You probably think this is about you….

Naming characters, for some writers, is a complicated process. They want an original name for their original character. Perhaps they want something that describes strength and power, or maybe they want something that will tell a reader this person is a nerd. Maybe an old name, from their grandmother’s era, to say something about the character or their family.

For other writers, they log on to baby names and search through for the perfect one. The perfect one might be based on sound, consonants and vowels, rhyming, colors, meanings.

For me, sometimes, characters name themselves. The character develops and the name comes. For Our Gentle Sins, Jack’s name came to me like that. But some of the other characters were actually named for the students in the class that I mention in my acknowledgements. I was inspired by that class.

it was January 2017. The world was changing and people, some of my students, were afraid, others were angry. That semester, I was asked to teach the History of African American Literature. The students were expecting another teacher. When I walked in – they weren’t certain what to make of me or what this class might become.

I said – I love literature and we are here to learn together. If I say something or do something you don’t like – you tell me. Later, I was evaluated by our expert in African American Literature. He said, “never have I seen a class so open to talking about gender, race, culture – and being respectful about it!”

That was my rule – we don’t have to agree, but we should learn how to respectfully disagree.

It was a wonderful class.

Our Gentle Sins began just before the semester, I was so inspired that I would write before class as the students walked in and after class as they walked out. They asked me what I was working on – I told them. At one point, they asked me to read them a section. I agreed.

What I told them is that I’d been so inspired by the class that I’d named some of my characters after some of the names in class. Not after the students themselves because I didn’t match up characteristics between real person and student, just their names. They loved the idea.

Many, many times, I’ve had people think the story was about them or that the character was somehow inspired by them. I had, at least, one person (maybe more) stop talking to me because of a character name. I didn’t realize it right away. It was only when I looked back on our messages that I saw the dates and the topic – the story they were about to read. The name had NOTHING to do with them or the friend they believed the character to be named after. It was just a name and it felt right in that place.

The truth is – if I really disliked a person, I would never use their name, not for good guys or bad guys, not for the character who might die or a stray dog gracing the pages. Why would I want to be reminded of someone I disliked? The name might be similar – but it was never about them. It was a character.

Although my students appreciated I used some of their names, none of them felt I’d used them personally as the inspiration for the character.

Our Gentle Sins is about people finding their way in life – recovering from past mistakes. Aren’t we all?

Ready, Set, Release!

Hello, dear readers!

I’m so happy to announce that today – today – today is the day Our Gentle Sins is available at your local bookstore.

You can also order here –

Another wonderful review came in by my good friend, Jo Rousseau.

“Ms. Lace has written a novel that is both gritty and tender. Her ability to create very real characters with very real emotions makes this novel a satisfying read. What makes the short fiction of Noreen Lace stand out is, not only Lace’s facility with language, but her ability to connect with her reader. She lays the soul of her characters at the feet of her readers and it’s impossible not to respond. In her fiction, Ms Lace creates a world of darkness and warmth. Her characters, although flawed, find a way to triumph over the hand fate has dealt them, moving forward and rising up through enormous odds. The journey: there-in lies the tale.” 

Jo Rousseau can be brutally honest – she told me numerous times during my writing process when the story wasn’t adding up, needed changes, or didn’t follow to a natural end. So – when she gives me a compliment, I know it’s as authentic as she is.

Once you order you read – please, please write a review. Thank you!

Book Review for Our Gentle Sins

Thank you to my fellow author and friend, Ron Terranova, for his review of my upcoming release, Our Genlte Sins, June 21!

  “Lace has woven a wonderful tale with themes and characters that are universal and recognizable. Such issues as a woman’s personal sovereignty within a relationship, the oppressiveness, both subtle and overt, of patriarchy and the mixed blessings of liberation are explored. A wonderful, readable story, ideal for Summer reading. Kudos to Noreen Lace.”

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Review of Our Gentle Sins

When a Publisher’s Weekly reviewer writes “energetic prose” one gets excited!

Yes, that is what they said about Our Gentle Sins, “energetic prose” in a preliminary book review!

as well as –

“Lace takes a familiar story… and suffuses it with intriguing family drama.”

and finally –

“this is an appealing novel with relatable, flawed characters.”

More reviews to come.

Release date: JUNE 21!

Cover Reveal!

Finally – title and cover reveal! Our Gentle Sins – due out June 21, 2022.

Our Gentle Sins follows the journey of Valerie who must face and rectify her mistakes and Jack is working hard to recover from his past and stay clean for his future.

But making a a new life for yourself is never easy, especially when the secrets of others are working against you.

Postpartum Writers

Have you heard of Postpartum publication syndrome? It appears to be a real thing for many writers.

Many of us have heard of or referred to our “babies” when writing. The act of creation – creating – we are bringing something new into this world. A good book takes years of hard work, anxiety, and challenges.

Then it’s finished, it’s published, and we have to release it into the world. It is, in some ways, no longer ours. The precious little life we have brought into this world is out, and… well… I know we’re supposed to be excited, ecstatic, but somehow, for some reason, we’re feeling down.

It’s a gain, no doubt, but it’s also a loss. It’s a transition from one phase to another, and the hard work is not done yet. In some ways, it’s beginning again, in another way. We are no longer alone in the dark at a desk, but we got comfortable there. And this change from releasing our darling into the world is harder than we imaged.

Many writers go through a phase of mild depression once their work is published.

I’ve heard many “cures” for this postpartum publication syndrome, which include:

  1. Start writing something new. (Of course, I feel writing is the best way to cure my blues.)
  2. Talk to other writers. (It does seem to be a good idea to talk to those with similar experiences.)
  3. If it doesn’t pass quickly, talk to a professional. (Yes. Good idea. There are a number of types of professionals who deal with writers (there has to be, we are a questionable bunch)
  4. Absolutely know that you are not alone.

So – look at me – book’s not even released yet! haha. No worries! I’m okay. 🙂

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(this post, by no means, insinuates that the very serious topic of postpartum depression new mother’s face can be solved easily or taken lightly)

Gaslighting

The old movie, Gaslight, is about a guy who tries to make his wife think she’s crazy. Have you ever had someone do that to you?

It’s the most maddening thing. Someone tries to convince you that what you think is happening, what you hear, and/or what you believe is all wrong and that you must be imagining things.

In fact, they get upset with you when you start doubting them and try to seek information for yourself. Of course, they are tying to keep you ignorant and under control. That’s what it’s about.

In my new novel – cover reveal coming soon – Valerie is a sweet, kindergarten teacher who married the man she thought could give her the life she wanted and needed.

Sometimes, let’s be honest, we gaslight ourselves. We believe there’s a certain something (or someone) we need or want for us to be happy. If we’re lucky, we figure this out rather quickly. But, seriously, how many of us are that lucky on the first go ’round?

So – is Valerie being gaslighted? or is she gaslighting herself?

The Warp of Time

Did you ever notice how when you’re looking forward to something it seems to take forever to get here?

And when you’re nervous about something, it seems to come far too quickly?

I think these both describe the release of a new novel.

I thought I’d be finished with final edits. (Maybe I am and I’m freaking out about nothing.) I thought I’d have the cover in front of me – something visual for me to get me through those long nights of worry.

But, so I’m told, we have some time.

But will time go slowly? or will it speed up and suddenly be here and I won’t feel ready?

There’s so much more I want to do with this one – more book signings, more marketing. With the lift of restrictions, that is a possibility.

This story is a little different than my usual. But, then again, I have crossed genres before. I’ve done a little mystery, a little horror, some magic realism, but this is different. There’s actually a romance in this one. That’s not the only thing- you guys know me. The dark stuff is there. The mystical is there. So is some cold hard truths about love, drugs, marriage. And also – the beauty is in the details.

I hope to have a cover reveal for you in a few short weeks! The photo above – HINT. HINT. HINT.

Noreen Lace Reading from Eddy

Noreen Lace reading from her book Eddy. Eddy is a fictional account of an actually event in Edgar Allan Poe’s life.

Go easy on me. It’s my first try. I know I need to make some changes. I’ll happily consider suggestions.

Trigger warning: suicide, drugs, blood, death.