Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Guest Post Wed: Inspiration of Writing a Book

Inspiration for writing Gabriela and The Widow
by Jack Remick

In one way or another, fiction is autobiographical but the story doesn’t have to be, as they blare out on TV, “based on a true story.” It’s the other way around—the novel, the fiction becomes part of the author’s autobiography. The novel is an expression of being. The author puts a writer into every story and that writer is the narrator. For Gabriela and the Widow, the autobiographical stimulus, call it the impulse to write, came when I visited my mother to celebrate her 92nd birthday.

For the last few years, my mother’s caregiver has been Gabriela. I watched as Gabriela fed her, dressed her, bathed her, combed her hair and put her to bed. But for Gabriela, this wasn’t just a job. She had a connection to my mother that was true, real, and honest. She didn’t change her behavior for my visits. She didn’t coo and perform, so I knew that what I saw was the real Gabriela and the real Mother. And there was something deeper. I realized that this was an archetypal relationship—not of Master and Servant, but Mother and Daughter.

I wanted to write, I didn’t want to write a memoir. The memoir is just one story. Gabriela and my Mother were The Story. So, the writing had to be a fiction that would look at not a single relationship, but all relationships between Mother and Daughter. I knew I had to write a myth.

I set out, then, to write about two women. One an immigrant, Gabriela, on a journey to the North, the other a dying old woman, a Widow who lives in the desert. I was drawn to the subject of the collision of cultures that is ripping America apart right now, but I also wished to examine how women relate without men. The Widow remakes Gabriela in her own image and sets her free from her bloody past. In this excerpt The Widow (in the novel, she is La Viuda) tells Gabriela the creation myth from The Cosmology:

In the beginning, she birthed the world but she was unhappy because the darkness was everywhere and it was not enough that only she saw it. Why, she asked herself, have I made all of this just for me to see? In the blackness, she tore a gash, the Mother Gash, and from it, there came blood and water, milk and honey, trees and birds of all colors and then came the skies and the stars. She brought women from the darkness and set them naked in the sun and the trees and there was no shame and in the sun their skin browned—look at you—and she was content with what she had brought forth. But then, one day, she made a small mistake and a woman was born with a penis and without breasts. She had created an Almost Woman. The penis, her big mistake, made women cover themselves because in the penis there was a craziness that she didn’t understand, that no woman understood. She knew only that she had made a mistake and that imperfection brought with it shame and desire and pain. Not even she could undo creation. Like the spider’s silk, once broken, it can’t be retied.  Once infection entered her world, there was no way to go back. And because that one mistake brought us misery we have been lamenting it ever since. Here and there, we see pieces of what used to be—females who don’t need males…lizards and fish who bring young out of the darkness in perfect harmony. And every day, when the sun comes up, there is a moment of perfect stillness that mirrors the perfection of the pure state before…men.
La Viuda sat in silence for a long time before she continued—Your shame, mi vida, is not yours alone. We all feel it because it is our duty to atone for her mistake. Do you understand? Men were not meant to be. Do you understand?

Gabriela and the Widow is the story of Gabriela, a 19 year old Mexican woman who migrates north (to El Norte) where she meets a dying 92 year old woman, The Widow. The novel is their story.

ISBN: 978-1-60381-147-7
Publication Date: January 15, 2013

Places available for sale:
Gabriela and The Widow is currently available for pre-order on After January 15, 2013, it will also be available in multiple eBook and 6x9 trade paperback editions on, the European Amazons and Amazon Japan.

Wholesale orders can be placed through  Baker & Taylor or Ingram. Libraries can also purchase books through Follett Library Resources or Midwest Library Service.

Jack Remick is a poet, short story writer and novelist. In 2012, Coffeetown Press published the first two volumes of Jack’s California Quartet series, The Deification and Valley Boy. The final two volumes will be released in 2013: The Book of Changes and Trio of Lost Souls. Blood, A Novel was published by Camel Press, an imprint of Coffeetown Press, in 2011. You can find Jack online at  

You can find out more about Jack Remick, his books and World of Ink Author/Book Tour at

Follow Jack Remick at
Author page:
Twitter: @jackremick
Publisher Website:

To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit  

I will be sharing my thoughts on Gabriela and the Widow February 5th here on The Writing Mama, but until then...check out the video of Jack reading the first chapter of the book.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book Review Thurs: Baby Come Home by Elizabeth Kail Arnita

Baby Come Home is a story of the young bird, “Baby”, who learns the value of unconditional love and acceptance after he decides to break free from the confinement of his cage and those who love him most. The story gives children a different perspective on rules and why we need to obey them while also offering a teaching on the unconditional love our perfect God has for His imperfect people. 

Overall Thoughts:
My girls (ages 3 and 8) really enjoyed reading this book with me. They asked questions about decisions Baby makes in the story, which opened some wonderful topics for us to talk about. My three-year-old didn't understand everything in the story as I feel this is more for ages 6 and up, but she understand the importance of following rules and how bad things can happen if you don't. My older daughter, however, did walk away with a better understanding about choices. Something we have been talking about a lot lately as she gets older and closer to baptism in our church. 

I do want to share for those who don't practice religion or are afraid Baby Come Home may not coincide with their belief system...there is nothing to worry about. The only Bible verses are at the end of the story in the Notes from the Author, which you can skip or choose to use for further discussion topics.

Even though the main character is a bird, children and adults alike will be able to relate to him, Sam (a human) and the events in the story. The illustrations are beautifully done and only add to each scene. 

Baby Come Home
By: Elizabeth Kail Arnita
Illustrations by: Diane Lucas
ISBN:  978-1-61244-087-3
Genre of Book:  Children’s Christian Picture Book
Published by Halo Publishing Int.
Copyright 2013

All proceeds from book sales support Welcome the Children, a nonprofit helping children in poverty.
Places available for sale:  Internet/Online, Church Book Store

About the Author: 
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Elizabeth Arnita is the youngest of 12 children. She learned early in life about family dynamics and the concept of sharing. After graduating in 1983, with a degree in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, Elizabeth married Shadi and they have been blessed with four fabulous children. Her love for the Lord has opened her eyes to a world in need and ignited her compassion for those who are less fortunate. She and her husband founded and continue to manage Welcome The Children; a non-profit organization that funds and supports children who are experiencing the reality of poverty. Elizabeth Arnita has designated all of the proceeds from her book sales to support WTC.

The World of Ink Network is touring author Elizabeth Arnita’s Children’s Christian Picture book, BABY COME HOME published by Halo Publishing Int. throughout January 2013.

You can find out more about Elizabeth Arnita, her books and World of Ink Author/Book Tour at 

Find out more about Welcome the Children at

To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit