What happens when the breaking of the body is what heals the soul within?
The book is riddled with secrets and secret keepers. Some we find out about right away, some we find out only because Jude, the one person who never let anyone in on her own secrets before finally met her match, The Bluff… hears them from the trap of her own head. Some other’s know and others keep, it is a mess. At the center of this our author has put Jude into a vegetative state, basically a host for her unborn child. So broken, so messed up when alive, we have no clue how important she is and how fast things will unravel as well as heal in the end
Lost for so many years our protagonist, Jude finally wakes up, at least from her own walk-about through reality. Ready to deal with it all, the pregnancy the drugs, a plausible rape, an abusive childhood, bullying, her mothers suicide witnessed, her homosexuality and to all around everything a mystery. The problem? She wakes up in a vegetative state and cannot share all of her secrets she has kept from her best friend, her sister, the small town she lives in and finally to her own unborn child. Now what? She is awake enough to hear, and as her body dies, her child grows, others begin to die within, without and around…
Before Jude falls from the bluff where she lives through miraculously, alive with her unborn child still healthy while her body broken beyond help. She is stuck in a medical limbo and becomes a magnet to the lost souls in the vicinity. Skomal has created a world of symbolism and metaphor as well as a story to immerse yourself slowly in. Will she wake up to tell and help with everyone’s secrets? Will the birth of her child uncover another? What about those secrets which need revealing in order to save that of another innocent? Will she finally be able to help, even if it is just being there to “listen”?
Each of our characters seem to have a little tiny wisp of who she is and what she is about. She is like a center of a web, a web in a small town, a strand of which is the controversy of the Roman Catholic‘s take on pulling the plug, or the strand of the small town, a reflection on many throughout America, and homosexual women. How all and everything compounds these issues. Infidelity, drug abuse, suicide, shall I go on? Oh no, how about abortion… yep I said it, and one thing this book never brings up? Is abortion or adoption which for some reason bugs me the most.
There is a lot going on and I am glad I did not slam through it. It is not one to jaunt through over the weekend, as the author has stated, she wants us to “eat” her books, and I nibbled, ate, put it in Tupperware… zapped it a bit to heat it up and finally finished it with a dollop of whip cream on top.
This is a book about the struggle of one woman with a broken soul, a woman with more secrets than the church in question and the only people who learn the most about Jude are us, the reader! It makes you wonder “what…?” on so many levels. What would need to break in order for our own damage to be healed finally? I recommend this to anyone who is not afraid to face that question and to those who already have.
“To the medical world, I was a host body, surviving only to bring a new life into the world. And while I wanted to die more than anything in the world, I never wanted this. No, I never wanted to cease to exist. This was the worst death of all.”
Jude Black lives in that in-between, twilight place teetering on death but clinging to life in order to bring her baby into this world. Only she knows the circumstances surrounding her mysterious fall off the bluff that landed her in the hospital being kept alive by medical intervention. Only she knows who the father of her baby is. In this poignantly crafted literary novel, the mystery unfolds and the suspense builds as the consequences of Jude’s decisions threaten to reveal everyone’s deceptions, even her own.
BLUFF offers a sensitive look at essential questions such as the value of human life, the consciousness of those in a coma and the morality of terminating life support. At the core is the story of a tragically misunderstood woman who finds peace, acceptance, understanding and even love on her deathbed.
Genre – Psychological Thriller
Rating – PG13
PURCHASE on AMAZON
My Rating 4/5…….
Lenore Skomal wants you to eat her books, especially her new novel, BLUFF, which you can at Amazon. She wants you to chew them in your teeth, savor them on your tongue, breathe them in, and feel her words in your skin. Her passionate desire is to touch your heart, inspire you, and luxuriate in the world of the written word. She finds ecstasy in constructing a perfect sentence and responds willingly to the nagging ache in her heart to create an authentic experience for the reader. She is an award-winning author with the single goal of resonating with others.
Winner of multiple awards for blogging, literature, biography and humor, her catalogue spans many genres. With 30 years of writing experience, over 17 books published, a daily blog and weekly column, the consistent themes in her work are the big issues of the human experience and adding depth and voice to the intricacies involved in living a multi-dimensional existence. She has won many Society of Professional Journalist
awards, the Whidbey Island Writer’s Conference honorable mention for best fiction, Writer’s Digest 73rd Annual Fiction Contest, New York Public Library’s Best Books for Teens 2003, and most recently, the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Award for humor for “Burnt Toast.,” her first anthology of her award winning humor columns. From journalism, to literary fiction, to humor and biography, her writing is consistent, if not in genre, then in message.
As a member of the world community, she is excited by the opportunities presented in today’s publishing climate having started her own publishing imprint in 2011 in order to release her anthologies and her debut novel, “BLUFF.”
Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of Bluff?
- Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a
$50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official Bluff tour page.
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I’ve posted the contest form below, or you can enter
on the tour page linked above.
Ta-Da! Today being the last day of the Book Club Bash, and Fourth-Wall Friday I have a very special treat. Jane George, author of X-It is here today with an amazing lyrical piece one which I decided to dive right in and combine a few pieces from her world and mine. Photos of mine, some other stocks and a lot of hers… meandering around up up up with a crown and on top and ……. oh just read it is so wonderful! What a gift she gave me! So I had a bit to much fun with her theme. All images belong to either Jane George or Kriss Morton, what happened in between? We both ran into each other’s walls… Enjoy! Read More
An Interview with Brenda Gayle, author of The Hungry Heart a first in her new series.
Brenda Gayle! *waving you up on the porch* I made sure that the deck heater is running hot so we can enjoy a cup of my famous Aztec Chili Hot Cocoa and chat a bit while enjoying the beautiful snow in my woods. I am glad you had time and braved our early snow fall for the interview and hope you enjoy yourself!
Hi Cabin Goddess, I am so glad to be here today. My name is Brenda Gayle and I write romantic fiction.
My love of romantic fiction began when my parents foolishly purchased a cottage on a quiet lake just as I was entering my teen years—who wants to leave their friends and go up to a remote cottage just when life is getting interesting? A woman a couple of doors down lived there year-round and was a voracious reader of romance novels. Each summer when I arrived, she’d give me shopping bags full of them. I loved losing myself in the wildly romantic exploits of heroes and heroines as they fell in love. I was never without a book, and by the end of each summer I had pretty much read everything she’d given me.
Fast-forward many years (not saying how many) and I found myself as a writer, but of media releases, annual reports, and news articles. I began writing fiction as a way to arouse my creative muse, which was feeling unloved in the world of corporate communications—although some might argue there’s plenty of opportunity to write fiction there, too.
While I am a fan of many genres, I am drawn to contemporary romance and enjoy creating deeply emotional stories with elements of mystery and suspense. My first book, SOLDIER FOR LOVE, was published a few years ago by The Wild Rose Press. My current release, THE HUNGRY HEART, is the first book in my Heart’s Desire series. The second, THE DOUBTING HEART, will be released in January. (Shhh: If you have a Kindle you can get it now!)
I live in eastern Ontario with my wonderful husband, two fabulous children, a rescued cat, two Siberian Huskies, and assorted aquatic wildlife.
CG –Brenda, is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?
Women’s fiction. Mostly because it provides a broader canvas on which to work. Romances follow fairly strict conventions. There has to be a love story; there has to be obstacles thrown at the couple that threaten their relationship; they have to live happily-ever-after. The challenge in writing romance (and the reason readers love it) is creating a unique story around those elements. But the love story has to be the front and center. In women’s fiction, a writer can focus on other elements, and sometimes the girl doesn’t get the guy. I think it would be an interesting challenge to write a women’s fiction novel.
CG – What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?
That’s a tough one. There was a Facebook survey going around a while ago asking how many of the top 100 most influential books in the English language you had read. I think I had read about two-thirds of them, but I can’t necessarily tell you how any of them have influenced my writing.
In terms of actual influence, I’d have to give credit to the hundreds of Harlequin romances (compliments of my cottage neighbor) for introducing me to the genre. Before that, I was heavily addicted to Nancy Drew, the Bobbsey Twins , and the Hardy Boys. Maybe that’s why I feel the need to throw some mystery and suspense into my books. (For those who want your daughter to be able to fall in love with some of these classics, such as the Bobbsey Twins, Amazon has many of them converted in Kindle versions for free. The Bobbsey Twins link I shared is one of those books. I discovered this while linking this interview and I grabbed every single one onto someones new Paperwhite just in time for Christmas!)
Another influential book is The Lost Hours, by Karen White. This was given to me by my critique partner a few years ago and after reading it, I think I went out and bought just about every Karen White book I could find. The Lost Hours isn’t her best, but the feel of the book—it’s a women’s fiction—was similar to what I was aspiring to.
Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series has a prominent place on my “keeper” shelf. She is an amazing storyteller and I am in awe of how she is able to keep so many story threads woven together. I love the head-slapping revelation you have when some small thing that happened earlier in the book ends up having a major impact on the story’s resolution. She’s genius at planting small clues that have major effects, and leave the reader gobsmacked.
CG -I f you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your 2 main characters?
Darn, if I could figure out a way to cast Gerard Butler I would. Maybe I could just get him to audition.
For THE HUNGRY HEART, I think Chris Evans has the proper balance of irreverence and sweetness, as well as the physical attributes to play Hunter Graham, the playboy celebrity chef hero. The role of the uptight executive Nora Cross is harder to cast. Sandra Bullock is probably the actress I could see being closest to how I envision her. The character Bullock played in The Proposal is not too far removed from Nora.
CG - What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?
I’d call my parents. (I’m assuming my husband and kids could hear me screaming it throughout the house, so I wouldn’t have to tell them.) My mother and father are both avid readers and they instilled a love of books—all kinds of books—in my sister and me. If I ever make it to a bestsellers list, it will be in large part due to them.
CG – Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing (as in what candy / snack food / drink / 80’s hair band you break out in song too when you just cannot figure out the next line to write)?
I usually log onto E Street Radio and get my Bruce fix. I’d keep it on while I write, but I find it too distracting. The few times I’ve tried, I ended up singing along to the songs or thinking of a Springsteen concert memory, and my word count for the day was really low. Now I use this as my reward for finishing a scene and my “break” when nothing seems to be coming together and I need a little space from the manuscript.
CG - What do you do when you’re not writing? (what festive things do you do for fun? What things do you do when you make yourself have fun, and what is on the top of your list to do when you actually take two days for you (and family)
I have a fifteen year-old daughter who is very community involved, and a thirteen year-old son who plays competitive water polo. And we live outside the city so there is no public transportation. When I’m not writing, I’m usually chauffeuring them to their various activities. Our lives tend to be pretty busy, but when we can find some free time we like to go on road trips (strange given how much driving we do normally, right?). We’ll drive down for a week in Myrtle Beach or Vermont, or head to Toronto for a long weekend. We like to just hang out as a family.
CG - Since your book is about a chef please share your favorite dish (if you care to send the recipe awesome or write up why you would never share, or share it but let everyone know you omitted an ingredient because it is closely guarded)
I love to take advantage of seasonal ingredients when I cook. In honor of autumn, I’m going to share my favorite apple pie recipe. But just as THE HUNGRY HEART isn’t only about romance (it has some suspense and mystery thrown in), this pie isn’t only about apples. I love how the flavors of maple and cranberry mix to put a new twist on a traditional recipe.
Fall Fresh Apple Pie
- Pastry for two crusts
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1/3 c maple syrup
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 8 – 10 apples
- 1 c whole cranberries
- Refrigerate pastry while preparing filling.
- In a small bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon & salt. Set aside
- In a separate bowl, whisk maple syrup, egg & Vanilla. Set aside.
- Peel, core & slice apples into ½ inch wedges and place 7 cups in a large bowl.
- Slice or coarsely chop cranberries to measure a scant ½ cup. Add to apples.
- Sprinkle with flour mixture with flour until evenly coated. Stir.
- Sprinkle with maple mixture. Stir.
- Roll out ½ the pastry on floured surface. Line pie plate.
- Stir apple mixture & pour into pan.
- Place remaining pastry, rolled out, over apples. Seal & trim edges, and make several slits on top.
- Bake on bottom rack at 425oF for 10 – 12 minutes or until edges start to brown.
- Lower temperature to 350oF and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until apples are tender.
- 13. Cool on rack for at least 30 minutes before serving. (Go for a walk and enjoy the autumn leaves so you’re not tempted to cut it too soon.)
Thanks so much for hosting me today. I had a blast.
Thank you SO MUCH for doing this considering what happened (winking) This was a great interview and wow what an amazing recipe! I just squealed and told Geoff, my wonderful ManBeast, he is getting a special apple pie this weekend!
THE HUNGRY HEART
by Brenda Gayle
Child advocate Nora Cross doesn’t have time for the private cooking lesson her sister won at a charity auction. Hunter Graham, the young chef, is the last person she needs telling her she’s forgotten how to have fun. So why can’t she get the very hot, very eligible man off her mind?
After a stellar debut in New York City, Hunter’s back in Santa Fe to open a new restaurant. He lives a charmed life and he knows it. He isn’t interested in a workaholic who’s glued to her smart phone. So why is he trying to convince Nora to relax and enjoy life–with him?
When Nora’s apartment and office are ransacked, Hunter comes to her rescue, surprised to find himself playing knight-in-shining-armor to the uptight executive. But when it becomes clear Nora is no random target, Hunter realizes he’ll do anything to keep her safe.
Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of The Hungry Heart? Well, there are two ways to enter…
- Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official Hungry Heart tour page.
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I’ve posted the contest form below, or you can enter on the tour page linked above.
All about the Author
Brenda Gayle has been a writer all her life but returned to her love of writing fiction after more than 20 years in the world of corporate communication—although some might argue there was plenty of opportunity for fiction-writing there, too. A fan of many genres, she is drawn to contemporary romance and enjoys writing deeply emotional stories with elements of mystery and suspense. Her first book, Soldier for Love, was a recommended read by a number of reviewers. Her new book, The Hungry Heart, is the first in her Heart’s Desire series, which chronicles the difficult road to finding love and family acceptance for the three Graham cousins. Brenda lives in eastern Ontario with her wonderful husband, two fabulous children, two Siberian Huskies, a rescued cat, and assorted aquatic wildlife.
Find and follow Brenda Gayle around the web:
FACEBOOK WEBSITE TWITTER
Get The Hungry Heart on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Please enjoy this excerpt from Love Comes Later, a heart-breaking multicultural romance by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of Love Comes Later, and 5 copies of its companion, From Dunes to Dior. Read More
Please enjoy my review of The Book of Paul, a nail-biting literary supernatural thriller suspense horror book by one of the most awesome flesh-monkey author I have been
cursed blessed to read, Richard Long. Today is the final day of the tour and there is a huge chance to win some great things, including a tarot reading, oh and a BUNCH OF $$Gift Cards, oh and check out the photo contest that runs till Sunday. After you enjoy my review (*giving you my death mask*…you will buy the book and you WILL enjoy it…) read on to learn about the rest of the loot involved in this awesome sauce tour!