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IT’S THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2017, AND IN CASE YOU’RE WONDERING WHAT THE CHEERING CROWDS IN THE STREET ARE ALL ABOUT, THEY’RE CELEBRATING BECAUSE SOLSTICE PUBLISHING JUST ACCEPTED MY SEQUEL TO BONITAYOU CAN’T KEEP HER. MY PERSONAL ESTIMATE IS THAT IT MIGHT BE OUT AROUND THE HOLIDAYS SOMETIME. THE PERFECT GIFT, YES? HERE ARE THE OPENING LINES. TUNE IN NEXT WEEK FOR ANOTHER EXCERPT:

 

I
BLOCKADE
 
We were in the library, which smelled of the same leather and stale cigar smoke left behind by its late owner, Benito Alvarez. It was quite a mansion Alvarez had built high on this San Francisco hill where I now stood opposite his daughter, Flora Torres. She faced me with her arms folded across her chest, so straight and stiff I wanted to cut her corset strings, fancying she’d go all wobbly like a marionette. The image amused me, but I couldn’t indulge in humor now, with her stern dark eyes locked so intently on mine.
“You live an unsavory life, Bonita Kelly. Your parents were horse thieves. Your business partner, that disgusting Sylvia Gonsalves, is a prostitute. You live in a hotel instead of a proper house. You are unfit to enter my home, let alone associate with my daughter. We won’t allow it any longer.” She gestured to the maid who had escorted me in. “Laura will show you out.” Her lips squeezed together like pincers. By “we” she meant her husband, Miguel, who was away on business as he so often was, leaving her to manage, and she was managing with even more than her usual ferocity.
“Two years I’ve been calling on ‘Margarita,’” I said, using the name Flora had given my daughter instead of ‘Bonita,’ the name I’d given her at birth but had yet to broach with her. “Piano lessons, games, stories. We have delightful visits. You know she calls me Tía, her make-believe aunt, and she relishes our relationship. Why issue this decree now?”
“I should never have let things go this far, but now it’s over. From this day forward, you will not cross our doorstep. Now, if you please. . . ” She pointed toward the door, but I stepped toward her instead of away.
A gray cat suddenly scampered across the room toward me. I knelt and invited Chuckles into my arms. She cuddled there, meowed, then purred. I looked up at Flora, whose fists were tight with irritation. I smiled and got to my feet. Knowing me and my determined personality, it was astounding that she thought she could get away with this.
Flora’s father had stolen my Bonita from me at birth in 1847. Benito Alvarez probably considered his action as merciful, or at least presented it that way to his childless daughter. The infant was a child of rape, after all, the progeny of an attack on me by several members of a gang calling themselves the Bear Republic who had occupied Maríana Vallejo’s rancho during the swarm of conflicts that led to the Mexican-American war. I was not only a young woman with no husband. My Bonita’s father was unknown. Unknowable.
Six years I had searched for her. Then the miracle. She returned to San Francisco as a six-year-old, the adopted daughter of the Torres family who assumed control of Alvarez’s affairs after his death. I knew her on sight because looking at her was like looking in a mirror. The Torres family, though, knew nothing of me. Not then. But they certainly did now.
Rather than declare the truth to her and attempt to tear her away from the woman she had always called Mother, I had befriended her and the family, assumed the role of an imaginary aunt in order to have at least some contact with her. I hoped for an opportunity to take things further, but nothing had yet presented itself. Now, eight years after the original kidnapping, Flora was attempting to repeat her father’s crime. This time, I wouldn’t allow it.
“Since you choose to avoid my question,” I said, “I’ll answer it myself. With Chuckles’ help, of course.” I held the animal up and rubbed noses with her. “You are issuing your decree now because Margarita is beginning to suspect the truth, to wonder if I am not her pretend aunt, but her mother. You’ve been doing a pretty comical Mexican Hat Dance trying to avoid some of her questions.
“And I admit I have, too. Logical questions about the similarity in our looks and the dissimilarity between hers and the rest of the Torres family. It’s obvious how comparatively pale and blond we are, for example. The more questions she asks, the harder it is to come up with answers, and the longer it goes on the more likely you are to trip over your own fancy stepping and land flat on your duplicitous nose.”
She drew herself to an even sterner height. “Inventing answers to Margarita’s queries is a burden you’ll no longer have to bear, since you will have no more conversations with her.”
I stepped closer. We were inches apart now. I smiled.
“You know, Flora. I thank you.”
She started back, a question in her eyes.
“I’ve avoided revealing all this to Bonita because I thought it would pain her too much to find out you were her pretend mother instead of her real one. But now, I will hold nothing back.
“Let’s start with these accusations against me. You brought up Sylvia Gonsalves.” I started circling her. It felt good to be on the offense. I felt like dancing my way around her, but I only sidled around her as I spoke. Still, I made her nervous trying to keep track of me. Her head wagged back and forth in confusion.
“Yes, Sylvia owned a brothel. But now she and I own and run successful businesses—real estate, a drayage company, and more. And well you know it. Many of them are managed by the very women Sylvia once employed in the brothel. She rescued them from perdition, Flora, and her spirit is as pure as any nun’s. So Bonita can be proud of who I have become, not ashamed.”
“Once a whore, forever stained,” Flora said.
“Oh, there’s one for the ages,” I said. “Very Christian.”
I reversed direction, but continued winding my way around her. She had quit trying to follow my movements and now stood solid as a maypole in the center of my circle.
“As for my parents, I wish I’d begun earlier to clear their names. I delayed because I must leave this city to do it, and I didn’t want to give up time with my daughter. But I will go after that proof now, proof to erase the so-called stains on my character and establish legal verification of my motherhood. On that day, my Bonita and I, as daughter and mother, will together dance an Irish jig out your front door, and neither you nor any judge will deny us. Look forward to that day, Flora. It is sure to come. And soon.”
Chuckles squirmed her way out of my arms and bounded from the room, doubtless to join the girls in their play. The proof of motherhood I’d mentioned to Flora was the testimony of the midwife attending Bonita’s birth. She’d agreed to take the stand if necessary, but I hoped never to bring the matter to court because she was a member of a prominent family and would undergo considerable embarrassment should she have to appear. Not to mention the hurt it would inflict on Bonita herself.
I left Flora, my heart pained at parting from my daughter, but my feet as light as if I floated down a path toward redemption.

 

 

TODAY’S GUEST IS THE PROLIFIC MARIE LAVENDER, AUTHOR OF A VIRTUAL LIBRARY FULL OF POEMS, STORIES, AND NOVELS IN A HOST OF GENRES.

Marie Lavender

MARIE’S LATEST NOVEL

UPON YOUR LOVE

WILL BE RELEASED ANY MOMENT. HERE’S A PEEK.

Upon your love-final cover

 

 FOR MY INTERVIEW WITH MARIE AS WELL AS MORE INFORMATION ABOUT UPON YOUR LOVE AND A LOOK AT HER FASCINATING BIO, CLICK RIGHT HERE. 

http://bit.ly/2lZ1pKj

 

 

 NOW BACK TO MY OWN STUFF.

MY LATEST:

BONITA–

The third volume of the Vendetta Trilogy opens with 12-year-old BONITA in  pre-gold rush San Francisco. Follow our heroine through peril and romance as she navigates the Mexican-American War, the gold rush, California Statehood, and transforms herself into a prominent entrepreneur.

“A compelling story of self-discovery and courage”–Author Silvia Villalobos

CLICK ON LEFT IMAGE TO SEE A TRAILER, CLICK ON RIGHT IMAGE TO BUY

Bonital

Bonita Banner Website

AND THERE’S MORE:

ROMANCE AMID THE CANNONS OF THE TEXAS REVOLUTION. EMILY WEST, THE ORIGINAL YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS, AND SAM HOUSTON FALL IN LOVE AND ESTABLISH A NEW NATION. JUST CLICK ON THE LEFT IMAGE FOR A TRAILER, CLICK ON THE RIGHT TO MAKE THE ADVENTURE ALL YOURS.

Yellow RoseYellow Rose FB Banner

AND STILL AVAILABLE:

The Second Vendetta Remake copyThe Maxwell Vendetta copy

THE MAXWELL VENDETTA

AND

THE SECOND VENDETTA

 

EXPERIENCE A FAMILY’S STRUGGLE AGAINST A MARAUDER INTENT ON DESTROYING EVERY TRACE OF THEM AND THEIR LEGACY. SET IN 1908-1910 SAN FRANCISCO, THESE HISTORICAL THRILLERS COMPRISE TWO VOLUMES OF A CALIFORNIA FRONTIER TRILOGY. BONITA BEING THE THIRD.

WITH THE E-BOOK AT JUST $2.99, AND  THE PAPERBACK AT $14.99 THIS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST BARGAINS IN LITERARY HISTORY. JUST CLICK ON A COVER IMAGE TO BUY IMMEDIATELY.

NOW LET’S MOVE ON TO PAST AND CURRENT BLOGS:

 

MARIE LAVENDER LAUNCHES UPON YOUR LOVE - Click on carlrbrush.com for a look-see inside Marie Lavender’s latest novel, UPON YOUR LOVE. I now turn the carlrbrush.com mic over to Marie for some  some insights into the mind and heart of this extraordinary author.  A frequent question writers hear is, “Where do you get your ideas?” What’s your answer to that one?  Well, I get ideas from new … Continue reading MARIE LAVENDER LAUNCHES UPON YOUR LOVE
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IMG_2305 INDONESIA WELCOME #6 - MAGIC BALI Antonin Artaud led a theater movement in the 30’s and 40’s that argued for a drama that depended less on text and more on mysterious primal expressions of sound, movement, and light. He pointed toward Balinese dancers as the idea. When I was first introduced to his ideas in the 60’s I had … Continue reading INDONESIA WELCOME #6
INDONESIA WELCOME #5 - ON THE ROAD TO BALI All of you who have been wondering (everyone, I’m sure.) how a Hindu bastion such as Bali remains in the midst of the overwhelmingly Muslim and (somewhat) Christian populace as Indonesia, here’s the historical explanation. All true Bali was a good king with a peaceful kingdom full of happy people. … Continue reading INDONESIA WELCOME #5
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INDONESIA WELCOME #3 - THE SHADOW OF YOUR . . . EVERYTHING For a theater guy, the other day had it all. We headed for Batavia, what the Dutch East Indies Corporation called this (now Jakarta) Javanese port in honor of an ancient name for Holland. There’s a big plaza, 18th-19th century European buildings (very white) under restoration. By … Continue reading INDONESIA WELCOME #3
INDONESIA WELCOME #2 - INDONESIA–TIME TO PAY ATTENTION   This is, we think, the fifth state department posting to which we’ve followed my USAID-employed niece Erin, her husband Sean and daughter Caitlin. Bolivia, Peru, Kazakhstan and  (yes, we’re counting the in-country  posting as well.) Washington D.C. came before. Though we were pretty much ignorant about the whole area before … Continue reading INDONESIA WELCOME #2
img_3326-2 INDONESIA WELCOME #I - THE GREAT FLOOD It was the middle of the night. The festivities began with thunder and lightning, as all good tropical storms do down here on the equator. The world shook and reeled, earth and buildings reeling under fists of pounding roars. The ghost of our lost dog, Blue, galloped through my dreams, headed for … Continue reading INDONESIA WELCOME #I
51q8rf09vul-_sx331_bo1204203200_ WHEN CHARON IS YOUR FRIEND - In the opening pages of Guarding Charon  we meet Grace Adams, who is one miserable girl. She’s trapped in a town and a family that have her future mapped out for her. A future she can’t bear to imagine.  She’s meant to marry the rich, brutal, and controlling Bruce Davis, whose family makes the rules for … Continue reading WHEN CHARON IS YOUR FRIEND
SANDRASOLVANG FRANZESCA’S AUTHOR FETED AT HOME - [FROM THE LIFESTYLE SECTION OF THE SANTA YNEZ VALLEY NEWS] For 22 years before she moved to Solvang in June, Sandra Perez Gluschankoff had been visiting America’s Danish capital, and falling in love with everything from its vistas to its windmills. The imprint was such that when she wrote her second novel, “Franzisca’s Box,” she … Continue reading FRANZESCA’S AUTHOR FETED AT HOME