Buried Secrets, Unrequited Love, & Other Themes Irresistible
Haven't you ever wanted to dig through an old trunk in an attic and uncover something that shocks you? Just imagine - you have to pry the latch open, for over the years it has rusted and seems to somehow be swollen. You're sweating from all the attic's trapped heat, but also from the exertion...and anticipation. Once or twice the makeshift tool you use (which is actually a
butter knife you've dug out of a forgotten box of old silverware) slips, and you end up raking your knuckles over the latch, stinging them and breaking the skin. You swipe them on your jeans, absently wondering when you last had a tetanus shot, before once again taking another jab at the latch with your butter knife. You pry....pry....panting and heart pattering, then....POP! You fall backward, tush smacking hardwood as the latch at last gives way.
The trunk is unlocked. Your sweat and bruised knuckles have paid off. And yet....
And yet you stay seated, precisely where you fell, palms stretched out and braced on the planks of the hardwood behind you as you stare at the trunk. All that work it took to pop the latch...suddenly it feels like it all rushes back at you as prickles, scritching on the nape of your neck. Like a warning. A portend perhaps suggesting that whatever is waiting in that trunk is nothing you truly want to find. A sign that maybe there was a reason the latch stayed so stubbornly closed.
What's in there? You push yourself up, suddenly embarrassed by your own superstition.
Nonetheless, you still glance about guiltily even though you're completely alone, and it is gingerly - and with some sense of apology - that you raise the trunk's lid, flinching as its hinges grate, a sound that scatters all the dust motes which have been drifting in and out of the narrow bands of sunlight that stream in through the cracks in the walls.
"I shouldn't," you say aloud, and even though you don't quite know who you are talking to - or, more importantly, why - you still reflexively move to push the trunk lid back down, prepared to quickly re-latch it and leave.
For a stolen glance into the trunk has lifted a gasp to your throat. A cloud, a cloud the color of candlelight, is cradled right there at the top, and even while your eyes sweep its lines, your heart knows what it is:
A bridal gown.
Your Great-Great Grandmother's bridal gown, tenderly folded onto itself, and - you touch it - as brittle as flowers pressed over a century ago. Your breath suspends as you slide your forearms beneath the gown's fragile fabric, so stiff there is no give to the dress as you lift it out and then swivel, on your knees, to set it aside.
A tiny click shicks against the hardwood as you lie the dress down, and, perplexed, you slip your hands back beneath it, searching for whatever errant attachment made the wee noise. It was metallic, that click, and as you seek it out, the pads of your fingers indeed encounter a shape readily recognized. A safety pin! And....you feel. Paper...no, parchment, pinned to the dress.
You flip the gown over, forgetting all your care from before, yet instantly grimacing when its edges shatter, shards of tulle dust on the hardwood. Tsking, your fingers grow gentle as they skim over the dead fabric. A note, oval, and so old the parchment is no longer yellow, but instead gray, is fastened to the bodice. "Over the heart," you murmur, and read what is written in cursive:
Somewhere, my love
A mystery of tears prick your eyes and for reasons you are not yet conscious of - nor perhaps ever will be - you unlatch the pin in order to hold the note with both hands, examining it. The three words scripted there were by quill and ink; you can tell by the way a splotch, like a black teardrop, has punctuated the line, just out of plumb at the end. "Melancholy," you whisper, another impression occurring more by instinct than reason, and you flip the note over.
Your eyes widen.
It is a picture. A portrait. "No - a cameo," you correct yourself, a historic term you were scarce aware you knew, and cannot ponder why it occurred to you now. For the man, the handsome man, tacked so lovingly against your Great-Great Grandmother's heart, this portrait upon whose back she wrote, longingly, Somewhere, my love.....
He is not - not by any examination of any historical record, or picture, or description you have heard of or seen....he is not your Great-Great Grandfather.....
Secrets. Lies. Unrequited love. The other day I was reviewing a list of blog-post suggestions shared by another author, and one of the ideas was for writers to blog about their favorite themes or plot-lines.
Say no more! Long-buried secrets and unrequited love are two of my all-time favorite tropes to read about, and write about.
In fact, the novel I will be releasing this month, Within The Summit's Shadow, features a multitude of secrets, and absolutely features the heart-aching poignancy of a one-sided love; it is a romantic mystery I hope makes you cry a little, and fall in love with a lot.
Next week I'll receive two Advance Reader's Copies of Within The Summit's Shadow in the mail, and I would love to give them away in exchange for a review the reader can then post onto both Amazon and goodreads. Remember: reviews help authors like nothing else: they increase an author's visibility on the mega-bookselling giant Amazon, help link their title alongside other books that are similar, and alert other readers who might enjoy novels in its genre. Beyond that, when readers share authors' books on their personal social media, they introduce that novel to all their friends as well. A domino-effect that results in stories being more widely spread than any one author could ever do on their own!
So, in order to enter to win an Advanced Reader's Copy of Within The Summit's Shadow, please like this post where you found it on facebook, then leave a comment about what YOUR favorite theme is to read (or write!) about. Is it:
missing people? (that's another favorite of mine)
jewel thieves (I have tried, for YEARS, to think of a good plot about gems or jewels. So far...nada)
Or is it one I haven't listed?
names will be tossed into a hat and chosen at random!
thanks and HAPPY READING!