I’m happy to welcome Wild Rose Press author Karen Guzman. Today, Karen shares an eclectic list of unexpected likes and her new release, Arborview.
It’s funny sometimes how we think we know our tastes, our likes and dislikes, what we’ll go for and what we won’t. In the spirit of disclosure—and self-discovery—here’s an eclectic, random list of stuff I’ve stumbled across and, to my surprise, really enjoyed.
The lesson: Give it a shot. You never know.
1. Economic theory – Not something I waded into during my MFA program, but my day job now is a writer for a graduate business school. I’ve learned so much about the way markets work, and why we’re in the mess we’re in.
2. Edamame beans – versatile, delicious, and so healthy. Who knew?
3. The Showtime series Billions – a guilty pleasure. Depraved, greedy egotists trying to outdo each other via over-the-top plot twists, but smart writing and great acting make it a hoot.
4. Microgreens – These looked like the weeds in my lawn when my husband I first saw them at our local CSA farm. Now we show up early before they sell out. Crunchy, cool, a hint of spice. Take any salad to a new level.
5. Hard Seltzer – fruity flavors, just a hint of alcohol and totally refreshing.
6. The Revenant movie – Heard it was violent and wasn’t interested in watching Leonardo DiCaprio fight a bear. In reality: a deeply spiritual tour de force with amazing performances. One of my favorite films.
7. The California desert — I’m not one for heat, so I was skeptical when we visited my mother-in-law in Palm Springs the first time. Now, wow. The vastness, the barren brown hills, the startling green of a hidden oasis, the solemn stark beauty of Joshua Tree National Park. Amazing landscape.
8. Snowshoeing – I’m a hiker, but I was skeptical about strapping these onto my boots. Now I love crunching over the surface of freshly fallen snow.
9. Local talk radio – for old cranks, right? Wrong! Informative—and often entertaining—listening to people you know hash out the issues of the day.
10. Cutting the lawn. Okay, this is a weird one. I think it’s the instant gratification. The lawn is an out-of-control mess. A little work later, and the yard is transformed.
When the recipe for a new life is bittersweet…
Ellen Cahill’s financial future rides on the success of her new pastry shop. A bruising divorce has drained her bank account, along with her spirit. A man enters her life promising love, but Ellen, haunted by the past, questions whether she can pull off this new beginning.
College student Rosa Escamilla has her own culinary dreams—and a difficult mother who’s dead set against them. Rosa won’t be deterred. She scrapes up the money to enroll at a prestigious culinary school, setting out to prove everyone wrong.
When hidden betrayals by the people they love most surface for both Ellen and Rosa, can they overcome the blows they never saw coming on the road to where they want to go?
The light was dying in Arborview. Ellen had to get going, but she wasn’t ready. Descending the ladder meant reentering her life. The time she spent here, suspended among the branches, did not banish the uncertainty that crept back when her feet hit the ground, but it did give her reprieve.
The stillness, the silence, slowed her mind. Be still and know that I am God. She used to love that old Psalm. This must have been what it meant. Her thoughts unraveled in Arborview, exposed in a cool, piercing light, a calm glow giving her hope.
It had been a week since she’d heard from Alice, and the memory of her guilty laundry-room face lingered. Perhaps Ellen had been too harsh, too judgmental. That was a big thing today, wasn’t it? Judging. Nothing was supposed to be off limits, nothing truly wrong, or shameful. Ellen had broken down and left a voicemail, but Alice had not returned the call.
The warm impression William had left in her bed, the faint whiff of his cologne on the pillows, had stayed with Ellen, too. He was coming to take her to dinner in an hour.
William had struck a chord with his pastry shop idea. It had taken root and grown all week within Ellen, its tendrils reaching into her heart. She could see it: a little storefront place, a jingling bell on the door, cakes and pies in the window, a soft wash of light on the gleaming display cases inside.
Author Bio and Links
Karen Guzman is a fiction writer and essayist. Her new novel, Arborview, will be published on September 29 by The Wild Rose Press. Her debut, Homing Instincts, was published by Fiction Attic Press in 2014. Karen’s short fiction has appeared in a number of literary magazines, and her story collection, Pilgrims, was a finalist for the St. Lawrence Book Award.
Karen is a regular contributor to the Collegeville Institute’s Bearings Online magazine. She is the recipient of a 2021 writing fellowship at the Collegeville Institute.