Friday, February 8, 2013

Put the Book Down and No One Gets Hurts

 Today I have the treat of having a guest blogger. One of my favorite writers, Jaima Fixsen, just released her first full-length novel, Fairchild, and when I could force myself to put it down and stop laughing (her characters are hilarious) I asked her if she would please introduce herself to my readers.
I am giving away her ebook to three lucky readers, and a print copy to one grand winner. Just say hello in the comments or like her amazon page to be entered.
But for now, just enjoy her true story of why books get torn in half in her home...
There is a kind of book stealing more terrible than any other--picking up a book that someone is halfway finished reading. We have a word for this in my family. We call it Tai-Pan-ing. 
Let me explain. Long ago, before I was born, my parents took a train holiday west through the Rocky Mountains all the way to Vancouver. My mother, being the type of person who prepares, brought along a book, James Clavell’s Tai-Pan. You can guess what happened. 
In a moment of idleness, my father picked up her book (so foolish of her to lay it down!) and he was hooked. My mother spent the rest of the holiday viewing the scenery and holding one-sided conversations with my father, who mumbled random replies from behind her book. Tai-Pan might have remained an amusing story, instead of becoming an often used verb, if our clan didn’t have such thieving tendencies. 
I remember one summer at a family reunion (multiply the number of culprits by five), my father brought a book--one of the Star Wars sequels by Timothy Zahn. I started reading it when he was driving, knowing his guard was down. Once you start reading, you don’t want to stop, even to return the book to its’ rightful owner. You tuck that book behind your back and sneak it out of sight and hide away in the laundry room of the cottage, reading as fast as you can. 
My dad, determined to have his book back, solved the problem by tearing it in half. We could both read at the same time. It worked great, until my mother and my cousin started reading. The book ended up in four pieces, and even that wasn’t enough when my uncle joined in. I will never forget the prods--hurry up! I need section three!--or the accusations that flew, when two pages went missing. 
Unless you are reading a manual on Freudian dream analysis, and sometimes even then, it isn’t safe to bring a new book if you are spending time with us. And no one can pick up a resting book, even to read the back cover, without someone calling anxiously, “No Tai-Pan-ing! That’s mine!” 
We went skiing together over Christmas, and my sister brought a book I had read years before, Georgette Heyer’s Venetia. It had been long enough that I couldn’t remember all the details, only that I particularly liked them. When I saw the book alone on the side table, I picked it up. With only the best intentions, I promise. 
Venetia remained intact, but my sister had to strenuously assert her rights. I was slotted in the number two spot on the reading schedule. 
Have you ever been a victim of Tai-Pan-ing? Or been the thief?

 Truth or dare? 
Good English families all have a house in the country with a deer park, a trout stream, and an army of gardeners. They should have a son and if it can be managed, he should be handsome. Cleverness isn’t important. Daughters in limited quantities are fine so long as they are pretty. Bastards are inconvenient and best ignored. It's not a big problem, unless you are one.
Unfortunately, Sophy is.
Sick of her outcast role, she escapes her father’s house, only to fall from her horse during a spring storm. Injured, soaked, and shivering, she stumbles to a stranger’s door—Tom, a blunt edged merchant from a family of vulgar upstarts. Mistaking Sophy for the genuine article, he takes her in.
Sophy can’t resist twisting the truth. Soon she’s caught in her own snare—and it might just be a noose.


  1. Ha, My in-laws came to visit and I gave a book to my mother-in-law that I thought she would enjoy. A quick read for down time. I noticed that my mother-in-law only read the first chapter, my father-in-law finished the book before they left. I would say there was some Tai-Pan-ing going on that week. :)

  2. This looks really good. I would love to read it!

    1. Thanks Stephanie! The first three chapters are posted on my blog, or you can download a free sample on Amazon, if you want to try the story on for size :)