Jodi Picoult quote for The Lemon Orchard

photo-2012-asideI feel incredibly honored to share this quote from Jodi Picoult: "THE LEMON ORCHARD is a small, lovely miracle:  a story that humanizes the plight of undocumented immigrants; that takes the political and makes it deeply and painfully personal. This is a love story - not just between two characters from different worlds, but about what we humans owe each other in debts of kindness and respect."  - Jodi Picoult, NYT bestselling author of THE STORYTELLER

Jodi writes brilliant novels.  She has such compassion and is always seeking deeper understanding of the world and everyone who lives here.  She's a humanitarian who never shies away from the questions that scare many of us, and she writes about issues that need closer examination, justice, and human kindness.  I can't wait to read her new novel, Leaving Time.  Her praise for The Lemon Orchard means so much to me.

facebook giveaway

sometimes we have giveaways on facebook.  here's an example...in fact, it's running now.  you might win a tote bag and lemons from my lemon tree!  meanwhile, please do pre-order THE LEMON ORCHARD.  

 

Luanne Rice shared a link.
Posted by Luanne Rice · April 1
GIVEAWAY!! To celebrate THE LEMON ORCHARD being available for pre-order, 5 people will win tote bags and lemons from Luanne's own personal lemon tree. Share this post and comment that you have pre-ordered to be entered to win. Good luck! http://amzn.to/QCXKyG

The Lemon Orchard: A Novel
www.amazon.com
A heartrending, timely love story of two people from seemingly different worlds?at once dramatic and romantic Luanne Rice is the beloved author of twenty-two New York Times bestsellers. In The Lemon Orchard, one of her most moving and accomplished...

EVERY MOTHER COUNTS Book Club Pick

Here is a note from Elizabeth Benedict: PageLines- what-my-mother-gave-me.jpg"I'm thrilled that Christy Turlington's fabulous organization EVERY MOTHER COUNTS chose WHAT MY MOTHER GAVE ME as its book club pick this week. Turlington writes about her favorite gift from her mother: 'While I am just grateful to still have my mother in my life, the gifts she gave me that mattered most were the ones she gave herself: Mothering my sisters and me, traveling the world and continuing her education. The fact that she was born in El Salvador provided me with an early connection to a larger world than the one I would have known otherwise...'  Shout out to Judith Hillman Paterson, Luanne Rice, Elinor Lipman, Caroline Leavitt, Karen Karbo, and all the other wonderful contributors to the anthology."

Liz edited and wrote for WHAT MY MOTHER GAVE ME.  My essay is Midnight Typing, about how my mother gave me the gift of...perhaps you'll read it.

I am touched by Christy Turlington's words about her favorite gifts from her mother, and about the important work she is doing. According to a story in The New York Times, the goal of her organization is to help "people understand that pregnancy and childbirth, even though it’s a joyous experience for so many women, really is a risky endeavor for millions of other women,” according to Erin Thornton, executive director, who happens to be expecting right now herself. “To this day, hundreds of thousands of women will die in pregnancy and childbirth, but 90 percent of those could be prevented just with basic, simple access to health care.”

 

Booklist Review of THE LEMON ORCHARD

The Lemon Orchard

The Lemon Orchard.

Advanced Review – Uncorrected Proof

Rice, Luanne (Author) Jul 2013. 304 p. Viking/Pamela Dorman, hardcover, $27.95. (9780670025275).

Trust Rice (Little Night, 2012), known for fiction that explores the power of family, to find the humanity in illegal immigration, a topic too often relegated to rhetoric and statistics. The story centers on Julia and Roberto, both of whom have suffered the loss of a daughter. Julia’s was killed in a car accident. Roberto’s little girl went missing as the pair crossed into the U.S. from Mexico—a trek through punishing desert that Rice depicts with visceral, heartbreaking brutality. The pair meet at the Malibu home of Julia’s aunt and uncle, where Julia is housesitting and Roberto oversees the titular orchard. An unlikely friendship forms between the two, a bond born out of shared grief, which eventually grows into a tender romance. Though Rice acknowledges the cultural chasm between her lovers, she also imbues her characters with uncommon kindness and understanding. Initially weighed down with exposition, Rice’s novel picks up steam as Julia takes up the search for Roberto’s daughter. An unexpected plot turn will leave readers begging for a sequel.

— Patty Wetli

Maya, we love you...

IMG_3752For so long we were four.  As someone who knows us well has said, I was the fourth cat.  I think that is true.  When you spend so much time with beings, and  you are together most of the time, your species merge.  I do know that I learned to speak their language. Cats are kindreds in the sense you never have to be your "best" (whatever that is) with them, and they meet  you where you are on any given day, in any given mood.  That has been true of my girls.  They have sat on my desk through book after book, giving me love, being the best friends and companions.

maya3Maya died on April 5.  I called her Mae Mae for a long time, but when we moved to California she wanted to be called Maya and so that's what we called her.  She was the sweetest, most loving kitty.  I think back to when she was a kitten, those white whiskers and her bright green eyes, and the way she wanted to play and play.

Sickness never took the play out of her.  She loved to take walks--back home in New York we would walk down the hallway of our apartment building, nothing much to see, but just being together as we strolled from one end of the hall to the other.  She had the cutest habit of stopping, looking up to make sure I was following, taking a few more steps, glancing up again, continuing on.  maya

 

 

 

maya walkIn California I'd sometimes take her outside.  I'm a believer in indoor kitties--too many dangers out in the world, and I am the biggest worrier around.  I'd be afraid of coyotes, cars, hawks...but by the time we reached Malibu she had a diagnosis of lymphoma--the same disease that took Maggie and, decades ago, each of my parents--and I knew she didn't have long.

So one day when she stood at the screen door smelling the jasmine and salt scented air, I opened it up and let her out.  I followed close by, never let her more than a few feet away.  I had done the same for Maggie when, a year ago, she began to die.

maya blueMaya, like Maggie, loved those hours in the garden.  We would sit together on the blue thing, and I can only imagine how good the warm sun felt on her black fur.  Her hair had started falling out in patches--she wasn't having chemo so it couldn't have been from that, but she seemed to love the breeze and the fresh air.  Heading back into the house she would stop on the stone path, glance back just the way she did in our Chelsea hallway walks, make sure I was right there, and keep going toward the house. 

She died in my arms just past noon on April 5.

Each cat has her own story.  Maggie was born on a sprawling farm of red barns and mountain laurel-covered hillsides in Old Lyme CT.  Her mother was killed by foxes when Maggie was just days old, and this tiny kitten was taken into a stone wall and fed by a squirrel mother for just a few days--enough to keep her alive.  A friend with super powers captured tiny Maggie--she was swift as a bird--and I fed her on a bottle, and she thought I was her mother, and we became each other's family.

hello maggieMaggie was a wild kitty and I was a wild woman.  This is true.  My mother's life was ending, her long illness concluding, and my way of raging against the dying of the light was to behave as recklessly as possible.

maggie among sweatersMaggie was tiny and fast as a shooting star.  She would hide in the most unlikely places.  Once she disappeared so totally I thought she was gone forever, but then she jumped down the stone chimney into the fireplace and shook the soot off her fur--she had been hiding on the smoke shelf.  Often I would climb into bed and find her under the covers--flattened and invisible to everyone but me.

mae mae copyMaya--"Mae Mae"--came into our lives when Maggie was one.  She was also a rescue cat.  I got her from Dr. Kathy Clarke, a vet in Old Lyme.  Maya was the daughter of a brave cat named Cruella for her black and white streaks.  One night when someone left the d00rs open, Cruella patrolled the kennels to keep the dogs at bay, away from her kittens.  One of her kittens was Maya, and she inherited her mother's ferocity.

maisie bookMaisie joined us a few years later.  Also a rescue cat, the only survivor of a family who died of diptheria, Maisie is skittish and fears losing everyone and everything.  She needs special attention.  Traveling upsets her--to put it so mildly.  All three were born in Old Lyme CT, raised in New York City, and traveled with me to California when, after lifetimes on the east coast and with little warning to anyone including myself, we just picked up and moved west.

I haven't written about Maya's death--or Maggie's--until now because what is there to say except that they were the dearest girls and I loved them and to say I miss them is the understatement of my lifetime?  They are together in the garden now.  Maisie and I are alone, and we are trying.  It is not easy.  For so long we were four, and now we were two.  We feel the loss.  Yes, we do.

Right now Maisie and I are forming a new relationship.  Because she was the third, the baby, she has never been the only kitty--the favorite kitty.  And for the first time in her life she is both.

maisie on ol's birthday

This Week's Drawing

The Lemon Orchard Welcome friends!! Please comment on this thread the chance to win an ARC of The Lemon Orchard as well as a special tote bag. We will notify the winner on Monday April 22. Good luck! Love, Luanne

[UPDATE 4/22: Congratulations to Belinda Daniels Guy our latest giveaway winner! We hope she enjoys her advance copy THE LEMON ORCHARD as well as a tote bag featuring the novel's cover.]

To write

photoTo write you have to like being alone. Ideas have to flow in and out like air through cracks in the cabin wall. Physical space isn't important; the flow can happen in a tiny room. What counts is internal space. The voices you hear belong to your characters. I clear my life, days and weeks and months at a time, and I lie about it. It embarrasses me to need so much solitude. So I write this today with a sense of coming clean. I'm a terrible one for canceling. I make plans because I love the people I make them with. But sometimes even a single appointment can worry me, or shift my focus to that day, that moment on the calendar, and I wind up saying I'm sorry, I won't be able to. This might be extreme. Some writers might need groups or gatherings or just plain old daily contact more than I do. I need solitude. When I wake up in the morning I get to my writing without speaking a word. Talking before work shifts my focus away. It's not that what I'm writing is important, or beautiful, or noteworthy--it's just what I do. The words are important to me, maybe no one else. I tell stories because if I didn't I would stop breathing.

One can never be alone enough to write -- Susan Sontag

Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day -- Ernest Hemingway, 1954 Nobel Prize acceptance speech

The computer makes writing both easier and harder. It makes revision easier but it's a portal to the Internet which is a distraction. The internet has pluses and minuses. When I first discovered it I was distracted by it all the time. Email, constant contact--both wonderful and destructive, like the best addictions. Facebook provides the sense of a social life; Pinterest seems to me to be intuitive and wordless communication, a way to say who you are, or at least who you are at the moment of pinning a picture or poem; Twitter is immediate like speed or sugar; a comic artist introduced me to Tumblr, and I think I like the feeling of it. But let's face it, the Internet is hell on writing. My father, who sold and repaired Olympia typewriters, gave me an Olympia SM 9 when I was in school. I'm glad they still make ribbons for it. I've stocked up in case they stop. I think the sound of the keys comforts me; I know the cats like it. They sit close, as if the typewriter is a hearth. Most of the time I still write on my computer and sometimes on those nights I dream I am typing. Either way the stories get told. Life is writing and writing is life.