. Good teeth, smelled of peaches.

“Why you blew her off like that?” he asked, puzzled.

Chad shrugged. “Not interested.”

“I see. How long have you not been interested?”

***

Chad tapped his finger on the countertop, not bothering to hide his irritation. “Let’s see, Elena has been coming here since last winter. A few months, then, I’d say.”

“Is the not interested the reason you broke your engagement with Debbie?”

“No, that was another matter altogether,” Chad said, his brother’s psycho analysis grating.

“What’s the matter with you, women don’t interest you anymore?” Josh asked, his voice rising in pitch. A few feet away, Todd stopped dusting the shelves and glanced back at them.

“What’s next?” his brother went on, unrelenting.

“That’s none of your business,” Chad snapped.

“Why do you insist on throwing your life away? You’re twenty-nine, for fuck’s sake, do something besides hiding yourself in a small office, doing minimal work. When did you last go home for dinner? Talked to Nelson? Because no one’s seen him or talked to him for months. You go to the gym with Neil every day but don’t exchange more than a handful of words. Did you know Monica is expecting their third child? Or that Neil is considering filing a missing person’s report if Nelson doesn’t show up or answer his phone? Did you know Celia has a boyfriend and that they’re looking for an apartment to move in together? Noah is dead, through a fault of his own–”

“That’s enough,” Chad hissed, his brother’s words cutting deep.

Todd moved away, no doubt to give the brothers privacy, and Chad glared at Josh. “I’ll say this for the third time and no more. I don’t want, neither now nor in the future, to record a solo. Do you understand? Whether I choose to rot away in the office above or not, it’s my choice to make, not yours.” He unclenched his fists and turned away. “My singing days are over, buried in a past I don’t want to return to.”

Stiff silence followed, broken only when the front door opened and let in the sound of the outside world.

And there she was, five days, four nights, and she’d changed his life forever.

 

***

So this is it for today. Hopefully I’ll be back next week with a new post. In the meanwhile, I plan to make some rounds and visit the blogs I’ve missed since my absence.

The aftermath

https://www.amazon.com/Heir-Ashes-Roxanne-Fosch-Files-ebook/dp/B07B1JBMCW/