Bluff by Lenore Skomal

Lenore Skomal wants you to eat her books. 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. Lenore is an award-winning author with the single goal of being heard.

Winner of multiple awards for blogging, literature, biography and humor, Lenore Skomal’s catalogue spans many genres. With 30 years of writing experience, over 17 books published and a daily blog, the consistent themes in her work are the big issues the human experience and adding depth and voice to the intricacies involved in living a multi-dimensional existence. Skomal has won several Society of Professional Journalist Awards, 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 the Next Generation Indie Book Award for humor. From journalism, to literary fiction, to humor and biography, Skomal’s writing is consistent, if not in genre, then in message.

As a member of the world community, Skomal is excited by the opportunities presented in today’s publishing climate. Now, not only can she spend her time traveling internationally and experiencing cultural events like a Lakota Sweat Lodge, she shares these experiences directly with her readers in hopes of resonating with them and underscoring that no one is alone. In addition to writing, Lenore is an engaging public speaker with over 1000 public engagements, book tours and writing seminars. She has taught college journalism, has one son, and when not off gallivanting from Egypt to Mongolia she resides with her husband in Erie, Pa.

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The music behind the written word

By Lenore Skomal

It’s no secret that many writers use music to inspire them. As writers, we understand that words can do exactly what music can: inspire, torture, and bend the human soul. But for me, the written word is often a product of the musical stimulation. And for all of the books I’ve written, and that’s 17 to date, I have listened to music while writing them. It’s no different with BLUFF.

  BLUFF is my first novel and is now available for purchase. The synopsis below gives you a feel of the book and the music I chose was inspired by two unrelated pieces by two separate composers.

“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.

As you can tell by this short synopsis, the mood of the novel is intense. Our protagonist is a haunted woman who has many regrets, and as such, she spends much of her time dealing with some of the tortured and complicated aspects of her life. I wanted to choose music that would reflect that, yet not force us to dwell there with unrelenting dread and darkness—because there is much more to this novel than that.

To offset the dark, there has to be light. It’s the yin to the yang and counterbalances the weightier themes of this book. I was looking for two similar pieces of music that would reflect this. I found them in Adagio for Strings and Rhythmic Variations on Two Ancient Hymns.

Samuel Barber wrote the former. You might recall Adagio for Strings from the soundtrack for the movie, “Platoon.” This powerfully moving score really helped me plumb the depths of the protagonist: Jude, the complicated. Please listen to it and feel the sorrow and implicit darkness that surrounded her.  Every time I hear it, my heart is rendered helpless, which is how I want you to feel when you read about her story.

To counter that, Rhythmic Variations on Two Ancient Hymns by Howard Hanson is simply delightful to listen to. It nicely offsets the heaviness of the overlying themes in my book. It motivates the celestial feel I wanted to achieve in snippets throughout the book and essentially at the end. In it I hear the voice of baby Aidan and Jude’s young baby. I feel spring and the essential cycle of life, death and rebirth when I hear this piece.

The lightness of Hanson and the weight of Barber encapsulate the light and dark qualities of not just the characters but the subplots of BLUFF. And that is essentially the driving theme of the novel.

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