THE WRITER AND THE REVIEW

HAVING WRITER’S BLUES LATELY. THIS IS NOT A GOOD THING SINCE I WRITE HUMOROUS NOVELS. MY LATEST BOOK, THE SISTERS: TEN DAYS IN SICILY SEEMS TO BE WELL RECEIVED AND I AM HOPING FOR A FEW MORE REVIEWS FROM READERS WHO LIKE IT. TODAY, HOWEVER, I DISCOVERED A REALLY NEGATIVE REVIEW OF ONE OF MY EARLIEST AND FUNNIEST NOVELS. I WRITE TO MAKE PEOPLE LAUGH. I WRITE TO MAKE MYSELF FEEL AS IF I’M CONTRIBUTING SOMETHING TO TAKE THE READER AWAY FROM EVERYDAY PROBLEMS AND BAD WEATHER AND FULL MOONS AND HUMAN MISERY TO A LIGHTER BRIGHTER PLACE. THIS REVIEWER SAID MY BOOK WAS RIDICULOUSLY ——-. HAD SHE SAID IT WAS RIDICULOUS PERIOD, I WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH HAPPIER SINCE MOST OF MY BOOKS ARE INTENDED TO BE RIDICULOUS. THE LIFE OF A WRITER IS NOT AN EASY ONE. YOU WANT TO DELIVER THE PERFECT BABY. WHAT A REVIEWER NEEDS TO KNOW IS THAT ALL BABIES ARE PERFECT. ALL BOOKS HAVE MERIT. IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, SAY I DON’T LIKE IT BECAUSE. DON’T CALL THAT BABY NAMES. OKAY NOW THAT I’VE LET OFF A LITTLE STEAM, I AM MOTIVATED TO MOVE ON TO THE NEXT ONE. THE NEXT BABY. MAYBE NOT PERFECT BUT RIDICULOUSLY GOOD.

Quartet & Love in the 21st Century

Just saw the movie, Quartet, and fell in love with it. The movie takes a serious, but at the same time, lighthearted look at aging and in particular rekindled love. Senior romance, beautifully shown. Take a look. And go to Kindle to download one of my books in the Sisters Series. The books are all romance/mysteries/comedies.

amazon.com/author/lllee 

EXCERPT FROM BEST SELLER IN SISTER SERIES

FROM THE SISTERS: MURDER BY THE BAYOU AS THE YOUNGEST SISTER VIEWS THE VICTIM’S BODY:

“He looks good, don’t you think, Sister?” Annie asked, holding on to her new husband, the cop from New York, as she joined me standing in the back of the room.

I looked at my sister, thinking she’ll never change. Despite the August heat, she wore a long black dress that covered her ankles. A huge wooden crucifix hung from her neck almost to her waist. I knew she’d remarried recently and I guess I expected her to be different somehow. I glanced toward the coffin placed on a small bandstand in the reception hall next to St. Jude’s church where the wake was being held.

I couldn’t believe the hairless, heavy-joweled man laid out with his hands folded in prayer and clutching a black rosary was really my brother-in-law. The James I remembered was a tall, thin and I hate to admit it, very handsome man with dark eyes who flirted with every woman he came into contact with. I heard he pretended to be totally devoted to Lucie, always finishing her sentences for her and smiling as he looked adoringly into her eyes. And I imagine that beneath his smile lurked a smirk that couldn’t hide the contempt he felt for all women—and just about everyone who wasn’t a white, good ole boy from South Louisiana.

Someone had dressed James in a dark charcoal suit that blended with the gray satin lining of his silver coffin. Someone had also over-powdered his already ashen face. He looked like a bald Dracula.

“Yes, he looks wonderful,” I said to Annie. “Dead,” I added under my breath.

“They say he was, you know, murdered,” Annie whispered, lifting the heavy crucifix and making the sign of the cross with it.

“Do they know who did it?” I asked.

“Not yet. But just about everyone in town hated him, God bless his soul, so there’re lots of, what do you call them, you know, suspicious people.”

“You mean suspects, honey.” Annie’s husband said.

“Yes, that’s it. Oh, this is my husband, Frankie Carasco. He used to be a policeman. I’m sorry, Sister, I don’t know your name.”

“I’m Sister, uh, uh, Connie.”

“Sister Connie, I like your cross,” Annie said, pointing to the small silver crucifix that came with the outfit. I know you’re not from around here. How did you know poor demented James?”

“I like yours, too. Your crucifix,” I said.

“Thank you. Father Hebert brought this back from his trip to Jerusalem and I won it at the church raffle last year. So, are you, I mean, were you a friend of James?”

Look,” I said, “they’re getting ready to close the coffin. I’d better go say one last goodbye.”

I walked over to where a handful of people passed slowly in front of James’ coffin. Most looked briefly at the stiff body and pretended to mourn his untimely passing before making the sign of the cross and moving on.  I watched as Mama, using a walker, approached the coffin with two of my other sisters, Fran and Diana, flanking her in case she fell. Mama hadn’t changed very much over the years. She still dyed her hair blonde and was a little stooped now. Fran’s auburn hair was now bright red and with the help of her hairdresser Diana retained the dark brown tresses of her youth.

Mama and my two sisters had been sitting next to Lucie who had her head on our brother, Pete’s, shoulder. Lucie looked more stunned than sad about burying her husband. Could be she’s overdone the Klonopin, I thought. I knew about the tranquilizer. In fact, I knew practically everything that went on in the lives of my family. Although I had not seen any of them for nineteen years, that didn’t mean I didn’t pump Sister Madeline for every bit of information she had.

I wanted to hug Lucie. Pat her soft, silky curls and tell her how lucky she was that someone had been thoughtful enough to do away with James. I wanted to hug all of them; Mama, well into her eighties, and so fragile looking, Diana, the eldest sister, eighteen years older than me, and Fran, as wild looking as ever, decked out in her floral party dress, large gold hoops dangling from her ears.

Instead, I took a last look at the man who had ruined my youth and smiled. “God, forgive me,” I said to myself. “But now we can all live in peace.”

* * *

I stayed behind the crowd as we walked to the small oak-laden cemetery behind the church. I kept my eye on Sheriff Washington who seemed to be keeping his eyes on just about everyone. It seemed as if everyone in Tallula had turned out to make sure James was properly deposited in the open hole that had been dug the night before. I had never attended a funeral where not one person cried. The mood of the crowd remained festive and the only one who seemed in the least bit distraught was Father Hebert who probably was upset that it was taking so long for the townspeople to gather around the coffin. His yellow stained fingers told me his twenty minutes between cigarettes had long passed and he needed his nicotine fix.

I stood in the back of the crowd and missed most of the ceremony, but the people departed quickly after the ceremony and I made my way to the coffin that had been lowered but not covered. The tradition of mourners throwing a single rose on top of the coffin seems to have been ignored. But not that of tossing a handful of dirt. In fact, the graveyard worker had very little left to do because the coffin was almost covered.