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!

Just one more day! Pre-order Now.

You can order the digital copy of Our Gentle Sins now!

Print and digital copies will be available Tuesday, June 21st!

Thank you for your support!

Valerie Graham struggles to solve the growing problems of her new marriage when the full of life, artist and street racer, Jack, comes on the scene. Both her husband and Jack have secrets to protect. But for Valerie, it isn’t just choosing a man; it’s choosing the way she wants to live, who she wants to be. Will Valerie figure out that her life doesn’t have to be determined by a choice between Jack and Alexander before their secrets threaten her?

Our Gentle Sins is a story about recovering from past mistakes. Understanding who to have in your life, when to let go, and how to move forward.

REVIEWS:

“Lace takes a familiar story… and suffuses it with intriguing family drama.”
“…energetic prose…” “this is an appealing novel with relatable, flawed characters.” PW

“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.” Ron Terranova

“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

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.”

.

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!

A Journey of Souls

Sometimes it’s challenging to tell your story in just a few short words – but Our Gentle Sins is the journey of two souls who are recovering from past mistakes. Aren’t we all?

Secrets can be Deadly

Secrets, at first, seem so harmless. Yet, when you find the person you love is keeping something from you – something that could damage your relationship – secrets can be deadly.

Secrets can be the lies of omission. When someone doesn’t tell another something or includes it after it’s been found out or questioned. Lies of omission are the gaslighter’s favorite game. This way they allow their victim to fall into a trap – the gaslighter will question their trust. “I was going to tell you. I thought you trusted me.” There’s no easy way to get out of the advanced manipulation tactics.

“I do trust you.”

“Then why are you questioning me?” or “Then you should know I intended to tell you” insert “at the right time” or other. The manipulator will then pout or become angry – or start with one and end in the other. Whatever it takes to throw their partner/victim off balance, leaving them uncertain of how to respond or rushing to correct the situation, which is what they want. Power. Control. Over the other person’s emotions, ideas, opinions.

Another hint for my upcoming release:

BUT THERE’S MORE –

More secrets….

and more to come.

Cover reveal – coming soon!

Recovery Road

The neighborhood I grew up in claimed a lot of victims in all kinds of ways. I carry an image of the big kids – 17, 18, 19 year olds – hanging out on the church steps partying on Saturday nights. Their voices so loud, we could hear them at the other end of the block.

Some became alcoholics, some drug addicts, some ended up in prison for related issues. Maybe some broke free and got out.

They were just trying new things, trying to have fun, rebelling maybe. No one intends to become an addict.

I was fortunate; when I got older my friends and I sneaked drinks, but I never liked the taste and didn’t try it again until I was much older. Some of my friends continued to drink, try other things. Some didn’t make it into adulthood. Others still fight the battle.

I had no idea what “recovery” was until much later in life when I met people who were struggling. I read Needle by Craig Goodman to gain an understanding of the struggle of addiction. But I’ve come to learn, for many, recovery is a struggle too.

Many people have no understanding of addiction and recovery. I spent a number of years investing myself in the topic to gain that understanding. Addicts lose family, friends and, after awhile, most familiar contacts. Our system is not set up to help people who are in serious trouble. In fact, Dopesick on Hulu shares how part of the problem was created.

My next book – title to be revealed – features a lead character who is finding his way out. Even when an addict feels they are on the other side of the battle, triggers can surprise them.

More to come…..

What Did You Do?

writing5

I read an article which stated, there’s no need to feel you have to be productive at this time.

WHAT? Then wtf are we going to do?

I heartily disagree. I think during this time we need to set goals. We need to focus on something to keep us sane!

When this is over, I want to have something to show for it.

When this is over, in another month? another two months? giving us a total of 3 months or more alone in our homes, do we walk out with nothing to show but our muffin tops the size of three tiered wedding cakes?

I’m not telling you not to feel stress. I’m not telling you not to stress eat. I am saying – set a goal and focus on something positive while we’re doing the best we can to survive the pandemic.

This is hard. I get it. We’re scared. If you want to stuff your face full of maple bacon donuts, I’m totally with you. If you have a bad day and want to curl yourself into a ball under your flannel sheets and cuddle your cat – that was my Saturday. I’m not superwoman. I’m not asking you to do anything I’m not doing myself.

When someone asks me, what did you do during the pandemic? I want to say I accomplished something.

I’m setting goals.insi

I’m in the process of another draft – hopefully the final – of my novel. I want to finish that.

I have two fully drafted novellas that need work – those are next.

I signed up to take two classes. I may take more.

I painted my patio. No shit. It’s nearly finished.

I’m going to have a hell of a lot of rooted clippings – plant speak.

My yard will look amazing – well, for a week or so after the pandemic ends, then the weeds will be back.

I’ve written two new poems. I think I’ll start reading poetry live.

I have a live online reading scheduled for April 24th, if you’re interested.

If you’ve gotten this far, I’m planning on offering a free writing class to whoever wants to share some writing. I may recruit other writers to offer their opinions. I think we should workshop too.

So – speaking from the future – what did you do during the pandemic?

 

 

KUDOS and LOVE

to those who are serving,

police, fire, grocery clerks, doctors, nurses, volunteers.

You are my HEROES!

 

Writing in the Time of Cholera

journalA number of people have mentioned the book Love in the time of Cholera to me lately. Ron Terranova, fellow writer and Poe lover, reminded me Shakespeare had a very fertile writing period during The Black Plague.

My writer and critique friend, Jo Rousseau, said she’s keeping a journal and thought many people should. It would be interesting, she said, to see the pandemic from different points of view.

There are people who are having trouble focusing on writing. I have to admit, I was one of them.

While others are saying they’ve never gotten more done. Perhaps they are in the minority? Or maybe they write well under pressure?

Just the day before Jo mentioned the journal, I started keeping my own. I’ve been plagued by disturbing dreams.

Our lives are changing, but not forever. We will come out of this, we will get through this, and I, personally, want to have something to show for it.

I started listing the things I’m accomplishing every day. I’ve added some other things, pandemic jokes and memes. Someone else is writing down the use of language, such as “social distancing”, and how those words are changing and shaping our understanding of society. It’ll be interesting how this comes to use after the pandemic.

Beyond all the free things being offered to keep us safe and sane, free yoga classes, free workouts, free virtual tours of national parks and art museums, there are a number of other things to keep us busy.

It’ll help us all to accept that, for a little while, we need to stay home and find alternative ways to sail through our days. 90186249_1912526478878981_330678285262389248_o

I urge all writers to keep a journal. Not to focus on writing to publish, but a personal historical account for your children, your grandchildren, or for the future. How will this time be remembered? Consider how we think of the Plague and The Flu Epidemic of 1918. What do you know about it? Do you know any people, any stories, any personal or family accounts of the day to day life? Encourage your children to keep journals too – in the future, compare them.

Journaling has helped me get back to writing.

Stay well. Stay healthy. Be safe.

Much love and appreciation.