Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Patry Francis--Helping her hold her own

Me and Patry Francis at BookSmart, March 2007.

The truth is, I'm good at forgetting things. Good at erasing images from my mind. Good at pretending, as Jamie called it. After seventeen years of marriage to the master, how could I be otherwise. But this time I could not allow myself the easy way out. I had to talk to someone, and Gavin was the only one I had. Of course, I knew he would not want to discuss it. I had seen his face when someone had shown him the score that ended the concert and caused me to faint. It was obvious from the sudden darkening I read on his familiar features that he, too, had immediately been drawn to the top of the page. The words PARADISE SUITE had been crossed out and replaced with a new title: dEaTH SWeeT. And the name of the composer had been changed from A.C. Mather to SLaY-hER.

The best introduction I can give you to Patry Francis, author, generous human being, fellow sufferer on this planet, sage, mother, wife, loyal friend, is through her own words. The above passage is from her novel The Liar's Diary, just out in paperback--lucky for you if you missed the extremely good boat last year when it came out in hardcover.

I was racking my brains trying to remember when I first "met" Patry online. I only know that one day her blog Simply Wait became a part of my daily reading, and I grew antsy when she hadn't yet posted anew. Then, somehow, we became blog pals--she'd comment here, I'd comment there. I participated in her Third Day Book Club online for a brief stint...but I still can't remember who introduced me to her, or how I came to know her. It's almost as if Patry was always a friend--someone I could talk life and writing with over coffee in a little cafe. Yet as she lives on the east coast, and I, on the west, I've just reconciled myself to the fact that some people feel like old friends because they're purely, truly themselves.

Patry writes about life, love, disappointment, joy, writing and waittressing--her former career before selling her novel. And now she writes about her endeavor with cancer, as beautifully as before, though sharpened by the clarity of pain and the threat of loss. I call it an endeavor, not a "struggle" or a "challenge" because it has become evident to me and anyone who follows Patry's blog, that she has tackled her healing with a sense of purpose and discipline no less serious than what she brings to her writing.

As with all endeavors it takes a lot of time and energy. It's hard to be your own healer, as well as a writer and a publicist. Yet now, more than ever, Patry needs attention for her fabulous book, excerpted at top.

Here is what she says about her book in a recent post:

"Though my novel deals with murder, betrayal, and the even more lethal crimes of the heart, the real subjects of THE LIAR'S DIARY are music, love, friendship, self-sacrifice and courage. The darkness is only there for contrast; it's only there to make us realize how bright the light can be. I'm sure that most writers whose work does not flinch from the exploration of evil feel the same."

I met Patry in person last year, when, on her west coast book tour, and in particular, an exhausting run in the bay area, she came to BookSmart where I coordinate events. Because she already felt like an old friend, I knew we'd get along. I knew I would like her. I knew she was the generous, funny, wry, talented person you'll hear about all over the blogosphere today. What I also learned was, girlfriend can hold her own! The word "tough" is utterly wrong to describe Patry. She doesn't come off as street or truck-stop tough in the slightest. But she's solidly herself. You can't waittress for two decades without learning how to deal with the whining, insensitive world in a firm and competent manner.

And when, in the gathered crowd at the bookstore, someone began to pontificate and draw the conversation away from the hearty discussion that followed her reading, Patry elegantly, but firmly, took control, shutting off the slightly hysterical tangent without shutting the person down.

I don't know about you, but I like that in a person. What's more, it comes through in her characters.

So here is my exhortation to those of you who visit today. Buy a copy of Patry's suspense novel, The Liar's Diary, for yourself, a friend or a family member, and post a comment here saying you have done so.

Then email me your mailing address, and I will send you a free hardcover copy of my book Make a Scene, or a surprise novel. Email me at: jordansmuse(at)gmail(dot)com. Offer good for the first 8 commenters.

I'll leave you with a quote I took from Patry when I profiled her for Writer's Digest magazine in 2007:

“If you don’t write because you love to and take pleasure in it, because it is such a risky business, what’s the point?”

**For more goodies, including an audio clip and a video trailer, as well as a list of the over 300 people who are blogging online today on Patry's behalf, visit Susan Henderson's LitPark for the deets.


At 7:14 AM, Blogger RobinSlick said...

Jordan! What an absolutely fabulous post!

As I commented somewhere else a few minutes ago, one unplanned thrill of this event is blog hopping and reading wonderful journal entries by a group of brilliant, fabulous people and making new friends in the process as well.

At 8:41 AM, Blogger Laura said...

What a beautiful post, Jordan. I love the picture of you with Patry!

At 9:59 AM, Blogger Myfanwy Collins said...

Beautiful post, Jordan!

At 11:16 AM, Blogger L.C.McCabe said...


I didn't realize until reading this post that your friendship with her was founded through the beauty of the internet. I had read previous posts you had written about her and thought that you had known her for years.

It is interesting that the media seems to highlight the dangers of internet communication, but does not seem to mention how it can bring people together in a positive way.

One of my best friends is someone that I first "met" on the internet via bulletin board conversations. He lives in Portugal and I've since met him in person several times when he has come to the U.S. as a visiting scholar.

I am glad that you had the chance to meet Patry in person and that she exceeded your expectations as to what she would be like.

May today help to not only be a successful launch to her paperback, but fill Patry with positive energy to beat her cancer.


(I wanted you to know I finished my blog post on her behalf as well.)

At 7:35 PM, Blogger Lark-Aeryn said...

The book sounds fantastic, and I am especially intrigued that I encountered it literally minutes after recommending to a friend the somehow-similar-sounding _The Archivist_ by Martha Cooley, a very favorite novel of mine. I don't want to wait to encounter such a rich-sounding book ... but I'm Kindling for the moment. I'll read it from the library as it's not currently available electronically.

Thanks for the recommendation!


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