- N. N. Light
Karma Blues by Ann Beltran is a Celebrate Mothers Event pick #womensfiction #mothersday #giveaway
Title: Karma Blues
Author: Ann Beltran
Genre: Women’s fiction
Should you settle for the man who’s available,or hold out for the one you really want?Against the backdrop of building her nonprofit career, Liv, now a single mom with a 6-year old, yearns for a mate, and struggles with a litany of ill-fitted suitors. Just when she’s ready to abandon the man quest, her best friend Elyse’s wedding news results in Liv meeting Eric, a fine Nordic specimen with darker undertones. As Elyse fears losing her life in marriage to a workaholic attorney, Liv pushes herself to explore the possibility of coupling with someone who compromises her values. Meanwhile, an old friend, David, whom she first came to know as a refugee from Sudan, one of the “lost boys,” rekindles suppressed attraction. Emotions intensify leading up to Elyse’s wedding, as control dramas unfold and past lives intersect, culminating in a fiesta party that crashes. Badly. You can begin the Nonprofit Girl Trilogy here as past is blended with present.
Sunday, April 1, 2007
Confronting yet another failed attempt to cast a male figure as her husband and her daughter’s father, Liv was seriously considering whether they could just do without. Aren’t my family and friends enough? She was tired of her recurring frustration of failing to secure in one person a husband whom she would care to be in bed with and stand to talk to, and a father who genuinely cared for her bi-racial, in-your-face, adorable child. After all they’d managed for six years. Family had protected and supported them. And Liv provided for most of their needs. Really, what was she looking for?
A firm knock at the door interrupted her meandering mind. Before Liv completely opened the door, Elyse was pushing it farther to grab Liv and do a twirl hug. “Hey girlfriend, I’ve got really big news – Cory proposed last night!”
Liv, still in her grey sweats, felt the mug in her hand tip and slop coffee on the carpet. Her contemplative eyelids of a moment ago popped fully open. “Oh my god! Oh my god, finally, I’m sooo happy!” She took Elyse’s hand looking for a ring, and seeing none, raised her eyes.
“No, we’re not doing an engagement ring – no blood diamonds for this couple. But I don’t care. I’m just floored that after all this time – what has it been, three years? – all this time, with no particular occasion, he cuddles up and asks me while we’re in bed. I’m still in shock!”
Friends since college, the twosome were approaching twenty-nine. Occasionally they still had a night out at a bar and whomever Liv didn’t pull in with her Euro look – a northern coolness in sync with an increasingly pragmatic assessment of men, yet enlivened by a sunny smile that drew them in - Elyse did with her Hispanic attractions – warm, inviting eyes that signaled a good time to be had, while concealing an easily triggered sarcasm about ineffectual men. Both career savvy now, their interests covered urban Seattle life. Liv was deeper into the nonprofit sector. She’d left her job at the International Rescue Committee to work at a family multi-service center at the north end of Lake Union where she helped women improve their financial situation. Elyse was embedded in city hall moving from the neighborhood development program into serving as staff for a city council member. That neither had moved into an explicitly permanent relationship with a man suited their friendship. Although these last years, Elyse had come much closer.
“Here, sit down and share the shock. Do you want some coffee?”
“A little – I’m just so wired already.”
Liv brought a cup out from her tiny kitchen alcove into the sunnier area of the apartment, located a floor down and a wing across from Elyse’s apartment. The place had grown comfy and disheveled as IKEA furnishings became interspersed with second-hand treasures, and then layered with the scratches and stains of a child’s activities, and not just any child, but as Elyse called Shakti, ‘a wild child.’ Meant mostly in fun, the assessment was initially based on the feral look the toddler embodied, tangled hair sans barrettes hanging over calculating eyes, dirt under her nails, and a premature willingness to let curiosity take her beyond her mother’s comfort zone. Now, while the hair still needed taming, ‘wildness’ pointed more to a primordial uncompromising spirit, a challenging consortium of precocious and extroverted behaviors for a single mom. A child who thought she was always right.
“So, what moved him to propose? It seemed like you guys had a groove that wasn’t going to change.”
“Funny you should ask, because honestly that was my question too. When he whispered it in my ear, my first words were, ‘you’re kidding.’”
“He was hurt a little and said, ‘no, I’m not kidding. I think it’s time.’”
“Time for what? Because of?”
“Here’s the odd thing. I’d been thinking it was time too. Not that I said that to you, but I was. Maybe when he turned thirty and we had that party last August, the one you missed, I started wondering then, well, what now? Are we headed into something together? Will this just be status quo until my biological clock goes off? And then when his dad died this winter, it hit him hard. And I could tell he was having to change, be more attentive to his mom back East, asking me if we could go visit her, keeping up more with his older brother too. Family stuff.”
“So that’s what you think moved him to propose, but he didn’t really say?”
“Not so far. But come on – I’m not going to interrogate him at one in the morning! I just said yes, a big yes, where I hopped out of bed and jumped around naked shouting, ‘YES, YES!’”
Liv lowered her eyes and stared at her mug. “I didn’t know you wanted it so badly.” Each had always prided herself on having complete access to the other’s feelings with rare notable exceptions. As well as Liv knew her friend, and kept up with her activities with Cory, she hadn’t seen this one coming.
“Honestly, neither did I! Neither did I. But it was a huge rush when it sank in that he’d proposed, it just made me so fucking happy!”
Liv laughed and hoped she was concealing the negativity she sensed in her heart.
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/3LFwiNu
What makes your featured book a must-read?
As Book 2 of the Nonprofit Girl Trilogy, we have a new mother-daughter relationship to celebrate! But ... it's hard being a single mom. Especially when your best friend is getting married. Karma Blues is the inevitable low point in Liv's story, where the consequences, good and bad, of past choices must be faced. While it stands on its own, it's best read as part of the Trilogy, where critical transformations occur that set the stage for yet another coming-of-age - the one and only Shakti!
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It was late in life I took up writing novels. I’d finished my career - so what to do with all those experiences as a lawyer, executive, professor? With all those people I met in business, government, and nonprofits? Well, it seems they’re all in me, and now they’re finding their way out in bits and pieces in my characters.
This was especially true of the Nonprofit Girl Trilogy. From my experiences of adoption of my son, my head was full of voices from his birth mom, his half-sister, my mother, my girlfriend who was adopted, and so on. Each wanted to tell their story. As did I with all my own nonprofit experiences. And I had traveled to India to see my Guru and wanted to blend in the spiritual experiences of that life. It all wanted out!
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