Virtual Book Tour Dates: 1/21/14 - 2/18/14
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
“A novel in six parts, serialised as e-books and paperbacks, "A Life Singular" tells the story of a successful celebrity writing his autobiography, after the tragic loss of his wife.
In essence a love story, "A Life Singular" is about the triumph over with mental illness, the choices we make between right and wrong, and how the one affects the other. Some of life's lessons are harder to learn, and some amazing opportunities easier to take. The trick is always to understand the consequences of our choices, before it's too late...”
Sales proceeds go to two Australian not-for-profit organisations helping disadvantaged children: the School Volunteer Program (http://www.svp.org.au) and The Smith Family (http://www.thesmithfamily.com.au ).
Part One Blurb:
Jeff Diamond had built a life of influence, adulation and wealth by making the right choices for the right reasons. He lived by the law of reciprocity, a lesson learned on the streets as a teenager with nothing but an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Plagued by the scars of a violent childhood, he created his vision and fought for it. And once he no longer needed to fight for himself, he fought for others.
Yet when Jeff’s dream girl was taken from him and their children by the ignorant act of a jealous misfit from his own home town, the millionnaire realised just how far he had come. Why had he succeeded when so many like him fail? It wasn’t complicated. The secret lay in the endless pursuit of love and wisdom; life’s two magic ingredients. Now Lynn was gone, he resolved to use his remaining days to account for their life in a way that would inspire young people to make his type of choice rather than García’s.
Then after their story was written, he would be free to go after her, to begin the whole incredible journey over again. Everyone has a life singular. One. Unique. Extraordinary.”
“That night, safely back in their Melbourne apartment, the widower lay on his bed in the dark and resumed his own life sentence. Running through his mind were all those years during which Lynn had helped him break out of the obsessive “now or never” anxieties which had gripped him in his teens, as a result of the betrayal and abandonment he had suffered as a child. How long had it taken before he started to believe in the new mantra of “There’s always tomorrow” which had been bestowed upon him by his beautiful best friend?
Yet there wasn’t always tomorrow, was there? García had seen to that. Jeff had enjoyed a nice, comfortable twenty-year sabbatical from his old fears, but now the boy with the death-wish was back. For the sake of his children, he knew he must find a way to rise above the despair, or at least make a damned good show of doing so. Ryan and Kierney deserved to think positive thoughts about the future, even if he had no interest in it.
Unable to sleep, the loving father quietly walked into the office to switch on his computer and then into the kitchen to make some coffee. One of the e-mails Jeff had missed while away in Sydney was a summary of the various tribute records that were steadily being released by other prominent artists, all keen to acknowledge the influence Lynn had had on their careers. Like the memorial service, the list contained virtually every chart-topping musician, including some from Africa and even a couple from China. Once again, the grieving husband felt humbled by the love the world had for him and his dream girl.
In addition to these instant hits, the Melbourne Academy students had written to him to announce their intention to make a film tribute to their favourite School Governor, and Qantas had sought permission to use video footage of Lynn and the family, for a tribute to be shown for a month on all in-flight entertainment, just before each news bulletin. The widower scoffed bitterly at his assistant’s request for approval for these projects to go ahead, and he typed a suitably restrained response to indicate that he could hardly put a stop to people expressing their grief, even though it might be seen to prolong it for everyone else. Meaning him, he insinuated.
The list of senders’ names in his e-mail inbox also resembled a catalogue of contemporary public life, and the boy from Sydney’s western suburbs still found himself affected deeply when being counted in their number. All these Very Important Persons had taken the time to write to him about the death of his wife, to express support for the trial and to find out how he was faring. He couldn’t decide whether this was a good thing or a bad thing. He was grateful for their concern but mostly wished he could simply disappear for the next six months, until the plight of his family had been relegated to the inner pages of the world’s newspapers and magazines.
The forty-three-year-old leaned back in his black leather executive chair and stared at the ceiling. An eerie shadow of himself moving among the furniture, elongated by the angle of the illuminated desk lamp, conjured up memories of the nights he would sleep, as a boy, behind the piles of contraband stacked up in his family’s living room on the Stones Road, unable to face the short journey down the corridor and past his mother’s bedroom door.
OK. That was enough. What had happened to Juan Antonio García’s mother? Why hadn’t she arrived off the boat in Sydney with her husband and sons? Why did he even care? Jeff shook himself out of the obsessive train of thought. The man had killed his wife, and this evening he had received a life sentence to prove it. The widower knew he must learn to accept the guilty verdict as justice. Somehow.
So with what did society expect justice to furnish the partner of a murder victim? The Queen had succeeded in removing one more killer from the streets. Big deal! There were plenty of far more dangerous criminals still roaming free, and with a much greater likelihood of striking again. The Sydney Mafia remained alive and well, for example, Jeff had no doubt.
What would justice have meant to him, if he had been able to choose its form? This was a tough one. Definitely not financial compensation; a concept that never ceased to intrigue the intellectual when reading about other cases. Was a couple of million dollars really going to ease the suffering after losing a loved one? No amount of money could bring his children’s mother back, and the Diamonds had more than enough money as it was. Their financial whizz-kid, Gerry Blake, had seen to that.
‘What do I want, angel?’ the widower posed to Lynn’s spirit. ‘Are you there?’
He inhaled sharply. Before he had even finished his second question, the tingling sensation in his chest made him jump.
‘Hey,’ he said. ‘So you are there. Christ, it’s good to feel you. I’ve missed you. He’s going down. Did you see? I guess you know that already.’
Again Jeff’s left pectoral muscle twitched, making him cry. It was the end of one of the longest weeks of his life, and certainly one of the most difficult. Kierney mustn’t hear him crying, he thought. Not again. She needed her sleep.
‘Come with me onto the balcony, Lynn, please,’ the bereft husband asked. ‘I want to talk to you. Our little girl’s sleeping. She’s so beautiful, angel. So, so beautiful. Just like you.’
Grabbing his cigarettes and lighter off the coffee table, where he had left them with his keys, Jeff slid the glass door open and took a seat at the table overlooking the lights of the northern suburbs. The traffic was still noisy, sixteen floors below, and there was virtually no breeze. Smoking his first cigarette for a few hours, he concentrated back on the subject of justice.
However, within a second or two, inspiration was upon him. Jeff was on his feet again, running through the apartment and back into the office. He rummaged around in a few desk drawers until he found a small voice recorder, checking its batteries and testing it with a few choice swearwords to relieve some tension. There were memoires to be captured for posterity. How had Rose Milne described him and his beautiful best friend in her sentencing statement? National treasures?
‘National treasures, my arse,’ he mocked the judge’s words as he reinstalled himself on the balcony. ‘Did you hear that too, baby?’
Jeff picked up what remained of his cigarette and rubbed his tattoo through his shirt. How did one document a national treasure? How would he do justice to Lynn’s story? To their story?
‘D’you know what I want, angel?’ he asked into the chilly air. ‘I want a long, lingering kiss that makes my insides burst into flames. I want the soft skin of your naked body wrapped around me, intent on speeding things up while you’re urging me to slow down.’
The stinging was gone from his chest now, but it had been replaced by a dull but pleasant ache. This peculiar physical reaction was most likely only generated by his own mind, the lonely soul recognised, but it was helping nonetheless. The little red light on the Dictaphone flashed regularly to remind him it was waiting for more.
‘I want our kids to have a mother and I want a friend to share my crazy ideas with,’ he continued, in tears once more. ‘Is that too much to ask? I don’t want a man to go to prison for the rest of his life. How does that help the kids? What sort of justice is that? I want our daughter to continue on the journey you were taking her on, towards the lady she oh-so-nearly is, and I want our son to be able to swap tales of Olympic glory with someone who really cares.’
‘I want this endless torrent of words to pour into your detoxicating smile. I want a reason to look at my watch ten times every hour when I’m away from home, to see how soon I can get away. Jesus Christ! I want to stop describing my self-pity and get on with doing all those constructive things we were right in the middle of, angel. I want my level-headed wife to help me resist the temptation to ring our dark-haired gipsy girl every night, when she starts her law degree at Sydney Uni, to make sure she’s safe and happy, and that she still misses her papá.’
With his head in his hands, Jeff wept away the stresses of the last few days. He was convinced he was being heard on some level, although the beating of his heart was overpowering any other sensation just at this moment. He carried on, sniffing back the tears and lighting another cigarette.
‘I want my patient and compassionate wife to remind me I’m being unreasonable and hypocritical when I criticise our son for not coming home for Christmas, just because he wants to chase girls. I long to perform again on stage with our family, and see you smiling with the joy I know it gave you. The same joy it gave me. And Jesus, Lynn... I long to have more of those long discussions over dinner with Jet and Kierney about life lessons in humility. That’s fucking justice, don’t you think? We had those things, angel. That’s what he took from us. That’s what a guilty verdict should buy us.’
And those were the things the Diamonds would never receive from the Australian justice system. This type of compensation wasn’t listed in the bound volumes of laws and legal practices he had seen in Judge Milne’s chambers. Angrily, he switched off the voice recorder and let it drop roughly onto the glass table top.
‘Mañana, angel,’ he cast into the night air. ‘Tomorrow I’ll start afresh. I’ll write our life story, baby, and therein you’ll find justice. En nuestra vida singular.’”
Jeff Diamond is a celebrity billionaire. He and his wife are preparing to celebrate their anniversary when fate deals them a cruel hand. His wife is shot and killed just minutes before Jeff arrives at their hotel.
Don't pick this up if you're looking for a short read, this is a long book, some 700 pages. It's written in thrid person omnipresent. As someone who is used to reading first or third person present, it took me a while to get used to the omnipresent style, but that's a purely personal thing.
This is a tale of true love and the pain of dealing with loss while in the public eye. It explores the notion of how an individual can let adversity consume them or make a choice for a better life. It's raw and you feel the emotions of the characters. Overall, a well written book.
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon (Kindle version)
Amazon (softcover version)
Part Two Blurb
Writing an autobiography on behalf of someone else presented Jeff with an interesting dilemma. Did he make assumptions about what Lynn would have included, or should he restrict her contribution to direct quotes from her letters and diaries? He had their kids to protect, and her parents…
As he worked through the huge amount of material available in the press about their life as it had taken shape, interlacing it with highly personal stories, the widower crafted chapter after chapter of memories, both happy and heart-breaking. If this was to be a true account of their partnership, he owed it to the memory of his beautiful best friend to cover so much more than what was already on public record.
When it came to adding his own reminiscences of those early months, about meeting someone he already knew intimately, Jeff had no difficulty in recalling every single, vivid moment. Entire conversations came back to him, sometimes word for word, rushing through his fingers and into the computer.
Photographs prompted him too, as did the treasured possessions that surrounded him, like the old leather jacket he had received on his twentieth birthday. Lynn had left him shortly after that, just like she had left him now. The pull of being together again was unrelenting, but Jeff hung on to the dream that their life singular would one day resume. Once their story had been told.
About the Author
Although working full-time, Lorraine is a passionate volunteer for several organisations, including serving on the Boards of non-profit organisations, being a mentor for The Smith Family's iTrack program and providing project management assistance to The School Volunteer Program. She finds that volunteering time and energy to those less fortunate is an effective antidote to persistent depression and the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The idea for "A Life Singular" originated when Lorraine was 14 years old, born out of a fascination for celebrity and the popular music scene. As life continued, bringing with it significant mental health challenges, Lorraine decided to incorporate these experiences into the story. It has been almost four decades in the making, and she spends as much time as possible writing it, whenever time and life events permitted. Her ambition is to publish a Part of the serial every six months; two down, four to go!